Date: 7th October, 2020, 09:00 – 13:00

Masterclass A: Using coaching psychology and creativity to unlock people’s potential: promoting self-efficacy and resilience through photography

Facilitators: Dr Gisele Dias & Dr Paula Gomes Alves

Challenging times require creative solutions. With that in mind, and drawing on well-established concepts from coaching psychology perspectives, this masterclass will aim to bring together an evidence-based approach to unlock human development using photography as a key tool for self-efficacy and resilience. We will start by exploring the benefits of creative approaches to positive mental health and some of the neuroscientific underpinnings of different artistic performances. We will then invite participants to consider a novel, SIMPLE framework developed by the facilitators and which draws on the strengths of integrative approaches in coaching psychology: (S)eeking clarity on values and future; (I)ntegrating the past; (M)astering mindful tools; (P)lanning effective strategies; (L)eading your life and (E)ngaging with meaningful projects and relationships. Next, we will consider practical ways through which we may explore some of these steps using techniques inspired by Therapeutic Photography (TP; Gibson, 2017; 2018). TP is an umbrella term for photo-based activities that are self-initiated and conducted by oneself (or as part of an organised group or project). TP can be used informally, for instance, to facilitate self-discovery or as a mindful exercise; or as a structured practice in the context of psychological interviewing, coaching psychology, counselling or psychotherapy. TP aims to increase self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-efficacy and resilience and to promote positive change (Gibson, 2017).

In this masterclass, we will illustrate some of the techniques used in TP to promote resilience and self-efficacy as informed by the SIMPLE framework and discuss how they may add value to life coaching sessions. From cognitive-behavioural to psychodynamic perspectives, from positive psychology to solution-focused approaches, and using photography as a key thread to strengthen the coaching psychology fabric, this masterclass is intended to enrich the professional practice of anyone seeking to explore creativity for enhanced personal development. All exercises will be performed with a smartphone camera, and no previous experience in photography, arts or specific equipment is required.

Gibson, N. (2017). Therapeutic photography: Enhancing patient communication. Journal of Kidney Care, 2(1), 46-47.
Gibson, N. (2018). Therapeutic Photography: Enhancing Self-Esteem, Self-Efficacy and Resilience. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.


Dr Gisele Dias

Dr Gisele Dias is a chartered psychologist (British Psychological Society),coaching psychologist and neuroscientist. She has a PhD in Sciences (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil/ King’s College London), is a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich and a Teaching Fellow at King’s College London. Dr Dias has a special interest in developing and evaluating psychological interventions to promote wellbeing, resilience and positive mental health in different groups and communities, also with a special focus on the use of creative methods to enhance coaching psychology practice and human development.

Dr Paula Gomes Alves

Dr Paula Gomes Alves has a BSc in Clinical Psychology (University of Lisbon), a MSc in Clinical and Public Health Aspects of Addiction (King’s College London) and a PhD in Psychology (Lisbon University Institute / King’s College London). Currently, she works as a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich and as a Teaching Fellow in two online MSc programmes at King’s College London. She is also a Honorary Associate Researcher at University College London, and a Research Supervisor to BSc, MSc and PhD students across various HE institutions. In terms of research, Dr Alves follows a mixed-methods approach towards the development and evaluation of psychological interventions, and improving the experience of individuals in treatment. Dr Alves is interesting in using visual methods in her research projects and teaching practice, drawing on her experience as a Professional Photographer. Dr Alves is also currently training to become a certified Counsellor and Psychological Coach.