The visual matrix: A psycho-social method for discovering unspoken complexities in social care practice

Abstract

This article discusses the use of an innovative research tool, the visual matrix (VM). The VM is a tool that uses the visual imagination, expressed both verbally and in drawing, to reveal hidden or unexpressed ideas, feelings and emotions in research subjects. It is hypothesised to be of particular utility in the study of psychologically painful and/or complex situations, where normal discourse cannot find a means of expression. The VM is discussed as a method that can be applied to psycho-social research. Its use is analysed in the context of a case study in a social care organisation in Manchester.

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Acknowledgements

The research for this article is part of a wider research project. The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of the staff and volunteers of the Men’s Room to the visual matrix and their collaboration in the wider research. We would also like to acknowledge the contribution of Dr. Jenny Hughes (Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama, Manchester University) to the research project as a whole, which has helped to inform the ideas developed in this paper, and the contribution of Professor Lynn Froggett to the development of the visual matrix methodology. We are grateful to Professor Paul Hoggett for reading through the text and for his advice. The research was funded by the Lankelly Chase Foundation.

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Correspondence to Julian Manley.

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Manley, J., Roy, A. The visual matrix: A psycho-social method for discovering unspoken complexities in social care practice. Psychoanal Cult Soc 22, 132–153 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41282-016-0037-5

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Keywords

  • visual matrix
  • social care practice
  • psycho-social
  • association
  • images