Reel Therapy – movies related to counseling

There’s just something about movies, books, and songs that get into our heads and hearts in a better way than talk therapy.

Often I have my clients tell me about their favorite movies because it gives me insight into their worldview. Just the other day a client told me her favorite movie was Farenheit 451. As she described the story  (all the people living in a town where books were banned, memorized parts of a book so it wouldn’t disappear), I told her that the theme was common to all the things she had told me in our earlier sessions. The movie mirrored her fears of being invisible and disappearing.
As soon as I pointed this out, my client burst into tears.

In addition to having clients tell me about their favorite movies, I often suggest movies for them to watch. I ask them to journal about characters that remind them of themselves or their family.

Here are just a few of my favorites movies and their corresponding theme:

  • What’s Eating Gilbert Grape – Boundaries
  • Antwone Fisher – Childhood Abuse
  • Prince of Tides – Violence in family of origin
  • The Mermaid Chair – Women Who Lack a Sense of Self (ego)
  • Mr. Jones – Bipolar disorder
  • Thirteen – Teenage depression
  • Fatal Attraction – Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Lars and the Real Girl – Loss/Fear of intimacy
  • Good Will Hunting – Childhood abuse/Learning to trust
  • Reign on Me – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • The Story of Us – Marriage/Divorce
  • When a Man Loves a Woman – drug and alcohol addiction/codependency

Here are a few more links that list many movie ideas and the theme related to counseling:

http://www.zurinstitute.com/movietherapy.html#phobias

http://www.cinematherapy.com/filmindex.html

I would love to hear movies that touched you and related to a theme you might see in a counselor’s office. 

2 thoughts on “Reel Therapy – movies related to counseling

  1. I like About a Boy. The man (Hugh Grant) has no purpose or direction. The boy needs some stability. Somehow they find what they need with each other.

  2. My all-time favourite movie is The Cure (1995). It is a story about two boys creating a short friendship on a summer. One of the characters would later die. They were supposed to find the cure for that character’s AIDS but, of course, they failed. But emotionally they indeed found the cure for their aching selves.

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