Movie therapy entertains you while helping you learn to achieve more positive results in your life. An increasing number of therapists are using this kind of therapy as a supplement to conventional practices. Some people are even using movie therapy in a do-it-yourself approach.

Try these ideas for choosing, watching, and sharing films that contribute to your personal growth.


Choosing Movies

  1. Work out personal issues. Look for films that connect with your concerns. The Internet makes it easy to search for every possible movie topic, from high school cliques to becoming a grandparent.
  2. Have a good cry. To make progress, you sometimes want to release emotions that get bottled up. For example, maybe you’re going through a divorce. A film about divorce may reduce you to tears temporarily, but then it lets you move on.
  3. Explore positive role models. Seek out movie characters you admire. Identify the qualities and actions in those characters that you already possess or want to emulate.
  4. Enjoy great masterpieces. Many of the most revered directors in world cinema can be counted on for spiritual lessons and psychological insights. Sample the works of Akira Kurosawa and Jean Renoir or study your own personal favorites.
  5. Lighten up. Of course, you may be looking for a good laugh. Take a break for a few hours and relax with a comedy after a stressful day at work.


Watching Movies

  1. Savor repeat viewings. How many times have you watched your favorite movie? It can be difficult to absorb everything all at once. As you mature through different stages of your life, your reactions may change as well.
  2. Pay attention to your physical reactions. Our bodies sometimes provide clues to our deepest thoughts. While viewing a movie, observe when you’re becoming tense or relaxed. Notice what makes you smile or frown.
  3. Take note of what you like and dislike. Examining our acceptance or resistance to certain characters, scenes, or themes can help us to understand ourselves better. Perhaps you cringe at a story that brings back unpleasant memories of summer camp. You also may be drawn to an actor or character who reminds you of someone you know.
  4. Create a journal. Put your thoughts down in writing during or after viewing a movie. It will help you track plot developments and make personal connections to the movie. Having notes that you can consult later will also enable you to revisit topics that you want more time to ponder.
  5. Develop an action plan. Turn all these great lessons from the movie reels into constructive changes in your real life. Set specific written goals for various aspects of your life.


Sharing Movies

  1. Open up with your partner. It can take a lot of courage to face the most sensitive issues in a romantic relationship. Movies are one way to break the ice and tackle difficult topics.
  2. Gather the family around. Our families have a profound impact on our lives. Watch films together and encourage everyone to participate in an insightful discussion about the movie.
  3. Learn from others. It can be very revealing to see how different people interpret the same movie. If you go to a movie with friends, reflect on it afterwards over coffee or dinner. Join a movie club or begin viewing a wider range of films to discuss with your friends.
  4. Follow your therapists’ recommendations. If you’re already in counseling or dealing with serious issues, talk with your therapist. They can advise you about whether movie therapy is appropriate for you and how to integrate it into an appropriate treatment plan.

Get more out of the hours you spend watching movies. Focus on films that teach you surprising new things about yourself and strengthen your coping skills. Movie therapy is an effective way to make personal development more fun.