Aug 13, 2008

Cinematherapy: bringing down your psychic-emotional walls

I've been watching a lot of movies and tv series since going high-speed. The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, BBC Planet Earth, Kenneth Clark's Civilization, the list goes on and on. I've rationalized my copious movie and tv consumption as nutritious couch potato time because I choose only the acclaimed stuff. No junk. Just the cream. OK, maybe a little Survivor but it's sociologically and psychologically interesting. We always have discussions following each episode. And as it turns out, this can be therapeutic.

Cinematherapy is a therapeutic intervention that is growing in popularity. In Psychology Today, Stuart Fischoff, Ph.D blogs about this subject in part one of Movies and Psychotherapy = Cinematherapy. He says:
Movies constitute the premier popular culture form of the day in no small way because of the psychophysiological properties of the film medium; moreover, it does not require the ability to read-not an insignificant advantage. While film has been justly called an "emotion machine," it is also a multi-sensory medium. More than any other medium of entertainment and communication, movies richly represent the swirl of messages: flesh, mind, ideas, pain, pride and laughter, the symbols and images that define what we call "the human condition."
Yes, good movies can be a cathartic experience, they arouse our feelings and give us emotional release.
"The value of movies to progress in therapy is in their capacity to deal with issues that patients can't or won't discuss because they are too painful or too frightening. Movies can bring down psychic-emotional barriers, penetrate the wall of resistance, both conscious and unconscious, oftentimes very deftly and then open up the issues aroused for discussion in therapy....Often, is easier for patients to discuss problems when they are talking about a character in a movie."
How true. Sometimes it's easier to talk in 3rd person, to project. So next time you watch a show, talk about it. It may be good for your mental health.


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