by William Van Ornum, Ph.D. on
Going out to see a movie on the big screen is a great way to spend an evening. Almost as nice is ordering up a movie on the computer and watching right at home. There’s such a great interest in mental-health themes in movies that AMHF is writing about all this on its blog.
Can movies be actual therapy? Some, most unequivocally, say “yes!”
Lynn Shallcross, writing in the October 2012 issue of Counseling Today (a publication of the American Counseling Association), reports that Bret Hendricks, associate professor of counselor education at Texas Tech University, uses the 1980 film Ordinary People as an assignment for families that he sees in counseling. Hendricks says that this film helps families who are having trouble processing their emotions. Shallcross reports on other positive uses of cinematherapy.
“Cinematherapy involves requesting clients to watch movies or film clips with themes or situations similar to those the counselor and client are working on, with the purpose of discussing the movie themes in session, says Mary Ballard, a professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Development at Southeastern Louisiana University. Using movies can be time intensive, Ballard says, because counselors must screen movies beforehand to determine which ones might be a good fit for their clients.”
There is even a Web site devoted to Cinematherapy:
“Have you ever left a movie theater full of emotions, insights and inspiration? Did you want to share your impressions and feelings right away? Did the movie make you reflect on your own life experiences, struggles, as well as gifts?
“Then you might be interested in taking this a step further by making use of the transformational power certain films could have for you when you take advantage of their impact. Cinema therapy offers some tools for this process.
“Cinema therapy can be a powerful catalyst for healing and growth for anybody who is open to learning how movies affect us and to watching certain films with conscious awareness. Cinema therapy allows us to use the effect of imagery, plot, music, etc. in films on our psyche for insight, inspiration, emotional release or relief and natural change.”
An intriguing part of the Cinematherapy Web site is a comprehensive list of hundreds of movies related to mental-health themes. The Cinematherapy Film Index lists films related to he following categories: inspiration, personal issues, social issues, children, adolescents, family issues, couples issues, mental and emotional illness, physical illness and medical issues.
AMHF has come up with its own selection of twenty-one movies. All will be reviewed within this blog, as to date five from the list have been. Please consider these blogs and let AMHF know what you think by E-mail:Email Evander