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Finding Healing Through Shared Stories

Have you read a book or watched a movie and felt like you were seeing yourself reflected back at you? Maybe the colorful aunt in that new movie reminds you of your loving grandmother. Perhaps the characters in that book your friend recommended remind you of your strained relationship with your father. Many of the stories we gravitate to reflect our own lives and experiences. Thus, through shared stories, we can process the traumas of our own lives.

Sharing your adverse experiences may feel overwhelming or too difficult. Therefore, we can use cinema therapy as a therapeutic tool for self-expression through storytelling. However, you may wonder what cinema therapy is and how it can support your recovery.

What Is Cinema Therapy?

According to an article from Frontiers in Psychology, cinema therapy is an artistic therapeutic technique in which you watch curated films. These films present characters experiencing similar psychological and or physical difficulties as you. Cinema therapy is designed to help you externalize your trauma by recognizing yourself in the characters. When you can see yourself in a character, you increase self-awareness and deepen your understanding of your emotions and behavior.

Stages of Cinema Therapy

Listed below are four stages identified within cinema therapy:

  1. Identification: You identify with the character’s actions and goals.
  2. Catharsis: You learn through the character’s experiences.
  3. Insight: You internalize the character’s experiences and form a connection with them.
  4. Universalization: You feel less alone as you find similarities between your experiences and the character.

Moreover, in cinema therapy, your therapist will select a film for you to watch either independently or in a specific group.

Learning Through Shared Stories

Shared stories with a specific group can expand the healing process to support your family as well. As noted in an article from Psychological Trauma, shared stories within families are important for finding shared meaning in your experiences. Therefore, the process of storytelling through shared stories can help families talk and cope with trauma together.

As the article states, traumatic experiences can make it difficult for families to form healthy attachments, regulate emotions, and self-reflect. Thus, through shared stories, you and your family can find meaning in your trauma and learn to cope with problem-solving techniques.

Shared Stories at The Guest House

At The Guest House, we know traumatic experiences can leave an indelible mark that makes daily functioning and relationships difficult. Therefore, our fundamental mission at The Guest House is to help you uncover that trauma, rediscover yourself, and connect with your loved ones through holistic therapeutic techniques like cinema therapy.

Narrative-based therapies like cinema therapy at The Guest House can support you in deepening your understanding of your self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. We know addressing trauma is difficult because no one wants to relive those painful moments. However, cinema therapy is an integral treatment option in our program as a therapeutic tool to encourage empathy and reflect honestly on your emotions and actions. Through storytelling, you and your loved ones can rediscover each other and form meaning from your trauma together.

Storytelling in families helps you make meaning out of your experiences together. However, traumatic experiences can impair your functioning and negatively impact your relationships. Therefore, therapeutic techniques like cinema therapy can help you reflect on your self-defeating behaviors through characters in films. The bonding found in shared stories can support you and your family in learning how to find meaning within your trauma and build coping strategies together. At The Guest House, we provide a wide range of treatments to support your long-term healing with trauma-specific care. Call us at (855) 483-7800.