Emma Earick STEP – Faces of Therapy

https://u.osu.edu/facesoftherapy/   (link to the Faces of Therapy site)

  1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. Write two or three sentences describing the main activities your STEP Signature Project entailed.

I photographed 70 people doing what they believed to be most therapeutic for them. In addition, each participant wrote a response explaining why it is therapeutic for them. The project was documented throughout using a photo album on my personal Facebook page as well as an Instagram account specific to my project. In culmination, I have created a website that displays the collection of photos their responses with the intent of expanding upon what is seen as therapeutic.

  1. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place.

An expectation I had when starting my STEP Signature Project was that people probably do what they consider to be therapeutic for them often, but that is not what I found. In asking what is most therapeutic for them, I saw many people feel challenged in how they take care of themselves. In an unexpected way, my project allowed me to help people really think about what is therapeutic for them, and remind them why it is therapeutic. I sought to expand upon what is seen as therapeutic and I believe that is true of my project, but I also had the chance to see how the present structure of our society does not necessarily support self-care in regards to personal therapeutic practices.

  1. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation.

I received a lot of positive feedback throughout the duration of my project, which I was very thankful for. I always had people volunteering to participate, and that spoke volumes to me. I saw people who were excited about the topic and desired to communicate what was therapeutic for them and why. Upon my first announcement of looking for volunteers, I immediately received numerous responses from people who wanted to be involved with my project. It was a topic that I was very passionate about in starting this project, and it was telling to see multiple other people also value what is therapeutic for them.

One instance in particular that I can think of was a girl who messaged me a couple months after my first announcement expressing interest in participating. I explained what I was looking for and we got to talk through what kind of photo session would really capture her therapy. Unfortunately, location and weather played a large role in her response and there was never a time that worked out for us before the project deadline; however, she sent me a message recently explaining the impact that my project had on her. Although I did not get to photograph her, she explained the impact that the prompt for my project had on her. Her form of therapy was something that she once had turned to in battling depression, but had not set aside time for in a while. She described that our conversation had motivated her to set aside time for her form of therapy and that she was thankful for what I was doing. Her words of truth and encouragement led me to value my STEP project so much more. I was asking people to respond to what I saw as a simple prompt, but the impact that I saw was much greater than expected.

I mentioned how I do not believe that the present structure of our society necessarily supports self-care in regards to personal therapeutic practices, and I saw that specifically in my struggle to schedule photo sessions. I had plenty of volunteers to reach my original goal of 365 photos, but the difficult part was trying to schedule in all of those people. I think busy, full schedules are valued in our society above taking time for self-care. Volunteers struggled to find a time where they could squeeze in their form of therapy. My hope is that each participant was reminded of the importance of setting aside time for what is therapeutic for them.


  1. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?  Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.

My professional goals have changed since I started my STEP project, but what I have gained is still very much applicable. My original intended career path was Occupational Therapy in order to pursue animal-assisted therapy, but this past summer I decided to pursue full-time ministry upon graduation instead. It has been an interesting transition because despite the change in future plans, my passions for therapeutic practices remains. One of the things I ask people now upon meeting them is what they consider to be therapeutic for them. I love to hear the various responses and to encourage people to take that time to do what is life-giving for them.


A couple example photos…



2 thoughts on “Emma Earick STEP – Faces of Therapy

  1. What a great signature project. Thank you for the link, it was nice to actually see some of your work! It sounds like this opportunity was very impactful.

  2. Ahhh! This is awesome! So happy to see it completed and the website looks super nice 🙂 Great job Emma!!

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