Film Therapy: The Benefits of Watching Movies

Film Therapy: The Benefits of Watching Movies

Last update: 01 March, 2024

It’s clear that film provokes all kinds of emotionsIt can make you laugh, cry, suffer, and even find the strength you need to face your problems. So why not channel all of this into a form of therapy?

What is film therapy?

Developers of psychotherapy have been able to collaborate with all kinds of coaches, colleagues, and film experts to develop a therapy based on TV series and movies by applying their benefits to coaching and psychology. Logically, this is called film therapy.

woman watching a film

However, the benefits of film therapy don’t stop at the mere act of watching a movie. Many different tools have been implemented, such as quotes, comments, posters, visual analysis, etc.

Hodgson and Burquhave focused their therapy on the implementation of coaching and positive psychology to improve the competencies and abilities of people who want to learn about film from a different point of view.

Film as a psychological tool

This therapy uses film as a psychological tool for different purposes. They consider it to be an enormously effective complement to therapy, due to various factors:

  • Intensity: Stories, characters, and scenarios are squeezed into a short amount of time.
  • DurationThe length of a film is equivalent to a long therapy session.
  • Learning: Films are allegorical like stories and fables. You can take advantage of the cognitive effects of watching films to formulate theories about learning, creativity, etc., and to promote the idea of multiple intelligences.
  • Identification: Many of us have felt identified with movie characters. This information can be discussed further in therapy.
  • AttentionThe visual impact of film promotes concentration on the images.
  • Social features: Watching and talking about a film with other people multiplies its value and serves as an integrative tool in therapy.

Benefits of film therapy

The creators of film therapy say that these techniques offer many palpable benefits for people who undergo this unique therapy. Here are a few of these benefits:

  • Watching a movie can be revitalizing. It allows you to disconnect, relax, and have a good time.
  • Film therapy uses scenes or entire movies to help people face fears. It helps them become aware of their fears so that they can work on overcoming them.
  • It allows you to focus on your problems. The content of many movies can make you aware of your own problems through identification and empathy.
  • Film also has a cathartic function. When you watch a movie, you can experience passion without suffering the real side effects.
  • It helps with relaxation. Because watching a film redirects attention towards an activity, it’s an excellent way to decrease anxiety.
  • It drives motivation. When you watch a movie, you can find characters who help you find energy in your real life.

  • Entertainment. Film also creates laughter and happiness. And there’s no doubt that it has immense influence over both mental and physical health.
  • Shedding cathartic tears. Sad and distressing movies can also help your emotions surface from deep inside you.
  • Rethinking your negative thoughts. Through movies, you can find new perspectives that will help you reflect on and change your attitude.
  • Development of creativity. There’s no doubt that the different perspectives you see in movies can change your mental schemas and push you to be more creative, flexible, and innovative.
  • Improves personal relationships. Watching and commenting on a movie with friends and family has a huge social and emotional value.

” I never go to movies where the hero’s bust is bigger than the heroine’s.”

-Groucho Marx-

  • It’s a reflective art. Movies make us reflect on existential, spiritual, and even royal questions.
  • It helps to deal with loss. Heartbreak and loss can be softened by movies that help you through these periods.
  • Film elevates, moves, inspires, and amazes. Thanks to the Seventh Art, you can become a better person.
  • It improves your strengths. The qualities of different characters can inspire you to improve your strengths.

“The fascinating thing about film is putting the spectator in moral positions that they’ve never been.”

-Alex de la Iglesia-

You can be sure that film is much more than a simple art. Film therapy has elevated movies to the category of highly useful psychological tools. There’s no doubt that they can make us happier and more complete if we let them.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.