we get. There is pressure to look a certain way and create a particular impression … but the snapshot that we show the world doesn't always accurately reflect how we truly feel inside. In fact, at times, the dichotomy makes our head spin as we work all too hard to hide our flaws, our vulnerabilities, even our very essence.​

It is impossible for us to see a picture of ourselves and not have a reaction to it.  Our initial response might be something along these lines: Ugh, my arms look fat...when the hell did I get so many wrinkles?...damn I look good and need to post this now!

But the hard truth is that when we have our picture taken and when we look at photos of ourselves (particularly when it’s not a selfie, because that’s when we’re in control of the image and have countless filters to modify it), our feelings run much deeper as we inevitably confront our hidden self. How ironic that the process of having our picture taken and then the ensuing image of our external appearance challenges us to face our most profound insecurities, the baggage we are terribly ashamed of, what we fear makes us unlovable, all that we try to keep hidden – even from ourselves – day after day. (By the way, if you love posing for photos or looking at images of yourself, the same holds true, but you’re a rare breed!)

In other words, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then the photo shoot process and pictures of ourselves are priceless … because they are a critical starting point for self-exploration. That’s why Dr. Debbie teamed up with Peter Hurley,  a renowned portrait photographer to use an innovative process called Headshot Therapy to help people in both their professional and personal lives. 

“Awareness is a superpower,” Dr. Debbie often tells her clients, explaining that we are only 5 percent consciously aware of who we are, what motivates our behavior, and what blocks us from achieving what we want. Headshot Therapy helps people explore the 95 percent of themselves they don’t know at all, including uncovering the two or three themes that are playing out in all facets of their life. 

Rather than just intellectually understanding one’s issues over an extended period of time, Headshot Therapy jump-starts the path to self-discovery by challenging the client to immediately confront issues head on. People can’t hide from their emotions when they go through the powerful process, so it instigates change more quickly than traditional therapy. They face their biggest vulnerabilities and challenges, the strongest parts of their personality, what’s in their way at work, why they’re struggling in personal relationships, change their perception of themselves and more. 

While Headshot Therapy impacts people in all facets of their lives, it is particularly effective in the workplace, as clients can discover, for example, what’s impeding excellent leadership, why the need for approval or control is hindering productivity, or how fear holds them back from taking initiative. 

Dr. Debbie partnered with Hurley after experiencing first-hand with him how powerful the process of taking headshots can be. Thirteen years ago, she had a photo shoot with Hurley as she prepared herself to promote her first book. While she knew she hated seeing herself in pictures, the photo shoot experience was even worse than she could have imagined. When Hurley showed her pictures mid-shoot, it become unbearable to the point that they had to take a break and actively work through both their dynamic and her discomfort with the process. The end result was ultimately photos that Dr. Debbie loved, but more importantly, a friendship, a partnership, and a commitment to help others rise past their self-consciousness, heal, and discover who they truly are.  

We all like to look our best, but think about the role our appearance plays in our individual life and in society at large. Even before the advent of social media-- and all the more so now -- what we look like often takes center stage in terms of how we feel about ourselves, how others perceive us, the attention we seek, and the validation 


​​​​​​Debbie Magids, PhD