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How can watching movies help us to heal and grow? [Video]

I’ve been to the cinema twice this week and watched two incredibly moving and powerful films,

August: Osage County, with themes of  abuse, addiction, co-dependency, disappointment, family, hate, regret, love and hope

and

the Disney animation, Frozen, with themes of hidden and frozen, painful feelings, depression, perfectionism, suppressed potential, letting go of the false self, becoming real, female empowerment, relationships and love.

It got me to reflecting about how movies can help us to find deeper meaning in life, as well as being a valuable tool on our journeys towards healing and growth. Much like with dreams, myths and fairy tales – working with the symbolism of movies can provide access to parts of the psyche that are inaccessible through our conscious thinking.

“Cinema therapy can be a powerful catalyst for healing and growth for anybody who is open to learning how movies affect us and to watching certain films with conscious awareness. Cinema therapy allows us to use the effect of imagery, plot, music, etc. in films on our psyche for insight, inspiration, emotional release or relief and natural change….Like music, poetry, stories, myths, jokes, fables, or dreams, cinema therapy allows us to gain awareness of our deeper layers of consciousness to help us move toward new perspectives or behaviour as well as healing and integration of the total self.” (http://www.cinematherapy.com/)

CinemaTherapy suggests that by watching movies consciously, we can:
  • decrease stress hormones through laughter
  • identify, regulate and heal emotions through cathartic crying
  • explore our reactions to the characters and how they relate to those parts of ourselves that we like and dislike
  • create a sense of healthy distance from our problems
  • develop objectivity
  • gain new insights and behaviours
  • connect with images and symbols and find their meaning
  • understand ourselves at a deeper level of consciousness
  • find a sense of positivity and hope
  • improve communication
  • enhance well-being and
  • become more mindful
In therapy

Get to know yourself on a deeper level and try taking a movie that you have connected with to your therapy session. Explore the main themes, the music, the characters, the context, the shooting locations, the symbols etc. Tapping into the creative mind can be particularly useful when you are feeling stuck.

Check out my Movie Therapy board on Pinterest.

Let It Go from Disney’s FROZEN as performed by Idina Menzel | Official Disney HD

About the Author:

Sydney Soul-Centred Psychotherapist, Counsellor + Eating Disorder Therapist, Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. Over the last 20 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly, Allambie Heights and Frenchs Forest on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

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