Cinema as a psychotherapeutic tool

Cinema as a psychotherapeutic tool

It never happened to you, after a movie, to consider a problem in another way?Or to take a different perspective to face new situations? Has a film ever allowed you to distance yourself at a difficult time in your life? The benefits of cinema as a psychotherapeutic tool are many. That's why it's being used more and more by health professionals.

Watching movies allows viewers, and therefore patients,to obtain information of very different natures: linguistic, spatial, interpersonal and intrapsychic.In other words, "cine-therapy" can transform psychological treatment into a complete, integral and intersensory learning space.

Cinema as a psychotherapeutic tool offers many benefits.

Based on books

For Bruce Skalarew, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst co-chair of the Forum for Psychoanalytic Study of Film, cine therapy has followed the same course as bibliotherapy. This doctor definesthe seventh art as a tool that helps improve mental health.He also considers this therapeutic method as a good complement to traditional means.

Walz explains that cinema as a therapeutic toolallows the psychologist to rely on the image, the music, the tone, the characters, the spaces and theatrical elements.It has the power to facilitate self-understanding and to achieve what is called an "emotional discharge". Finally, this art allows us to change our habits and evolve.

"Film therapy can be a powerful catalyst for healing and growth for anyone who is willing to learn how movies affect us and try to see some movies with real attention."

-Birgit Walz-

Personal reflection

What would I do if such a thing happened to me? How would my companion / companion react if this misfortune fell on us? Films sometimes make us think of situations that we are often unable to imagine.We put ourselves in the shoes of the characters. We try to think or see things through them.It helps patients who undergo psychotherapeutic treatment to introspect their thoughts, feelings and emotions, both present and future.

How to apply it?

The first thing to do, according to Gary Solomon – one of the first psychologists to have used the movies as therapy – is to choose movies that reflect the patient's problems. So,the plot should look as much as possible to the current or traumatic situation of the person.

It is fundamental that the therapist and the patient have a discussion before seeing the film.Both must understand that a conscious analysis exercise must be carried out.The professional will be able to recognize and examine the patient's reactions.

"Dream as if you were eternal, live as if it were your last day."

-James Dean-

After watching the movie,the patient must explain the connections and similarities he has found with his own life.Using your imagination is a good thing. He can also identify with a character in the film (Berg-Cross, Jennings, and Baruch, 1990).

Empathy and new perspectives

One of the strengths of this technique is that itcan improve the social and communication skills of patients.It serves as a practical example for situations in which you can develop your empathy and become aware of your own feelings, emotions and desires.

Thanks to this psychotherapeutic means, the theory of the mind can be put into practice.It is the ability to understand our own emotional processes and to think about the feelings or thoughts of others. All this is done through a sequence of ingenious images and dialogues, thanks to the magic of cinema.

The conflicts we see in criminal protagonists help us to realize our moral values.

This techniquealso allows to work with concrete scenes. We can focus even more on the point to be addressed.Characters can also be analyzed in detail to appreciate each change and detail. And that, as many times as we want. Thanks to this, one can find more similarities and differences between the behavior of the patient and that of the actor.

Cinema as a psychotherapeutic tool is still underestimated. Although it is increasingly used as a complementary strategy to traditional therapy. Nevertheless,Although it is effective for the majority of people, it should not be used with people with psychotic disorders.In these cases, we can not guarantee that cine therapy brings benefits.

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