A movie delivers more than just entertainment value … it can also be powerful cinema therapy. This is according to Gary Solomon, MPH, MSW, Ph.D., a psychotherapist who has been successfully prescribing movies to his patients for the movies’ therapeutic value.
Cinema therapy, a term that Dr. Solomon coined, is a relatively new therapeutic technique that helps people work through their life issues by watching movies.
It is often used as a tool for emotional catharsis and as a starting point for problem resolution and self-reflection. It is now being utilized by many psychotherapists and counselors because movie-watching helps their patients develop insight and coping strategies, as well as understand their life more accurately.
Dr. Solomon, a Portland mental health therapist, also called the “Movie Doctor,” was the first to write on the topic of using movies as therapy. He states that if you watch just one movie a week (from among a list of movies deemed to have therapeutic value) for the next 2 years, you’ll experience personal growth and recovery.
He further states, “One of the reasons it’s true that movies make powerful healing stories is because what happens to the characters in the movies can and often does happen to each of us in real life. Movies are a true example of how art imitates life.”
All you have to do to experience the power of cinema therapy is to identify those movies that apply to your individual life problem or those that will help you heal, self-nurture and grow.
If you wanted to heal from grief, for instance, watching Ordinary People might just be the prescription for you. If you’re going through divorce, War of the Roses or The Way We Were may be the ticket.
Dr. Solomon’s book, The Motion Picture Prescription, provides the reader with a list of 200 movies that help heal life’s problems such as the loss of a loved one… money troubles… substance abuse… parenting issues… physical abuse… and virtually any human dilemma.