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How Can Cinema Therapy Help My Recovery?

Most people overlook the profound impact watching films can have on their recovery. Like other artistic outlets, the film can create a pleasurable experience that inspires and provokes conversation. One can experience movies individually or within a group. This type of therapy allows people to feel empathetic toward characters and place themselves in hypothetical scenarios.

What Is Cinema Therapy?

Cinema therapy, sometimes called movie therapy, is a type of expressive therapy that helps people overcome medical and mental health challenges. When watching a movie, areas of the brain that process emotions, problem-solving, and empathy can be stimulated. The theme, if carefully chosen, may resonate deeply with someone and allow them to reflect on their life circumstances and see themselves safely from a third-party point of view.

Cinema therapy uses specific movies to stimulate emotions, empathy, and problem-solving. Discussing themes and characters in a movie can help people relate them to some of their own core issues and gain an understanding of ways to work through them.

How Does Cinema Therapy Work?

Movie therapy is multi-sensory, which can cause one to process cognitive thoughts and emotions on a deep level. When relating to a movie, the viewer can reflect on their own life circumstance and emotions safely and without judgment. The use of art, music, dance and cinema therapy is not a replacement for traditional therapy; however, these kinds of therapy support traditional treatment beautifully.

Watching a movie can enact healing as someone relates to the plot, the imagery, the music, and the theme and allow these elements to give them insight into their own life story. It allows someone to safely identify and release negative or troubling emotions.

What Are Some Types of Cinema Therapy?

There are multiple types of cinema therapy, including:

  • Popcorn cinema therapy helps people release their emotions
  • Evocative cinema therapy helps individuals connect with the story and the movie characters, and in that connection, they learn about themselves
  • Cathartic cinema therapy allows people to get in contact with their feelings and emotions

How Can Cinema Therapy Help?

By using a movie that represents a prior memory or trauma, someone can relate to and externalize their experience in a new way. It can provide enough distance between the movie events and the real-life event so that someone can relate, release, and heal.

Unpleasant memories or trauma can be carried as a single isolated experience in one’s memory. By comparing an event to a similar event or series of events characters experience in the film, the viewer may become aware of the event and see it played out to a happy ending, at which point they can find healing.

Choosing the correct movie can enable someone to relate to the storyline. It allows participants to look at their problems differently, which will enable them to find solutions. These outcomes can improve someone’s problem-solving abilities. Seeing someone in a movie have resilience and successfully deal with something can offer the viewer hope and encouragement.

Additionally, feeling response to something that happens in a movie in a safe space can help someone subconsciously address that same hidden issue within themself. Cinema therapy uses movies to change the way people think and feel, as well as gives them tools to deal with life.

Why Is a Movie Good for Mental Health?

Cinema therapy gives people permission to pick and choose what they see, determine how it applies to their own life, and use it to heal and change. When someone relates to a character in a movie and to that character’s flaws, it allows a comparison that can promote positive change.

Other mental health benefits of cinema therapy include:

  • Movies can change how one thinks about things and can give one tools to deal more effectively with life’s problems
  • Watching a movie can bring about a release of emotions
  • A movie can assist in seeing one’s own life as it is because a good story can provide a different perspective and a way to make sense of events
  • Movies can be a healthy escape, which can also allow insight
  • A movie can be a huge stress relief

What Conditions Does Cinema Therapy Help?

Cinema therapy can be a positive method of treatment and also a way to create connections. It is especially effective for the following disorders:

  • Trauma
  • Grief
  • Substance use disorder (SUD)
  • Depression
  • Generalized Anxiety
  • Pain Control

Benefits of Movie Watching

Cinema therapy has many benefits. For example, it allows people to watch a character experience an event parallel to some adversity in their own lives. It instills the idea that they are not isolated in their experiences. Watching a movie allows someone to reflect on prior behavior in a much less intimidating format than simply talking about it.

There are many more benefits of movie watching, such as:

  • Movies have a positive impact on overall health
  • Movies boost your immune system
  • Movies reduce stressĀ 
  • Movies create connections with other people
  • Movies show us what’s good and what’s not good and show us how to be better people
  • Movies cause learning, better coping skills, better vocabulary, and different perspectives
  • Movies cause people to be more creative
  • Movies teach us how to deal with difficult situationsĀ 
  • Movies allow escape in a healthy way

Cinema therapy can help anyone suffering from past events in their life. Cinema therapy can put past events into perspective by looking at them from an outsider’s point of view. Learning to identify a different point of view can bring insight to your life events. Innovative and integrative treatments like cinema therapy can help you find a deeper understanding of yourself and your emotions. Your recovery journey is personal, meaning you must find ways to communicate without adding additional trauma to the journey. Cinema therapy can help you discover situations you can relate to, grow from, and work through. The therapists at The Guest House are waiting to help you benefit from experiencing several of our integrative forms of therapy in your program. We are here to guide you to a healthier you. Call The Guest House today at (855) 483-7800 to learn more.