Figure 1: Sutherst. Questionnaires. 2017
After each shoot, I asked my participants to fill in a questionnaire.
I am particularly interested in why people take part and whether the experience was enjoyable or worthwhile. This is important so that I can continue to develop and improve the experience for everyone, and hopefully, lead to more people taking part.
Each person so far has commented that they have enjoyed being part of the process. Mostly I believe that this is due to the conversations that happen during the shoot. I am genuinely interested in people’s stories and am a good listener. Very often, we just need someone to listen. Someone who does not judge or make comments that are not helpful. This is something I am good at and this shows, I think, in the experiences that people are having whilst taking part.
The experience starts with a welcoming atmosphere and usually involves a cuppa or two. The conversation is usually about our lives and feelings. Being able to open up to another person who wants to listen was very therapeutic. I have summarised below some of the feedback comments about whether the session was enjoyable or beneficial.
“Yes, feeling able to vent and feel relief”
“Writing the words on the mask was so liberating”
“It’s good to talk”
“I found it really hard because I hide these things every day . . . I have told Jo things even my husband doesn’t know”
“Good therapy, perhaps you should publish it as that”
“Enjoyable and quite therapeutic as it is being honest about things I am generally silent about”
“Yes, almost like therapy to open up and face my disabilities”
“Very cathartic to actually write the words down”
These comments encourage me as it shows that it is good to talk about our issues. I am definitely on the right track here. I will continue to monitor and respond to comments made by my participants.