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«Danny W. Pettry, II, M.Ed., M.S., NCC, CTRS Huntington, West Virginia Copyright © 2014 – - All Rights Reserved Worldwide. 1 ...»

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Cinema Therapy: An Idea for Recreational Therapists

www.dannypettry.com/cinematherapy.html

Danny W. Pettry, II, M.Ed., M.S., NCC, CTRS

Huntington, West Virginia

Copyright © 2014 – www.DannyPettry.com - All Rights Reserved Worldwide. 1

Cinema Therapy: An Idea for Recreational Therapists

www.dannypettry.com/cinematherapy.html

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www.dannypettry.com/cinematherapy.html All Rights Reserved Copyright © 2014, Danny Pettry II All rights are reserved. You may not distribute this report in any way. You may not sell it, or reprint any part of it without written consent from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.

Disclaimer This special report (electronic book) is for information purposes only.

While Danny Pettry has used his best efforts in preparing this special report; he makes no representations or warranties with the respect to accuracy or completeness of the contents and specifically disclaims any implied warranties.

The advice contained within this special report may not be suitable for your situation.

You should consult with a professional where appropriate.

The author, Danny Pettry shall not be liable for any loss of profit or commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. You are responsible for your own behaviors and actions.

Copyright © 2014 – www.DannyPettry.com - All Rights Reserved Worldwide. 2 Cinema Therapy: An Idea for Recreational Therapists www.dannypettry.com/cinematherapy.html Introduction 5 Chapter 1: What is Cinema Therapy 6 Sense of Accountability Stress Management Profound Emotional Experiences Media Response Chapter 2: Why Is It Used? 8 Positive Effects Through Enjoyable Entertainment The Importance of Processing the Movie Chapter 3: How Cinema Therapy Benefits People in Therapy 11 Switch in Focus New Vocabulary Chapter 4: Others Who Could Benefit from Cinema Therapy 14 Challenges Self-Esteem Children and Teen Issues Chapter 5: How Is Cinema Therapy Like Bibliotherapy 15 Communication Focus Less Singling Out Specific Pro

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Copyright © 2014 – www.DannyPettry.com - All Rights Reserved Worldwide. 3 Cinema Therapy: An Idea for Recreational Therapists www.dannypettry.com/cinematherapy.html Introduction In today’s world, people are learning more and more that therapy doesn’t have one specific definition and the whole concept of therapy is relative from one situation to the next. For that reason, more counselors, psychologists, and therapists are branching out to include unique and nontraditional methods of working with patients, whether those individuals have a diagnosed mental condition or simply may be going through a rough time in life.

One of these nontraditional methods, which is gaining more speed regularly due to its success in cinema therapy. The very idea of watching movies as a therapy session can be a hard concept to grasp for many and that is why we will explore cinema therapy in greater detail through this report.

You will learn how it can be used by therapists, how it can be used at home, and how it is similar to other types of therapy methods used more and more today.

To begin with, let’s establish what exactly cinema therapy is.

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Chapter 1:

What Is Cinema Therapy?

For many people, going to see a movie is a treat for the family or a romantic date. There’s nothing quite like the experience of getting the ticket, sitting in a darkened theater with a big tub of popcorn and a soda, and watching a new show on a big screen. While many people know that going to the movies is a great time, quite a few do not realize that it can actually be a therapy as well.

It’s called cinema therapy, and according to the publication, Psychology Today, “technically, it’s the process or practice of therapists instructing their clients to watch film(s) that are relevant to issues of personal distress and dysfunction.” (Clyman, 2013) Essentially, the purpose of cinema therapy is to help patients overcome various issues that could be negatively affecting their lives. However, the definition itself doesn’t stop here. Cinema therapy encompasses many other things. Let’s review a few of the goals accomplished through this therapy method.

Sense of Accountability Often, patients who have trouble with handling emotions and they develop improperly adapted patterns in their relationships with others. Often, this, in turn, leads to a lack of accountability in a person’s social life. They don’t thoroughly understand why they do things and the consequences of their actions.

By watching a movie in which the protagonist faces a similar situation and has to deal with the consequences, individuals may come to understand how they could be affecting their social life.

In that sense, cinema therapy prompts a sense of accountability. In fact, this often occurs when a person has not even entered therapy. They may see a movie, recognize their own actions in the film, and discover that they need to consider seeking professional help on their own.





Stress Management Movies and films offer a form of escapism. When viewers sit in that theater, they don’t think about the problems of their own lives, the stress they may be dealing with, or the issues they are facing. Instead, they focus on the characters on the screen. As a result, a great impact of cinema therapy can come in the form of stress management because viewers are able to escape from their problems.

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Have you ever watched a movie in which the protagonist did something incredibly unwise or downright “stupid”? Have you watched those scenes and thought to yourself that the mistakes you have made simply don’t seem so bad anymore? When watching a movie, there are two different forms of stress management that come from connecting with characters on the screen.

A person may feel better about themselves by seeing someone else going through something worse. Alternatively, a viewer may feel better about themselves after they see the protagonist of a movie get in and then climb out of a bad situation, leading to the “if they could do it, so can I” notion.

Profound Emotional Experiences Patients who are facing conditions in which they disconnect from their emotions or have too strong of a connection at times may find help in the form of cinema therapy. For example, PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition spurred by a traumatic event in the past.

Patients who have been diagnosed with PTSD often keep themselves at a distance from their emotions in fear of a “flashback” to their traumatic event. However, by repressing their emotional connections, they are actually forcing even stronger flashback events. Patients with these types of conditions may find their symptoms lessened by watching movies that include emotional experiences.

In a sense, by eliciting emotional responses in the patient in a way that doesn’t connect with them personally, this allows the patient to connect with their feelings without feeling that they are connecting with their trauma.

Media Response Often, you will see in the media, most people only consider the negative effects of cinema and television. Numerous news outlets link violent movies with violent outbursts in people. For this reason, you may wonder how watching a film could actually have a positive effect. As you continue to read this report and explore the numerous groups of people who can benefit from cinema therapy, you will be better able to understand the benefits as opposed to any negatives.

Cinema therapy, like bibliotherapy (which we will discuss later in this book), actually helps patients in numerous different ways, and while the majority of films used are uplifting and encouraging, some of them have darker or more serious topics. That’s because the goal is to help the patient reflect on their lives, see others who are dealing with the same issues, and know that they are not alone. Despite media attention on movies for the negative, there is definitely a positive impact off film on patients who may need it for mental health issues or even for passing concerns in their lives.

As you can see, the exact definition of cinema therapy is rather broad. It exists as a way to help patients cope with various concerns and issues whether in their life or mentally through Copyright © 2014 – www.DannyPettry.com - All Rights Reserved Worldwide. 6 Cinema Therapy: An Idea for Recreational Therapists www.dannypettry.com/cinematherapy.html watching movies. Through the rest of this guide, we will discuss the therapy in greater detail, describing how it can help mental health patients as well as other individuals, why it is used specifically, and how it shares similarities with another therapeutic device called bibliotherapy.

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Chapter 2:

Why Is It Used?

In some groups, cinema therapy is considered a type of alternative or holistic healing. However, it is growing in popularity throughout mainstream psychologist circles as well. In fact, it has garnered enough attention that groups like the American Mental Health Association and Psychology Today have taken notice. The concept is even being used by religious circles, such as the Catholic’s Divorce Survival Guide, which encourages cinema watching as a method of therapy in the wake of a split with a partner.

Why is it used? Quite simply, there is plentiful evidence that it works. A website devoted wholly

to cinema therapy explains this in greater detail:

“One aspect of most movies is that they serve as allegories, in much the same way as do stories, myths, jokes, fables, or dreams, which can all be utilized in therapy. The cognitive effect of cinema therapy can be explained through recent theories of learning and creativity, which suggests that we have seven ‘intelligences’.” (Why Cinema Therapy Works) The seven intelligences is a concept developed by Howard Gardner, a well-known and

accomplished psychologist. These seven include:

1. Visual/Spatial – People who have tapped into this part of their intelligences are commonly very in-tune with physical space and creativity. Commonly, this is an intelligence associated with architects, multimedia developers, those who regularly daydream, and artists. In watching movies, the pictures, colors, and symbols of the film are methods of tapping into this intelligence.

2. Body/Kinesthetic – This intelligence reflects people who are effectively in tune with their body. Examples of those who have tapped into this intelligence include dancers, surgeons, and professional sports players. Obviously, the movement of the film itself as well as movement within the film taps into this intelligence.

3. Musical – Obviously, a part of the brain is directly affected by music and finds emotion or therapy in tunes specifically. People who have tapped into this Copyright © 2014 – www.DannyPettry.com - All Rights Reserved Worldwide. 8 Cinema Therapy: An Idea for Recreational Therapists www.dannypettry.com/cinematherapy.html intelligence often perform better in school, work, or any situation when music is playing. Throughout movies, sounds and music are used to enhance the story, and this helps connect viewers with their musical intelligence.

4. Interpersonal – People who just seem to be able to “read” others based on body movements, facial reaction, and speech have tapped into their interpersonal intelligence. Often, those who have found this intelligence work as therapists, motivational speakers, and more. The whole storytelling concept and trying to determine what will happen next helps viewers connect with their interpersonal intelligence.

5. Intrapersonal – This is similar to the interpersonal intelligence, but it refers to people who are in tune with their own inner feelings, such as motivation, intuition, wisdom and conscience. The inner guidance shown in characters within the movie will help viewers find their own intrapersonal intelligence.

6. Linguistic – This intelligence refers to people who actually think in words or connect everything with words specifically. They are often very good at word games and writing. Obviously, the dialogs within the movie allow viewers to use their linguistic intelligence whether they are trying to glean what a character will do next or what is not being said in a conversation.

7. Logical-Mathematical – The final intelligence has to do with reasoning and calculations. People who have tapped into this intelligence are often very good at logic games, mysteries, and puzzles. The plot itself will tap into the logical intelligence. This is often seen when viewers feel that a plot doesn’t make sense.

That’s because it is not connecting with their logical side.

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Essentially, many professionals have found that patients who are able to better connect with more of their multiple intelligences are also able to cope with situations in an easier manner.

Copyright © 2014 – www.DannyPettry.com - All Rights Reserved Worldwide. 9 Cinema Therapy: An Idea for Recreational Therapists www.dannypettry.com/cinematherapy.html Because watching movies taps into these intelligences, it allows viewers to see and think of things on a wholly different level.

Positive Effects through Enjoyable Entertainment Let’s not discount the enjoyable experience that comes along with cinema therapy. Many people dread the concept of therapy, even if they have never been, and for that reason, they are resistant and they do not see progress in their lives as long as they fight against it.

Cinema therapy is different. People who use this method are actually connecting themselves with something enjoyable. Because they enjoy the film itself, they open themselves up to a greater impact from the therapy. This is one of the many reasons why the method is used – professionals have recognized that introducing an enjoyable experience can make a therapy session more productive.



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