What makes a film qualified for cinema therapy?

Cinema therapy is a form of self-help, where films just as any other art forms are used for treating health issues, especially mental health issues. There have been several categories of films established for the purpose of therapy. However, what kind of performance or storyline could have a certain effect on an individual is a very personal and subjective matter. Film suggestions are often useful but in cases when they are picked for public viewings like in hospitals or schools, what qualifications are recommendable?

  • Interesting topic, however, I really think this can only be tackled effectively by someone who has been trained in this field, or at least has done extensive research in it. I don't think it's the place of anyone without those credentials to attempt to analyse or speculate how certain films are chosen, especially when there are bona fide professionals who truly understand the complexity of it. Just my two cents. – ProtoCanon 5 years ago
  • So you don't think you have any say in what touches you emotionally or helps you overcome life struggles. I think the problem here is we tend to think of therapy as exclusively for someone with problems, to be fixed or saved. If we think of it as an education for the heart, the feelings and emotions, it should be for everyone. It's also very questionable what those credentials can say about a person. And it is the rather irresponsible attitude to leave things to experts or scientists to decide that has increasingly put great diversity into boxes of cliche. For sure it'd be absurd to talk about something without knowing anything about it, but as human beings that have the experience of how cinema, basically watching life stories of others, has influence over the mind and heart, I believe our insights are valid, if not precious. – rubynvm 5 years ago
  • Well, if that's what you mean by "Cinema Therapy," then I believe we may be talking about two very different things, considering that the term is typically used to denote a legitimate profession that has been designed to treat specific psychological illnesses. Sure, I can watch City Lights after a bad day if I want to lift my spirits, since I know that that's a movie that touches me personally on an emotional level, but it would not necessarily be wise for me to recommend it to (for example's sake) a friend who were contemplating suicide as a remedy for their melancholy. I realize this example perhaps falls into the ideology of "thinking of therapy as exclusively for someone with problems," but ignoring the severity of those problems in favour of self-diagnosis as an appeal to an inner-humanity is not a valid solution. Quite frankly, I find your mistrust of experts a little disconcerting; we might just have to agree to disagree. – ProtoCanon 5 years ago
  • Super interesting topic with a lot of potential, but this is a sensitive topic that needs to be addressed by professionals, particularly art therapists and behavioral health counselors. There could be detrimental and severe consequences, legal and otherwise, if, say a library of "cinema therapy" was created and it failed to fulfill its role as therapeutic. This may not be something that can be tackled for a group, but rather individually. Film is far too personal to be able to say that such and such film is super therapeutic for this disorder or that. Subjective and objective context would be vital to the process. – mazzamura 5 years ago
  • As somebody who used films to combat depression, loneliness and hopelessness, I personally am looking forward to reading other people's opinions on this topic. While I personally have addressed this issue in great detail on my blog, those articles will thus be invalid for the Artifice. – Vishnu Unnithan 5 years ago

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