Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Michele Forinash

Second Advisor

Julia Byers

Third Advisor

Michael Kocet


A multiple-case study of the use of cinematherapy in six sessions of individual therapy each with three preadolescent aged children who were experiencing parental divorce was conducted. Children were shown film clips from six different films over six weeks of individual therapy. Questions were used to facilitate discussion with the children and children were given the opportunity to respond to the film clips expressively, by using their choice of art, creative writing, story-telling, and/or drama. Each child was interviewed one to two weeks after the intervention. Multiple themes emerged across the cases, including the use of films for: assessment of children's ability to identify and express emotions and to learn to identify emotions. A new concept, interactive viewing, occurred for each participant and involved a child spontaneously interacting with a film and/or the therapist through narrating, sharing thoughts and emotional responses, or interacting expressively while viewing. Furthermore, all the children shared the plots from films or television shows they watched outside of therapy which can be viewed as form of story-telling which conveyed their concerns and contributed to healing. Through expressive responses, children experienced catharsis and created therapeutically relevant metaphors.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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