Why Cinema Therapy
© 2002-2016 Birgit Wolz
What experts say about cinema therapy
Film is a representational medium
"Film is a representational medium that, through both its style and content, is able to symbolize a variety of behavioral patterns (through character action, plot, theme, editing, etc.) that are analyzable from different psychological theories and teaching modalities."
Gilbert P. Mansergh
Films as healing and coping stories
"Movies are a true example of how art imitates life. To begin the journey all you need to do is to identify those movies that apply to your individual life problem or those that will help you to self-nurture and grow. The movies will help you experience healing yourself and/or supporting family members and friends along their own healing path."
"The goal of using motion pictures on tape to pass along standards of meaningful coping is quite basic. Films package situations and strategies in narratives that can become the basis for discussion before, during, and after the viewing. They encourage a vicarious but vivid experience that engages more of the senses than mere talk or reading, within the egalitarian framework of a shared encounter that openly invites personal responses from youngster(s) and counselor(s) alike. As suggested above, the selection of the motion picture itself communicates priorities and guidelines for the interpersonal interaction and thus is most effective if the young people feel they have had some say in what is to be shown. That discussion itself becomes a window of opportunity for introducing themes on the topic of resiliency."
James W. Hickey
Film as a self-help tool for life's changes
"The distance of watching, combined with the effect of seeing things on the screen, often has a profound positive impact. Whether seeing how others handle a situation, seeing oneself in a character portrayed, or just enjoying a two our vacation from oneีs troubles, movies are a powerful self-help and therapeutic tool. ...Inspiring movies can help stoke your courage through the most illogical stages of transition."
Cathie Glenn Sturdevant
Films used in the therapeutic process
"Films are metaphors that can be utilized in therapy in a manner similar to stories, myths, jokes, fables, and therapeutically constructed narrative insights. Because films galvanize feelings, they increase the probability that clients will carry out new and desired behaviors. Cognitive insights tell clients what they ought to do but affective insights give them the motivation to follow through."
Stephen S. Pearce
"VideoWork is a therapeutic process in which clients and therapists discuss themes and characters in popular films that relate to core issues of ongoing therapy. In VideoWork , we use films to facilitate self-understanding, to introduce options for action plans, and to seed future therapeutic interventions."
John W. Hesley & Jan G. Hesley
"Using film as a tool is consistent with traditional aims and methods of psychotherapy. The general objectives of therapy sessions include identifying the client's concerns, explicating the difference between perceived problems and more pressing underlying issues, negotiating means of dealing with the areas of distress, and establishing indicators of closure."
Lauver & Harvey
Films offer a mystical message and an opportunity for spiritual growth
"Today, movies are a significant way most people can still get the mystical message. ...During my life, I've looked for the message (from the Creator?) through the medium of film. ...Movies are a modern church ..."
"Studying movies for their mystical message empowers us. We gain insight and greater self-awareness. We begin to appreciate our virtues and learn to "see" with our heart ..."
Stephen Simon talks about the emerging category of Spiritual Cinema "...a genre finally being recognized for what it is: "a metaphoric pathway to explore to explore such things as a nature of love, the meaning of life and death, the concept of of time and space, the vision of our future. Movies have become our windows to the universe. The sheer imaginative power of the screen has shaped the way humanity views itself, the world, and the cosmos."