Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe condition that may develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events, such as sexual assault, serious injury or the threat of death. The diagnosis may be given when a group of symptoms such as disturbing recurring flashbacks, avoidance or numbing of memories of the event, and hyperarousal (high levels of anxiety) continue for more than a month after the traumatic event. The characteristic symptoms are considered Acute if lasting less than three months, Chronic if persisting three months or more, and With Delayed Onset if the symptoms first occur after six months or some years later.
PhotoTherapy is extremely helpful in the treatment of PTSD because of its specific use of photographs in therapy. The mind is said to absorb information through the organs of hearing, smell, taste, touch, and sight; and because about 80 percent of sensory stimuli enters through our eyes, visual information is crucial to our understanding of what we experience. Thus, photographs provide a safe way to reconstruct reality without having to relive it. Uncovering the emotional reaction to a traumatic event or understanding the symptoms experienced as a result of it becomes less threatening when viewed symbolically.