Film/Video-Based Therapy

Video and FIlmmaking as Psychotherapy: Research and Practice Edited by Joshua L Cohen and J. Lauren Johnson with Penelope Orr and a Foreword by Cathy Malchiodi

For a free webinar on this book: please visit

This website is intended to create a collaboration between filmmakers, psychologists, anthropologists, psychiatrists, and art therapists in forming a discussion about the use of film and video based therapy. The content of the webpage is intended to be an appendix to the book Film and Video as Therapy:Research and Practice, to be published by Routledge in 2015. To order the book, please visit the following website


In addition to promoting the book to help raise awareness of this intervention, we hope to gain feedback on the blog by facilitating communications with those interested in fostering the growth of this concept through questions, concerns, and/or ideas.  



Please feel free to explore the space within the webpage and ask questions on the blog.


This interactive space is meant to stir up questions as well as to inspire creativity and rethinking what it means to be a creative therapist


The use of film and video in/as therapy has a decades-long history in practice. Early work in this field included the post-World War II use of experimental, non-narrative films to calm veterans suffering from shell shock, and the 1970s saw boys in a group creating short films together to foster group cohesion, mastery skills, and better communication. With the advent of portable video equipment in the 1970s, female artists began turning the camera on themselves, making them the object of their own gaze. The precursor to the selfie’ Despite this fact, there is a dearth of literature on the theory and practice of using film/video production as therapy and the multidisciplinary practitioners who support its use. Copious literature exists discussing the use of several related media in a therapeutic context, such as photography, writing, drawing, music, and drama, but this body of literature is virtually vacant of film/video as a therapeutic medium. Despite the fact that there is little writing in this area, numerous practitioners from around North America and Europe are quietly working in this area – often independently, as the community of practitioners in this field is still quite small and geographically scattered. In an effort to build community among film/video-based therapy practitioners, and to introduce our work to others in our broader practice and research communities, we introduce this edited book on the theory and practice of film/video-based therapy. Representing the fields of anthropology, psychology, and art therapy, and perspectives as diverse as psychodynamic theory, and narrative theory, this book is the quintessential introductory resource for film/video-based therapy. This anthology is intended as an introductory foundation for the broad array of work we do in this exciting field, and is intended to introduce, justify, and explicate our practice to a broader audience.

I Was There Filmmaking Workshop at Joint Base Lewis-McChord


“It’s a wonderful way to break down barriers and at the same time you’re actually creating a piece of narrative that may allow you to communicate something you haven’t before,” said founder Ben Patton, whose father also led soldiers as an Army officer in Korea and Vietnam."


This video was taken at an I Was There Filmmaking Workshop 

"He developed the program about three years ago, weaving knowledge from his career in public television with experiences from his youth growing up in a military family. He’d been looking for a way to give back to veterans, carrying on his family’s storied tradition of service.

Since then, the program has hosted more than 30 workshops at major military bases around the country. The one at JBLM this week is its second in the South Sound.

Over the course of the project, participants will make their own short movies. A gallery at its website,, shows that troops at past sessions have tackled difficult subjects, such as mourning friends who died in combat.

Patton and his teammates don’t call the program therapy, but they point out that the projects often lead soldiers to confront issues just below the surface.

Patton thinks the work really happens when participants break up in small groups.

“There’s something about the qualities of filmmaking that relate to a veteran’s experiences, and the No. 1 is collaboration. You’re with other people processing whatever you want,” Patton said."

This  text was taken from an article titled "JBLM veterans focus on filmmaking" published in the news tribune on October 20, 2015

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