Therapeutic photography: fostering posttraumatic growth in Shan adolescent refugees in northern Thailand

Recent reviews of therapeutic photography have identified the technique's unique ability to transcend culture and language, both essential characteristics of international trauma therapy. This article describes a process, through which youth identified changes in self-perception after a photojournalism workshop, using an interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) approach and conducted in a Shan migrant community centre in northern Thailand. The authors (a) provide a broad overview of a form of therapeutic photography utilised within a humanitarian aid context, (b) examine the concept of posttraumatic growth (PTG) within a traumatised adolescent population on the Thai/Burma border and, (c) suggest the potential for a new domain of growth as it relates to the application of Tedeshi & Calhoun's conceptual foundation of PTG (1995), within a Southeast Asian context. Results suggest that perceptions of self, and one's role in the community, did improve within the context of this project. A discussion of the limits and merits of this approach is also presented.

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Prag, Hillary; Vogel, Gwen