Cinema Therapy and Positive Psychology

Cinema Therapy can play a dominant role (and also supportive) in therapy and of course in the coaching practice as well. Positive Psychology, when embedded into cinema therapy, can bring out solutions in much broader perspective, where movies become catalyst for invoking positive emotions, visualizations of an ideal life or even furthering the values of resilience, hope, spirituality, compassion etc.

Through Cinema therapy, we can use the effect of imagery, plot, music, characters etc. in films on our psychological state for insight, inspiration, emotional release or relief and achievement orientation.
The scene from the movie "Notting Hill" displayed at the beginning of this post can instill the values of love, compassion, kindness, perseverance etc. My favorite is of course from the Pursuit of Happyness, as below which inspires me when I have a challenging goal to pursue and the look of happiness on the face of the protagonist is what defines the movie

There is a tremendous opportunity to use cinema therapy, especially in India where we have a repository of movies which can invoke positive emotions and inspire people who are looking for a short term or a long term solutions for their issues, whether they are work, life or behavior change related

Zur Institute, an accredited online provider offers a Certificate in Cinema Therapy and it covers the following:

  1. Cinema Therapy - 4 CE Credits
  2. Positive Psychology and the Movies - 5 CE Credits
  3. Cinema Therapy with Children and Adolescents - 5 CE Credits
  4. Cinema Therapy Interview (MP3) with Dr. Wolz
  5. Listing of therapeutic themes and relevant movies 

If you are a therapist or a coach, this program may be relevant to you and would surely ad value. It is priced at $98 but if you apply the discount code IIPP88 on checkout, you would get a discount of 10%. Click here to enroll in the program

  1. Berg-Cross, L., Jennings, P., & Baruch, R. (1990). Cinematherapy: Theory and application. Psychotherapy in Private Practice, 8, 135–156.
  2. Corr, K. (2008). Movie therapy: Do you believe in the healing power of film? The Telegraph. Retrieved from 
  3. Fleming, M., & Bohnel, E. Use of feature film as part of psychological assessment. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 40, 641-647. 
  4. Hesley, J. W., & Hesley, J. G. (1998). Rent two films and let’s talk in the morning: Using popular movies in psychotherapy. New York: Wiley.
  5. Lampropoulos, G. K., Kazantzis, N., & Deane, F. (2004). Psychologists’ use of motion pictures in clinical practice. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 35, 535–541.
  6. Rapini, M.J. (2015). Can movie therapy save your marriage? Retrieved from


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