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'No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our ... Bruce Springsteen The Rising. Shirts in the closet, shoes in the hall ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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  • No form of art goes beyond ordinary
    consciousness as film does, straight to our
    emotions, deep into the twilight room of our
    soul. Ingemar Bergman
  • Coming to terms with our losses is perhaps the
    single greatest challenge we face as human
    beings. Thelma Duffey

  • The horror of life and the horror of death, if
    you grieve and you grieve vicariously helps you
    with your own grief.
  • VADIM PERELMAN Director/Screenwriter House of
    Sand and Fog

Impact of Movies
  • What films have helped you process grief?
  • What films have helped you regain lost hope?
  • What movies stimulated self-awareness or helped
    you feel what you were feeling here and now
    anger, fear, hopelessness, sadness etc.?
  • What films have you used in your practice?

  • A therapeutic intervention using scenes or entire
    movies to assist clients in their healing/growing
  • Compare to bibliotherapy
  • Effectiveness anecdotal to date, no formal
    research completed

Viewing for Fun
  • Plot
  • Action
  • Outcome
  • Movie Stars
  • Mechanics of Movie
  • Focus off Self
  • Fritz Perls-Dummy Reflex

  • Characters
  • Relationships
  • Process
  • Insight
  • Focus on self

Why Movies?
  • Goes beneath defenses, narrow logical self
    (similar to drawing)
  • Provides fodder for creative solutions
  • Reminds us of what we know
  • Helps us stretch and change (Future Pull)
  • Models traits we have or havent nurtured
  • (i.e. Atticus Finch)
  • Offers stories of resilience
  • Stimulates emotional release

Why Movies?
  • Reframes problems
  • Helps prioritize values
  • Offers hope and encouragement
  • Jump starts the story telling process
  • Illustrates a variety of grief responses
  • Helps people understand their grief issues
  • Daniel Day Lewis Movies are a celebration of the
    infinite possibilities we all share within us.

Different Uses for CT
  • The Evocative Way
  • Emotional responses to scenes bring issues to
    the conscious level. Clients can then work on
    concerns that they were unaware of or were
    avoiding. Any movie or movie scene that impacts a
    client can be used. Each client brings his/her
    own story to the viewing experience.

Different Uses for CT
  • The Perscriptive Way
  • Clients learn by proxy by observing movie
  • characters. Movies are recommended depending
    on a clients needs.

Different Uses for CT
  • The Cathartic Way
  • According to this approach, clients are assigned
    movies for emotional release. Recent research
    crying is emotional bath laughter is cardiac
    elixir. It is advisable to let client choose
    the movie.

  • I recently had an employee stop by my office
    and share that his wife is dying of cancer. In
    the face of pending death, my business skills
    left little to offer. As much as I wanted, there
    was no quick fix, no solution, no Six Sigma model
    to pursue. I felt ill-equipped.

  • Perhaps what is needed isnt sharing our
    strengthbut our weakness. Not giving remedy and
    solution, but being present to the pain and
    suffering of another. Our natural instinct is to
    find something we can do. What is really needed
    is for us to simply be. It is a humbling stance
    of being present to another persons pain. Our
    gift resides in offering support to someone in
    the face of a harsh reality that isnt going to
    be resolved.

  • It is our personal poverty that makes us truly
    valuable to others. It is our deficiency that
    provides solace in the face of lifes mystery.
    Whats required is an aspect of ourselves that we
    are not used to giving. It is drawn from a
    reserve of weakness, impotence and and an
    acknow-ledgment of our frail human condition. No
    easy answer no ready solution little ability to
    fix and solve. Our only gift is the prospect of
    sharing our frail limitations with another. Oddly
    enough, it often proves to be sufficient.

  • The seer Henri Nouwen offers some counsel when
    managing the unruly mess of mystery
  • When we honestly ask ourselves which people in
    our lives mean the most to us, we often find that
    it is those who, instead of giving advice,
    solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share
    our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and
    tender hand. (continue)

  • The friend who can be silent with us in a moment
    of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in
    an hour of grief and bereavement, who can
    tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing,
    and face with us the reality of our
    powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

When is CT Contraindicated?
  • Ongoing domestic violence--too much risk of
    unpredictable reactions
  • Close proximity to trauma--danger of
    re-traumatizing, use clinical judgment, some may
    feel good about seeing resolution (i.e. a recent
  • Disorganized thinking, trouble distinguishing
    reality from fantasy (i.e. psychosis)

When is CT Contraindicated?
  • Severe depression/Suicidal
  • Client dislikes movies
  • Be careful to warn client about particular scenes
    that may be difficult to watch
  • (i.e. suicide scenes)

Lessons In Loss
  • Weeks have passed and the pain has not subsided.
    Every time I think about it, my heart starts
    racing and I feel like I just got stabbed in the
  • She never stopped movingI have never seen a
    being, human or animal, always so full of joy.
    The dog lived every moment as though it was her
  • Oprah Winfrey on the death of her 2 year old
    golden retriever Gracie. She got the message
    to enjoy life and also to slow down.

  • Grief shared is halved. Joy shared is doubled.
  • Dont hog your journey.

Claim Your Grieving StyleSix Feet
Under/Moonlight Mile
  • During the graveside service the family is
    introduced to the grieving styles of the mom and
    youngest son. One family member is not
    comfortable with the uniqueness of their
    grieving others are able to give them space to
    do what they need to do.
  • In what ways did you see the service meeting the
    needs of the family? How did the service meet
    your needs? What was it like to make the funeral
    arrangements? Are you still receiving intrusive

Social Reactions to GriefSteel Magnolias/The
Accidental Tourist/Moonlight Mile/
  • What reactions do you find familiar, both in
    yourself and/or others?

  • Dont let anyone take your grief away from you.
  • You deserve it and you must have it.
  • If you had a broken leg, no one would
  • criticize you for using crutches until it healed.
  • If you had major surgery, no one would
  • pressure you to run in a marathon next week.
  • Grief is a major wound. It does not heal
  • You must have the time and the crutches until you
  • heal.
  • Doug Manning, Dont Take My Grief Away

The Grief Experience
  • In America/Garden State Numbness
  • Mystic River Sadness, Not Crying
  • In America Letting Go
  • Huff Guilt
  • In America How do you define the loss?
  • Sons Room/Moonlight Mile How can life go on for

  • When a child dies, the survivors are like an
  • open wound. Initially the shock makes them
  • numb. Then they are raw--feel raw and are
  • overly sensitive to the slightest touch. Slowly
  • a scab begins to form. Often it is knocked off--
  • too early--and the bleeding, the rawness
  • return. Finally, the scab falls off and the
  • intensity of the pain, the all-consuming thoughts
  • the injury diminish. The scar is always there and
  • eventually it is not so noticeable. However,
    since that area is
  • still sensitive, sometimes some things make it
    hurt a lot. But
  • usually the scar is mainly just a part of your

  • I dont want to rain on your parade, but Im not
    ready to march in it either.

The Grief Experience
  • Smoke/Station Agent/The Accidental Tourist
    Unpredictability of grief
  • Upside of Anger (Affair)/Truly Madly Deeply
  • Under the Sand/TMD Denial
  • Waking the Dead Feeling Crazy
  • Smoke/Saving Private Ryan Talking About Your
    Loved One

Conflict Between Spouses Over Grieving StylesIn
The Bedroom/Lantana/The Accidental
Tourist/Moonlight Mile
  • This scene emphasizes differences in grieving
    styles. What have you noticed in your own

Youre MissingBruce Springsteen The Rising
  • Shirts in the closet, shoes in the hall
  • Mamas in the kitchen, baby and all
  • Everything is everything
  • Everything is everything
  • But youre missing
  • Coffee cups on the counter, jackets on the chair
  • Papers on the doorstep, but youre not there
  • Everything is everything
  • Everything is everything
  • But youre missing

  • Pictures on the nightstand,
  • TVs on in the den
  • Your house is waiting your house is waiting
  • For you to walk in, for you to walk in
  • But youre missing, youre missing
  • Youre missing, when I shut out the lights
  • Youre missing, when I close my eyes
  • Youre missing, when I see the sun rise Youre
  • Children are asking if its alright
  • Will you be in our arms tonight?

  • Morning is morning, the evening falls, I got
  • Too much room in my bed, too many phone calls
  • Hows everything, everything?
  • Everything, everything
  • Youre missing, youre missing
  • Gods drifting in heaven, devils in the mailbox
  • I got dust on my shoes, nothing but teardrops

RitualsThis American Life/About Schmidt/9 Lives
  • Schmidt performs a candlelight ritual, which
    allows him to more powerfully connect with his
    wifes memory and his feelings about her. He also
    sees a sign in response to a question he poses to
  • Have you found ritual to be an important tool in
    your grieving? Have you seen a sign from your
    loved one?

Food For Thought
  • Grieving is as natural as crying when you are
    hurt, sleeping when you are tired, eating when
    you are hungry, or sneezing when your nose
    itches. Its natures way of healing a broken
  • The grief process is like traveling a road-with
    its hills and valleys, its curves and ruts.
    Further down the road, the hills and valleys are
    not so pronounced, the curves are less sharp and
    the ruts are not so deep.

Food For Thought
  • Grief is like riding down a country road on a
    beautiful day, turning a curve, and coming into
    complete darkness.
  • To be bereaved is to be robbed.
  • Talking about the death will be painful, but not
    talking will be even more painful.
  • If we couldnt love, we couldnt grieve. And if
    we couldnt grieve, we couldnt have loved.
  • Mourning is really a journey from where we are to
    where we will be.
  • The moment an individual dies, everything changes.

Saying GoodbyeForrest Gump/Moonlight Mile/In
  • Are you comfortable speaking to your loved one?
  • Do you dream about your loved one?

Finding MeaningCastaway
  • How is Tom Hanks being at the crossroads
    similar to your situation?
  • How has the death changed you?

SpiritualityWhat Dreams May Come/Simon
Birch/After Life
  • How has your faith helped/hindered your healing?
  • Have your feelings about God, your faith and/or
    spirituality changed?
  • Are you comfortable with your current feelings?

A Death Has Occurred
  • A death has occurred and everything has changed.
  • We are painfully aware
  • that life can never be the same again,
  • that yesterday is over,
  • that relationships once rich have ended.
  • But there is another way to look upon this truth.
  • If life now went on the same,
  • without the presence of the one who has died,
  • we could only conclude that the life we remember
  • made no contribution, filled no space, meant

A Death Has Occurred
  • The fact that this person left behind a place
  • that cannot be filled
  • is a high tribute to this individual.
  • Life can be the same after a trinket has been
  • But never after the loss of a treasure.
  • KinderMourn, Inc.

Helping Grieving Children
  • Corrina Corrina Withdrawn, Anger
  • Simple Things Support from other children
  • Ordinary People Grieving and still having to

Michael Kahn, LPC, JD
  • 704.962.8023