Why Cinema Therapy is So Effective

Why Cinema Therapy is So Effective

Cinema Therapy, whether self-guided or with a coach or counselor, can appreciably speed your results and make them more lasting. But why and how is this, exactly?

Greed Growth is Good

And as Morpheus told Neo, “There’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.”

Knowing the path requires:

  • A destination, at least on a basic level (what do I want to change or achieve?);
  • The objectives and challenges to be met (what factual events or circumstances drive my desire for this change or achievement, and what might be in my way?);
  • An awareness of the various options for getting there (can I pursue it on my own given the proper tools, or do I need outside support – and if so, what kind?).

These are essentially knowable facts. We can point to them in the world, know their features and the resources they require. We can enter them into our planner and paste them on our vision board. They are things and conditions that we desire and pursue.

But walking is different.

Walking the path requires:

  • A sense of self (who am I to think I can have this?);
  • A certain level of courage and self-confidence (can I even do this – and what happens if it makes the people I care about unhappy or angry?);
  • And most importantly, an unshakable resolve that whatever happens, it can be handled (what about the unexpected – what if I fail – what if I succeed?).

The ability to walk springs from the inside; it cannot be pointed to, planned, or pasted on a board (well, until now, but we’ll get to that in just a sec!). Walking requires being willing to move from one’s spot, to leave something behind and travel to a new place, be it physically, financially, spiritually, in our career, or in our relationships.

So often we hear, “It begins with a decision. You have to choose to change.” And to an extent, that’s true. Until we choose to move, we won’t move. We also hear, “You have to want it. You have to fight for it.” And that’s also true, because anything worth doing requires dedication, and sometimes you just have to gut through the tough days.

Why We Get Stuck

Yet “making the decision” and “fighting” don’t always trigger the expected progress, do they?

  • We decide to move, but then never seem to get started.
  • Or we move, but can’t pick up any momentum. Progress is so slow as to feel pointless.
  • Or worst, we reach the destination, but then end up in the same situation that we just walked away from.

What is up with that?!?

Turtles hiding, walking, and tipped over

What’s up is that:

  • Our unconscious mind isn’t on board with our conscious one, and when it fears the direction we’re going, it has the power to jack up our progress;
  • We don’t know how to “fight” – we get that we have to, but don’t know what to do, literally, as in specifically;
  • Everything makes sense when we’re with our practitioner (trainer, coach, mentor, counselor, etc.), but because we lack a wide enough range of experience with the subject at hand, we can’t adapt well enough “in the moment” to achieve the same results on our own (it’s new, which is why we’ve hired a professional, after all!);
  • No matter how gifted they may be, professionals cannot read our mind and know the entirety of the history that drives us; they also may not share our wiring, so a system or method that works for them may not work as well for us, leaving us disappointed with our result (and even wonder what’s wrong with us that we can’t make their system work).
This is where movies come in. Conscious movie watching helps us to overcome the obstacles that make us unconsciously sabotage our own progress, and to fill the gaps in our experience and understanding so we can respond to Life with more ease and power.

Woman walking the path

  • Movies teach us what we don’t know (and may not even know we don’t know!). When we’ve never personally experienced something, no book or workshop, however worthy, can convey its nature to our unconscious (it’s why, for example, we torpedo a healthy relationship if we grew up in dysfunction). Our unconscious ferociously rejects the unknown. But when we see it play out across various stories, our unconscious begins to regard it as familiar, and will stop trying to “protect” us from it.
  • By offering common understanding through story and metaphor, movies radically reduce the time necessary to convey our situation, history, and challenges to a professional. If you’ve been around for more than three decades and/or have a complicated or unusual life experience, it can feel extremely difficult to communicate one’s story sufficiently enough to feel heard accurately. By being able to communicate our background, strengths, and challenges more quickly, we can get down to the business of healing and growth much more quickly and greatly increase our return on investment of time, energy, and money.
  • Movies build and strengthen us in all areas, making us adaptable and prepared to face the unexpected (the unconscious mind loves this). So often, the things we desire most deeply don’t translate directly into goals (for example, we can’t say “I will find true, genuine love by the end of the year”). We can set goals for becoming skilled and putting ourselves at the right place at the right time, but movies teach us how to show up energetically so we’re ready to seize the opportunity.
  • Movies expand our understanding of the world around us, supporting us in finding more effective solutions and making better, more informed decisions. This is particularly helpful if our life experience has been economically or geographically limited; if we’ve only ever experienced one way of life, it’s extremely difficult to be able to move from there to a new place (both figuratively and literally). Our unconscious mind simply hasn’t had enough to chew on, and will throw up “protective” roadblocks left and right. Movies give it more context to consider, more things it finds familiar, and so it’s less reactive and more willing to cooperate with our conscious intentions.

Movies don’t tell us what to believe or how to be.

Rather, they offer an infinite array of circumstance and situations that allow our unconscious mind to process what it sees, ponder it over time, and get used to new ideas and possibilities (as in, accomplishing our goals!). 

Cinema Therapy creates the room in which we can grow naturally into the person we want to be, so that we can reach the future we want to have.

At this point, you may be wondering how my approach works »

And if it’s a match for you »


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