This paper focuses on the concept and analysis of photographic encounters which we utilised in an interview study to explore experiences of psychotherapy environments. Our study involves a dual perspective design (a sample of therapists, and a sample of clients). Interviews incorporating photographic encounters were transcribed, and then analysed with Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Nine therapists and five clients were recruited from a voluntary counselling service in the West Midlands. Two of the therapists first took photographs of the setting. These photographs were used in the study. Interviews involved participants viewing the photographs and then choosing images to discuss. A theoretical framework for analysing the photographic encounters was incorporated alongside IPA analysis. We show how photographic encounters facilitated insights about how participants were experiencing new, layered and embodied engagement with the therapy environment. We argue that photographic encounters in qualitative interviews can foster awareness of tacit experiencing, and that IPA is an effective and complementary approach for working with such data. Our use of photographic encounters contributes to the existing literature on generating multi-modal accounts of experience using visual methods. This paper also offers a distinctive, conceptually-based framework for use alongside IPA to analyse photographic encounters.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Qualitative Research in Psychology on 2nd December 2021, available online at: https://doi.org/10.1080/14780887.2021.2001704 It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
- Qualitative methods
- therapy environment
- visual methods