Mental Health

Did you know that watching movies can provide mental health benefits?

movie therapy
Source: 5 very real benefits of watching movies. ABC Everyday. By Grace Jennings-Edquist


Seeing a film with friends remains an important ritual for many of us.

However, movies cannot be the only treatment or cure for your mental health symptoms. If your symptoms interfere with your daily life, a mental health professional could help.


Movie Therapy

If you live with an anxiety disorder or depression or are simply anxious and stressed about work and family commitments, watching a movie could help improve your mood.

A 2016 review found that enjoying leisure activities such as watching movies could boost mood and reduce symptoms of depression. See our partner solution Telly Moods provides a hyper-tailored recommendation service that helps you instantly find films and TV shows on all existing streaming platforms based on real-time mood analysis.

What is Movie Therapy?

Movie Therapy

The term Movie Therapy, also known as Film/Cinematherapy, was first coined by Dr Gary Solomon (aka The Movie Doctor).

Movie Therapy is an evidence-based,  therapeutic modality where a person watches a movie or series of clips and then uses themes and metaphors from the medium to explore mental health challenges with a healthcare professional. Movie Therapy is effective in groups to diminish anxiety in young people (Dumtrache 2013).

Movie Therapy is not an accredited psychotherapy. However, significant research and evidence have been developed, with healthcare professionals worldwide practising the treatment modality as part of mental healthcare plans. A Professional Directory of movie therapists is available at created by Dr. Birgit Wolz.

Movie Therapy can also be self-administered. Talking about a movie with us or friends can be a simple way to create awareness of your mental health and well-being. Movie Therapy is an expressive form of therapy like Music Therapy, that offers self-awareness, transformation, healing and growth through the creative medium of film storytelling.

Movie Therapy is used alongside other therapeutic modalities, e.g. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or Narrative Therapy.


Kathryn Guestre, Movie Health Partner (from KG Creative Therapy) is qualified to talk to you about our approach to Movie Therapy and a guide for selecting movies. Kathryn has studied both Social Work and Film Studies. She has been an avid filmgoer for years, desiring to combine her equal love and passion for the art of film with her enthusiasm for the humanitarian field and spirituality. If you enjoy watching movies and understanding the metaphors behind stories, Movie Therapy might be great for you.

Our Movie Therapy Process

The Movie Therapy process involves three key phases with a healthcare professional (Dermer and Hutchngs 2000):

1. AssessmentUnderstand the projects and objectives and choose a movie.

Supporting Tool: Telly Moods

2. ImplementationUnderstand movie choice and watch the movie.

3. DebriefingDiscuss reactions to the movie and align the learning to the objectives.

The objectives of Movie Therapy can include the following:

  • Working on negative beliefs
  • Building self-esteem
  • Film Characters and how they affect/influence us
  • Discovering the Self Through Characters
  • Growth through the movie experience

Meet and greet is complimentary. We will see if we are well suited and if you want to continue with my services and what I offer. It will be face-to-face or via Zoom and be 1 hour to 1.5 hours max. Therapy sessions will go for ten or more sessions (weekly or fortnightly- whatever you choose), including a reflection and evaluation of the unique process.

Contact Us. Let’s Talk About Movies

Important Notes:

  • Movie Therapy is not appropriate for helping people with serious psychiatric disorders. If you are experiencing this yourself, we recommend seeing a psychotherapist or psychiatrist for support who specialises in it.
  • It is also not suitable for people who are experiencing violence at home. We do not work with people experiencing Domestic and Family Violence and would recommend this site for support and information: Home | 1800RESPECT
  • If you have experienced a recent trauma similar to a movie character, you will most likely not be ready to partake in Movie Therapy, as it can be triggering.

Evidence to Support Movie Therapy

  • Birgit Wolz (2005). E-Motion Picture Magic: A Movie Lover’s Guide To Healing And Transformation.
  • Gary Solomon (1995). The Motion Picture Prescription: Watch this Movie and Call Me in the Morning.
  • Jillian Majella Lynch (2011) The therapeutic potential of using film as an intervention in counselling and psychotherapy [Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of the University of New England].
  • Nancy Peske; Beverly West (2004). Cinematherapy for the Soul
  • Nancy Peske; Beverly West (2000). Advanced Cinematherapy: The Girl’s Guide to Finding Happiness One Movie at a Time.
  • John W. Hesley; Jan G. Hesley (2001). Rent two films and let’s talk in the morning: using popular movies in psychotherapy.
  • Paulette Kouffman Sherman (2020) Cinematherapy:: Solve Your Relationship Issues by Watching Great Movies
  • Marsha Sinetar (1993) Reel Power: Spiritual Growth through Film
  • Mary Banks Gregerson (2010). The Cinematic Mirror for Psychology and Life Coaching.
  • Michael Lee Powell (2008). Cinematherapy as a Clinical Intervention: Theoretical Rationale and Empirical Credibility.
  • ​Fuat Ulus (2003). Movie Therapy, Moving Therapy


  • Dermer, S. B., and Hutchings, J. B. (2000). Utilizing movies in family therapy: applications for individuals, couples, and families. Am. J. Fam. Ther. 28, 163–180.
  • Dumtrache, SD 2014, ‘The Effects of a Cinema-therapy Group on Diminishing Anxiety in Young People’, Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 127, pp. 717–721.