Friday, July 18, 2008

Movie Therapy

Good movies affect our emotions. Remember the last movie that brought a smile or deep belly laughter? Can you think of movies that lift your spirits or move you to tears? Why not use movie-watching to help along your healing process?

When you need to cry but just can't, rent a tear-jerker.

When you need to lighten up and put hard emotional work on the shelf for an evening, try comedy. Try G and PG movies--family movies and old Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Lucille Ball, or Jerry Lewis movies. Honor your sense of humor. Don't force slapstick humor on yourself if intellectual humor is more your style. If you always thought it was more acceptable to enjoy verbal-jousting humor but you truly enjoy silly humor best--liberate your silly streak. If you are down but know you won't be able to laugh yet, try a movie that has a good-feeling ending (movies where characters overcome some obstacle).

For current movies, take the time to read movie reviews and ratings to maximize your chances of reaching your emotional goal. Ask God to help you to find the right movie. Remember, laughter is very healing--if the reason for laughing does not feel "wrong."

If you have suffered sexual abuse, I urge you to stay away from sexual humor and R or X ratings. Your goal is to help yourself relax and laugh, not to trigger gross feelings, bad memories, flashbacks, or PTSD panic (post traumatic stress disorder). If you were verbally abused, I would recommend staying away from humor that is based on cussing or making fun of others. If you are a Satanic ritual abuse survivor, then I would recommend staying away from any movie that includes sex, supernatural powers, or a demonic being. If you were abused by an alcoholic, then "drinking party" humor probably will not be humorous for you. Respect yourself and your past as you watch movies. If you pick a movie that you thought would be fine and it has content that is unexpected and upsetting--give yourself permission to walk out of the theater or turn off the vcr/dvd and then journal or talk to a friend about what upset you. After you are feeling better, you can watch a movie you have seen before and know is helpful.

Give it a try. Watching a good movie is a great tool to add to your healing toolbox.

Here are some movies that consistently move my emotions (just remember that your taste might be quite different than mine):
Sad: Steel Magnolias, Old Yeller, The Long Walk Home, We are Marshall
Funny: Princess Diaries, The Inspector's General (with Danny Kaye), Sahara, Singing in the Rain, Hitch, The Court Jester, Sister Act, RV, Short Circuit, While You Were Sleeping
Good-feeling/inspiring: The Rescuers, Cool Runnings, Pride, Freedom Writers (also sad parts and people overcoming abuse), Heidi, Sound of Music, Radio, The Cutting Edge, The Mighty Ducks, Miracle, Hoosiers, Last Holiday
Sad moments and funny moments, ends happily: Galaxy Quest, Kate and Leopold, The Bells of St. Marys, It's a Wonderful Life, No Reservations, The Pursuit of Happiness, You've Got Mail, Groundhog Day, Three Musketeers (Disney)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Heya i'm for the first time here. I came across this board and I to find It really helpful & it helped me out a lot. I'm hoping to provide something back
and help others such as you helped me.
My website > Phone Therapy

Recommended Books

  • 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing
  • A Way of Hope by Leslie J. Barner
  • Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them by Paul Hegstrom
  • Battered But Not Broken by Patricia Riddle Gaddis
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Bradshaw on the Family by John Bradshaw
  • Caring Enough to Forgive/Not Forgive by David Augsburger
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
  • Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
  • Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden
  • Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Slay Your Own Dragons by Nancy Good
  • The Cinderella Syndrome by Lee Ezell
  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
  • The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
  • Turning Fear to Hope by Holly Wagner Green
  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft