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Cinematherapy Helps Cut Through Film

Picturing movie characters is easier than revealing ourselves

Do you have issues? If so, it might be time to go to the movies.

Some mental health experts say that watching a movie can sometimes help you see yourself, your family and your friends the way you all really are, according to an article in the Detroit Free Press.

If you are stuck in a bad relationship, the article says, you should watch "Fool for Love." If your family makes you crazy, check out "Home for the Holidays." If you are the envious type, try "Inventing the Abbotts."

Several books have been written on the subject of movies as therapy, including "Reel Therapy: How Movies Inspire You to Overcome Life's Problems," by Gary Solomon, and "Rent Two Movies and Let's Talk in the Morning," by John Hesley. Another book, "Cinematherapy: The Girl's Guide to Movies for Every Mood," by Nancy Peske and Beverly West, takes a more lighthearted approach.

Although the approach may seem unusual, it is similar to a form of therapy that has been used for decades. In the 1930s, William Menninger used fiction-reading assignments to help his patients better understand their problems. Since then, it has become accepted practice for therapists to use books, short stories and even poetry in their work. The use of movies adds a visual approach. Therapists say it can help patients who tend to make the same mistakes repeatedly. They also say couples sometimes feel more comfortable talking about their problems by discussing movie characters, rather than themselves.

So now you've heard about movie therapy. Have you ever heard of music therapy? To find out more, you can read this from the American Music Therapy Association. And then there is art therapy. To find out more about that, you can read this article from The Dallas Morning News, reprinted on the American Art Therapy Association Web site.

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