Ulus, Fuat(2003) explained that the use of movies as a tool in traditional therapy, diagnostic assistance in counselor training, and classroom guidance/small group counseling in schools has increased in popularity. Watching a movie or a scene unfold is a participatory procedure for a client. The client is, at some level, emotionally, physically, and cognitively involved in what is being viewed and heard (Tyson, Foster, and Jones, 2000).
According to Peske, Nancy and Beverly West (1999), an ingenious and exciting therapeutic intervention, cinematherapy utilizes movies and film as creative tools to promote self-exploration and guidance. Prescribed by a trained professional, clients are recommended a film to view, which metaphorically depicts their own personal struggle with growth and development. This sudden interest in the use of film in therapy, school counseling, and counselor education has sincere ramifications. As with any new theory, qualitative and quantitative research is lacking in the field.
Tyson, Foster, and Jones, (2000) said that several see film as an unscientific tool with little research to account for its therapeutic value, believing it to be too simplistic. On the other hand there is little debate relative to the increasing interest in using film to develop therapy with clients, to promote discussion in school counseling classroom guidance and small group counseling, and in counselor education to identify issues concerning to diagnosis, ethics, and fallacies in counseling relationships.
Provided with guidelines on How to View a Film Therapeutically, clients become observers of their own story, and view their experience from a higher plane (meta-analysis), as though they are looking down on themselves, which theoretically fosters greater insight and new perspectives on how to overcome the obstacles preventing true happiness. Many use cinematherapy as homework, while others prefer guided viewing for the opportunity to process the experience in-vivo, or at the moment clients view the movie.
Several professionals enjoy dividing a movie into three succinct parts to be reviewed over several weeks, while others report only showing significant clips to their clients. On the other hand you decide to apply cinematherapy, the power of the intervention remains constant, when used properly. A wonderful aspect of cinematherapy is the room for variation, such as utilizing films in group counseling.
Some therapists have documented using one movie over an eight-week period, by breaking the film into smaller segments for optimal gain. In addition, some counselors have noted using only a specific scene in a film during a session, since it was that specific scene that contained the most powerful properties for the client. Again, the great thing regarding this intervention is its room for variation, but you must decide what works best for you and your clientele.
One aspect of most movies is that they serve as allegories, in much the same way as do stories, jokes, fables, myths, or dreams which can all be utilized in therapy. The cognitive effect of cinema therapy can be explained through recent theories of learning and creativity, which suggest that we have seven intelligences. The more of these intelligences we access, the faster we learn because they employ different methods of information processing.
Watching movies can engage all seven of them: the logical (plot), the linguistic (dialogs), the visual-spatial (pictures, colors, symbols), the musical (sounds and music), the interpersonal (storytelling), the kinesthetic (moving), and the intra-psychic (inner guidance). Cinematherapists agree that not all films are suitable for therapeutic intervention, and essentially therapeutic change. The goal of guided viewing is to promote insight, not discouragement. Consequently, it is imperative to first understand the proper guidelines when choosing and prescribing a movie, before attempting to give the approach.