Lisa Marie Cannon on the Therapeutic Effects of Watching Films

Whenever I feel stressed, angry, sad, or depressed, my go-to therapy is watching movies. There’s something about watching films that changes my mood and lifts my spirits. By the way, this is Lisa Marie Cannon, and I am a movie buff. I began to frequent the cinemas way back in high school; that time in my life when I experienced a lot of things for the first time, not least of which was my first heartache.

Movie: sex, love, and therapy

I turned to films in my teenage years to escape; to release emotions, and of course, to experience a bit of fun and entertainment. Little did I know that there was such a thing called film therapy. Mental health practitioners have been prescribing film therapy to their patients for years. I was aware of art therapy but I wasn’t really aware of film therapy until I got to college to study pre-med. In one of my researches for my psychology course, I chanced upon an article that talked about this type of therapy. And it was a lightbulb moment for me. I finally came to realize that watching films was my form of therapy.

Watching films have different effects on different people, and this is in large part dependent on the types of films that we watch. For me, romantic films gave me hope. They made me believe that there’s someone out there for me. And these feelings helped me deal with breakups and move on. For a time, I devoured romantic films but I was picky about what I watched. I stayed away from films that ended in heartbreak, whether through a breakup or the death of a beloved spouse or partner. I also made a conscious effort to watch movies that have a positive theme; nothing violent or tragic. And I stayed away from horror films; I still do!

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When I feel overwhelmed with school work, I go out and watch animated films, mostly Disney and Pixar movies. These films are usually light, fun, entertaining, and easy to watch and I often leave the cinema feeling just a bit more positive and upbeat.

And since I have a corgi pup, I stay away from animal-themed movies where a beloved pet dies, gets lost, or subjected to abuse and cruelty. I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone hurting my baby! I watched Hachiko several years ago and it was the most heartbreaking movie I’ve ever seen! I left the cinema feeling depressed, and I cried about it for weeks! That movie probably traumatized me, which is why I stay away from depressing films!

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