Cinema Therapy

Cinema Therapy.  You know you’ve binged watched movies on Netflix for hours at a time or even throughout an entire weekend for some “down time.”  I know I have and sometimes I feel guilty about it.  In Cinema Therapy, clients learn to watch movies consciously and reflectively so as to pay attention to the story and to themselves.  Cinema Therapy is also known as Reel Therapy or Movie Therapy and have been used as an adjunct tool to psychotherapy and counseling.  Movies are quite therapeutic and helpful by themselves as often times people can relate to the characters managing the challenges of life.  Clients learn to understand themselves and others more objectively in the big picture (movie) of their own lives.

As a Marriage Counselor, I recommend movies, in particular specific scenes, from time to time to elicit deep feelings and reflection to assist in whatever challenge is being managed.  With sound, images, dialogue, lighting and special effects movies can help people understand their own lives, the lives of those around them and how society and culture operate.  Cinema therapy can shed light on political and spiritual matters and can provide catharsis (the process of releasing providing relief from strong or repressed emotions) and perspective in the ways that add a new way of thinking, feeling and pursuing their lives.

Here is a list of movie suggestions I utilize in my private practice:

Relationships & Love

  • Hope Springs
  • Before Midnight
  • Blue Valentine
  • The Descendants
  • The Good Mother
  • Joy Luck Club
  • The Kids Are Alright
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Parenthood
  • Sideways
  • Two Family House
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • War of the Roses
  • Couples Retreat”
  • Terms of Endearment
  • When a Man Loves a Woman
  • Two for the Road
  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Yours, Mine and Ours


  • The Accountant
  • Forrest Gump
  • I am Sam
  • Mozart & The Whale
  • Being There
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
  • Rain Man


  • Safe
  • The Headless Woman
  • As Good As It Gets
  • Sophie’s Choice
  • Zelig

Authentic Self

  • Lady Bird
  • My Life
  • Nell
  • Harold and Maude


  • Mr. Jones
  • The Ghost and The Whale
  • Repentance


  • About Schmidt
  • Blue Sky
  • Frida
  • The Hours
  • Cake
  • Ordinary People
  • World’s Greatest Dad

Cinema Therapy is a great way to practice self-compassion by giving yourself what you need. So the next time you want to shift your mood, feel inspired or gain insight, hit Netflix and give Cinema Therapy a try.

For more information please contact me at (858) 735-1139.

Share and Enjoy !