Cinematherapy proves beneficial toward mental health


Jordan Latter

Info graphic about the physical benefits of watching scary movies.

Film therapy,  a new development in mental health, treats mental disorders through movies and television so patients can find relief from everyday stresses. 

“Movies can give you different perspectives of life, and it can motivate you to chase your dream or change your lifestyle,” said senior Ryan Marrero.

Cinematherapy seems to fly under the radar as not many people know about the many benefits provided by specific movies.

Research found at provides an index of movies, categorized by different issues: “social issues,” “family issues,” “couple issues,” etc. Since movies generally span the same length as a therapy session, they provide an alternative to professional therapy.

According to the American Mental Health Foundation, many factors make film therapy an effective psychological and tool. 

In fact, movies often have the power to change a person’s mood and inspire them to act on more productive thoughts.

“After watching a movie, I always feel more energetic, and it makes me want to get up and do something,” said sophomore Haley Bradley. “It’ll put me in a better mood. Whenever I’m upset, I try to watch something that I know will make me feel better, and it usually works.”

In an article written by Kathleen Harward on, one physical benefit of watching scary movies specifically is increased heart rate, similar to the effect you get from light exercise. Harward also listed many psychological benefits of horror films.

Movies often cause laughter and result in happiness, which proves to be beneficialIt decreases stress hormones and triggers endorphins often called “feel good chemicals.”

“I think that sometimes when we watch movies we have an emotional experience because something hits close to home,” said senior Mackenzie James. “Crying, laughing or getting sad from movies is natural. People feel strong emotions, hence why movies are made, to make you feel something,”

Movies also bring significant social and emotional value by watching them with loved ones, developing social skills.

“I don’t know much about film therapy specifically, but if you have an emotional trauma, you can let those emotions out through the movie from crying or other emotional releases,” said psychology teacher Ian Tobey.