Can watching movies help us with personal growth?
Why yes, yes it can!
Have you ever watched a movie and learned something to help you in a current situation in life? Or perhaps you learned how to deal with conflict, rejection and betrayal (or how NOT to!). Maybe you learned something about yourself in how you reacted to scenarios portrayed on screen, or learned ways to be more at peace.
Movie therapy is something I’ve practiced for a while, even without knowing what it really was!
I recall many times I’ve been full of motivation, inspiration, emotion, and insight after watching a movie. Many a movies have caused me to reflect on my own life experiences.
What Is Movie Therapy?
“Cinema therapy is the process of using movies made for the big screen or television for therapeutic purposes,” says Gary Solomon, author of The Motion Picture Prescription and Reel Therapy.
Movie therapy is a transformational method that uses movies as a tool to help people work through issues in their lives. It has gained popularity in the counseling and psychology fields, usually used alongside conventional practices, as an approach that contributes positively to one’s personal growth.
Now that you recognize that movie therapy is a real thing and that movies aren’t just to entertain us, you can use this practice to help change the way you think, feel, and ultimately deal more effectively with life’s ups and downs.
How Movie Therapy Can Improve Your Personal Excellence
Try these ideas for choosing, watching, and sharing films that contribute to your personal growth.
- Work out personal issues. Look for movies that connect with your current concerns. Do a quick Google search to find all types of movie topics, from high school cliques and peer pressure to becoming a parent.
- Have a good cry. To make progress, you sometimes need 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 could help you move on.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
So watching TV can be very therapeutic. Who knew! 🙂
Get more out of the hours you spend watching movies by focusing on those 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.
Over to you…
Need an emotional release? Maybe a good cry? Want to learn how to deal better with life? Well, fire up the DVD player and pop in a movie that can ultimately help you achieve your goal!
Do you use movie therapy? How has it helped you cope with life?