Cinema Therapy

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Can movies be useful in helping teens learn life lessons?

Cinema Therapy

Since AD/HD youth are so visual and creative, learning about social interactions, cliques, and peer pressure from films on these very topics can be
very helpful. It helps them identify with others facing similar social and academic challenges. Teachers and instructors frequently use film to teach about diverse topics such as the psychology of sports, medical ethics, law, and human interest stories. Film has a way of depicting subtle and not so subtle information that shows us the nature of real people when they interact in particular situations. There are many positive lessons to gain by choosing films that depict situations of interest to your teenager.

"Napoleon Dynamite" is a good example of a film that gives the movie goer a close-up glimpse of the dynamic tension often found in their own high school when it comes down to cliques, clubs, and student elections.

"Election" is a more detailed movie of how being a part of clubs and the student body president and the overall drive to excel in every subject can motivate a certain kind of student. Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick shine in this film.

One good place to look for movies categorized by theme, say, sports movies is called "SPMD," which stand for Sports Psychology Movie Database. Another good source for finding material is's "Movie's for Psychology Majors." There are many different kinds of movies available, and you may feel that some of them may not be appropriate for your teen. By all means use your own discernment in guiding your selection. NMT Psychology Club has a site listing movies with psychological themes. A quick search of "movies with psychological themes" will bring up numerous sites.

Check the public library. Many of the larger ones are a rich source of classic films with psychological themes, as well as the books the movies were based upon. They can also borrow these materials from the Interloan Library System.



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