Puppies, sunsets, crafts and therapy: Can Pinterest help us figure out our emotions?

    Puppies, cute crafts, sunsets and beautiful brides are what seem to draw users to the popular photo-sharing site Pinterest, which launched in 2010 and is already one of the country’s most popular social media sites.

    A Maryland relationship counselor says the site also has a lot of potential as a therapy tool.

    Crystal Rice found herself spending a lot of time on Pinterest. She says the pictures are seductive because they tap into our emotions, and represent and validate daydreams. During one of her Pinterest visits, Rice had a revelation that these very qualities make the pictures a great asset for counseling.

    She now asks her clients to pick pictures every day that describe their emotions and mood — and evaluates them when they return to her office.

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    “I’ll ask them how things have gone, and they’ll say, ‘Oh, it’s fine,'” explains Rice. “Then I say, ‘OK, let’s go over your Pinterest board.’ And, really, over the last three weeks, it’s been dark, or maybe they were sad or upset, and they weren’t thinking about that when they were sitting in my office.”

    It’s an easy way to keep a journal, to document moods and emotions in a simple fashion, says Rice, who adds that for many people, picking a picture to express a mood is much easier than writing or talking about it. The pictures also serve as a conversation starter as clients explain why they chose them.

    Rice says while the site itself attracts more female users, the Pinterest approach in therapy is especially popular with her male clients.

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