CINEMA Therapy ... What is it?

by: Jomel Bajar, PT, DPT, MS

If year 2020 would be a movie genre, I will classify it as a thriller. Thriller movies are suspenseful movies known to put people on the edge of their seats. In this movie that we are living in, we are the protagonists, and fighting against us is the great COVID-19 pandemic. We are still in the middle of this thriller movie, so we still do not know how this movie will end. But so far, we are in a gray area between the climax and the falling action because people have different opinions about the state of the pandemic. This confusion about the state of the pandemic is one of the causes of our stress and anxiety. As of today, there are now 5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide. Many individuals still worry and gets stressed when they learn that COVID cases still going north. Often, when we worry, we feel that problems and frustrations do not seem to end. Experts says to change the channel, listen to your inner voice and time to de-stress. One of the best ways that people do to de-stress is watch movies. Watching movies are entertaining and they are also a great bonding experience for the family. They are accessible and come in different varieties. It’s ability to keep people entertained and feel relieved explains why a lot of people choose to make this a favorite pastime during quarantine.

In the field of psychotherapy, psychologists have what they call “Cinema therapy” or movie therapy where they use movies, television shows and videos as a therapeutic tool in individual or group therapy. Cinema therapy, which was first coined by Linda Berg-Cross PhD, Pamela Jennings PhD and Rhoda Baruch EdD, has been around for four decades. But because of the lack of conversation around cinema therapy, it is easy to think that this form of therapy is relatively new. Today, a growing number of mental health professionals have been using cinematherapy in their practice. O