Film and Soul: A Theoretical Exploration of the Use of Video and Other Film-based Therapy to Help Transform Identity in Therapeutic Practice

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Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2012 - Arts - 300 pages
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This theoretical study presents an analysis of data collected from a survey and interviews with experts in video/film-based therapy, an emerging form of expressive art therapy that has not been peer reviewed. Because little research has been conducted on film-based therapy, the intention was to articulate the theoretical foundation of video/film-based therapy by discussing and comparing techniques used by various therapists in the field. Pursuing an understanding of how the theory and practice of video therapy can best be understood, the study explored and expanded on existing art therapies, film studies, and other methods of making meaning from film in a psychological context. Due to the lack of research on film-based therapy, the literature review draws on existing researched art therapies including painting, drawing, photography, poetry, dramatherapy, and journaling. Each participant in the study was invited to take a survey using a free online questionnaire and survey software. The data from the completed surveys and interviews is reported and analyzed. The writer created a dialogue between the results of the analysis of the survey and the material generated in the literature review. Themes that emerged from the research point toward using video/film-based therapy to help adolescents at risk, prisoners and emotionally disturbed children, and to treat trauma, mood disorders, and relationship problems. The writer also engaged the results of this dialogue with his own experience in video therapy and offers a commentary on that basis. The major themes related to the process of making a film as being therapeutic and influencing identity change by allowing the client/patient to self-identify as an artist. This finding relates to depth psychology, Jungian theory, and particularly James Hillman's (1983) concept of case history versus soul history. In the process of filmmaking, the therapists surveyed are, in fact, creating soul, according to Hillman's theory. This process seems to cause a transformation in identity in the client necessary for therapeutic change and tends to reduce resistance, according to the respondents.

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