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Last modified: 18 March, 2009

What is Therapeutic Cinema?

Often, when people are wrestling with personal difficulties or problems, they look around for answers or clues that will help them move on. Most of us have learned that there is always something to be gained by witnessing others or by attempting to see troubling situations from different points of view. Certain movies often provide these experiences. Therapeutic Cinema is a guide to some of these films.

Why can films offer these experiences? Cinema more than any other art form has a way of drawing viewers into a situation that, for a moment, makes them a witness and sometimes an emotional participant to what is happening on the screen.

Movies can take us to places we would never go and quite possibly should never go in real life.  Although, by going to these places vicariously though film, we are able to have experiences, if reflected upon, that can help us see ourselves and our problems more clearly. This is why certain movies have the potential to be an agent of beneficial change.


WHAT MAKES A MOVIE A GOOD MOVIE?

A good film does more than entertain. It promotes a reaction. A really good movie causes viewers to have an experience that will lead them to think and to feel about themselves and about the world and, in the process, grow.

The films that have been chosen for this site have qualities that promote an examination of one or more important issues. Point and click the topic options listed or one of the Feature Presentation film strips. While some of these films are uplifting, feel good movies, many are more serious, some even discomfiting.

THERAPEUTIC CINEMA IS NOT PSYCHOTHERAPY

It is important to remember that Therapeutic Cinema is not a substitute for psychotherapy or counseling. People who are deeply troubled or have psychological symptoms need professional help. Movies such as those recommended here are often good to view when one is getting help but it is important that you discuss the films suggested with your therapist or counselor first.



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These movies have become classics in large part because they each reveal something important about what it is to be human.

 

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