Directed Film Therapy

Based on the book by Sergey Krasin
«Introduction to Directed Film Therapy» С. 30-33

Directed film therapy is a system of methods that contribute to the client’s spiritual and mental healing and help acquire the necessary knowledge and skills in the course of work with reactions received before, during and after watching movies, cartoons, shows, clips and any other audiovisual series.

When the viewer usually watches a film, he perceives only those images which the director and the actors try to convey from the screen. Methods of directed film therapy, on the contrary, create conditions in which the client gets to know himself through the images of the film. In the holistic space of therapy, the movie with a certain plot and acting doesn’t exist separately for some time. The client stops being just a viewer, with his requests, desires and dreams. During the therapy, the psychic, spiritual, emotional and mental realities of the viewer and the film are combined into a single, healing reality, in which the client discovers his unconscious inner world. This is the reality in which the person receives important answers, experiences unprocessed emotions, establishes contact with himself or with one of his subpersonalities and understands his potential. The therapist is present in this reality as an observer and a guide.

The therapist’s task is to create a therapeutic space which will make the patient healthier using the methods of directed film therapy.

The training of a film therapist includes:

  • understanding the specific impact of cinema on the viewer;
  • knowing the peculiarities of film perception;
  • understanding the principles of conducting film therapy;
  • developing the ability to organize a therapeutic space with a clear understanding of one’s role as a therapist in each session and at each stage of therapy;
  • acquiring the skills of using strategies, methods, techniques and other algorithms of directed film therapy.

What does the name of the method mean?

Why do we use the term “film therapy”, and not “cinema therapy”?

The terms “film therapy” and “cinema therapy” are usually considered as synonyms. But if we talk about the concepts of “cinema” and “film”, then the second one expresses the essence of directed film therapy much more accurately. The concept of “film” is broader than the concept of “cinema”. Every cinema is a movie, but not every movie is a cinema.

There are movies, cartoons, and amateurvideos. There are clips and shows, hat can also be considered as a film with their own characteristics. In directed film therapy we work with all kinds of movies, cartoons, clips, shows, commercials and amateur videos. This is reflected in the name “film therapy”.

What does the term “directed” mean?

A director is one of the main jobs in cinematography. This person directs the process of making a film and is responsible for the artistic, acting and stage components. Thanks to his guidance, the certain tone for the film is set and the images get the meaning. The viewer interacts with this energy when he watches a film. However, the process of film therapy is not just watching a movie. This is the space in which a person meets himself. The film therapist’s task is to create conditions in which this meeting will have a therapeutic effect. We use the term “to stage therapeutic space” to describe this process. The viewing and subsequent work based on the images from the film is done according to special algorithms which are called director’s techniques.

There are four areas of directed film therapy:

  1. Therapy by methods of directed film therapy.
  2. Counselling by methods of directed film therapy.
  3. Directed film training.
  4. Directed film coaching.

Each direction has its own goals, objectives, ways and mechanisms of work, as well as opportunities and limitations. The therapist must be proficient in all four areas of directed film therapy and be able to determine the most effective way of work on a case-by-case basis.

S. Krasin. Introduction to Directed Film Therapy. pp. 30-33

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