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How Cinema Therapy Opens Up Conversations About Trauma

Cinema therapy opens up conversations about trauma in a very unique way. This modality can be extremely healing and help you describe your personal struggles with less distress than traditional routes.

What Is Cinema Therapy?

Subjects like trauma, addiction, and mental health are often difficult to discuss. Cinema therapy uses film to encourage participants to talk about these subjects in an open and honest way. People who participate in cinema therapy will analyze different films that are relevant to their own life experiences. They may find similarities between themselves and certain characters or events that happen in the film.

The idea is that it can be easier to approach difficult topics when they are viewed through the lens of a character in a film. This can open up a door for clients and therapists to talk about addiction struggles, trauma, and mental health in a refreshing way.

Looking At Reality by Watching a Film

According to a 2021 study in Frontiers in Psychology, cinema therapy and video treatments are “artistic therapeutic techniques” where individuals are exposed to “complex audiovisual material displaying their psychological or physical difficulties.” In cinema therapy, full-length commercial films are used. Video treatments differ in that they normally include short video creations or brief documentaries.

A therapist will choose a film with characters that face similar problems as the patient or group of patients viewing it. Frontiers in Psychology says the clients and therapist can look at “reality” with the “same magnifying glass by watching a film.”

Cinema therapy opens up new perspectives and different ways for individuals to cope with their own struggles. It can also strengthen the bond between peer recovery groups and therapists as everyone gets together to enjoy and analyze the film.

How Cinema Therapy Opens up Feelings of Self-Compassion

One common bond that many have in common is a love for entertainment, like movies. Cinema therapy can appeal to a wide variety of people in recovery, allowing them to talk about their struggles in a lighter way.

One of the hardest parts of the recovery journey is to actually face your demons head-on. This can be especially difficult after years of masking pain with substances or ignoring trauma. Once the veil is lifted, it’s not always easy to think about the pain you have been through.

Watching a movie may cause you to feel empathy for characters you can relate to. Through cinema therapy, this feeling of empathy can now be transferred to yourself, allowing you to fully explore your feelings and develop a stronger sense of self-compassion.

How Cinema Therapy Opens up Conversations About Guilt and Shame

When it comes to addiction, trauma, and mental health conditions, feelings of guilt and shame are all too common. According to a 2022 study in Frontiers in Psychiatry, people with substance use disorder (SUD) have reported a “higher level of guilt than those who didn’t use drugs.” The study also notes that shame can be a barrier to seeking treatment in the first place.

Many people who have experienced trauma and mental health conditions can also harbor similar feelings. For all of these groups, cinema therapy can be highly effective in identifying guilt and shame. When viewed through the lens of a character on the “big screen,” one may experience a connection and finally feel as though they’re not alone.

Benefits of Cinema Therapy

In both group and individual settings, cinema therapy has a wide variety of benefits. For those who feel like traditional treatment leaves much to be desired, this therapeutic tool can be refreshing.

Feelings of Isolation

Reliving trauma or negative events associated with addiction can be frightening. Many people learn to close themselves off for fear of getting hurt again. This sense of isolation can also be true for those who struggle with mental health, especially when a stigma around these conditions still exists.

Cinema therapy opens up conversations about isolation and can help individuals overcome the feeling of being alone. When you relate to a character in a movie, it can make you feel like your experiences do matter. It will also become easier to confide in therapists and others who can support you in your journey of healing.

Honesty and Understanding

When it comes to trauma and addiction struggles, it’s not always easy to be honest with yourself, your therapist, or your peers. To change this, cinema therapy opens up conversations about honesty. You can explore how trauma, addiction, or mental illness takes control of your life as you watch a character go through similar experiences.

Trauma-informed therapists, like those at The Guest House, are also key in helping you bridge together everything you learn. This is how you can find a strong connection between the film and your personal journey, allowing you to heal your mind, body, and soul.

How Cinema Therapy Opens up Tough Conversations at The Guest House

At The Guest House, we take pride in offering innovative and engaging therapies to help you overcome whatever your struggle may be. Our cinema therapy program provides thought-provoking material that can be discussed in an individual or group setting. This gives you an outlet to relate to each film in your own way and express your thoughts and opinions without fear of judgment.

In addition to cinema therapy, you will find a wide range of traditional and unique therapies to help you heal your mind, body, and soul together as one. No matter what your background or experiences may be, you will find a safe space to re-discover life’s joys at The Guest House.

Cinema therapy opens up tough conversations about trauma, addiction, and mental health. This healing modality allows you to view your struggles through the lens of a character in a movie who is going through similar experiences as you. At The Guest House, our cinema therapy program is led by one of our trauma-informed therapists. You can participate in this innovative and engaging therapeutic modality in either an individual or group setting, where you can feel free to talk about difficult experiences. Our cinema therapy program is just one of the many holistic healing modalities you can find at The Guest House. For more information, call us today at (855) 483-7800.