The latest form of bibliotherapy
Being mindfully aware of our reactions to movies can be a potent way to explore our inner life, and enhance our mental health and personal development.
A Psychology Today article, Reel Therapy by John W. Hesley, notes, “Although people might be surprised when a therapist recommends a movie, using fiction as a clinical tool is not actually new. Since the 1930s, when a doctor named William C. Menninger first assigned fiction to psychiatric patients, therapists have introduced literature—novels, short stories and poetry—into the therapeutic process.
“Movies are simply the latest, most accessible and time-saving addition to what has become known as bibliotherapy.”
The image is from the book Reel Therapy: How Movies can Help You Overcome Life’s Problems, by psychotherapist Gary Solomon, MPH, MSW, PhD.
Tool for therapists
Birgit Wolz, Ph.D., MFT, is another therapist and author of E-Motion Picture Magic: A Movie Lover’s Guide to Healing and Transformation. She has a site Cinematherapy.com, which includes a Professional Directory of therapists.
One of her publications on the site is Theory and guidelines for therapists in which she explains, “Watching a movie with conscious awareness can be similar to experiencing a guided visualization. The therapeutic effect and the theoretical basis for both modalities are therefore closely related.
“In fact, the use of films in therapy allows us to draw from and can be integrated into a range of psychotherapeutic orientations, from depth psychotherapy to cognitive-behavior therapy, to systems oriented therapy.
“Since films are metaphors, the depth psychologist can utilize movies in therapy similar to the way in which we utilize stories, myths, fables and dreams. The unconscious communicates its content to the conscious mind mostly in symbolic images…
“Since films are consecutive images, feeling touched by a movie scene with pleasant or unpleasant emotions shows client and therapist that this scene symbolically reflects relevant unconscious material.”
[The image is from the post Guillermo del Toro on the power of fairytales.]
A guide to the unconscious
A UK therapist who uses EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), Silvia Hartmann-Kent also uses cinematherapy in her work with clients.
She says, “Now it has long been my contention that movies and TV are the most wonderful aid in personal development, because your likes and dislikes are so clearly reflected back to you by your own emotional responses to what goes on there on the silver screen.
“Many times our deepest angers, fears and all manner of emotions that we can’t even put a label to are really out of reach during our every day lives; they are hidden away so that we don’t have to deal with them and so we don’t even know we have these emotions.
“Then we watch a TV show or a movie and all of a sudden – there they are! — revealed, making their presence known along with their desire to get our attention… this is an excellent way of dealing with unconscious material by yourself with control and safety.
“It is excellent for therapists too, because asking about the themes of movies and shows that have produced such a reaction in the past can be a most valuable entry point into unconscious subject areas.
From article Movies to explore our inner life.
Article publié pour la première fois le 15/02/2015