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.

Looking for authors for an edited book on integrative medicine and advocacy using Film/Video-Based Therapy

Looking for authors for an edited book on integrative medicine and advocacy using digital storytelling


Working Titles:


  • Film/Video-Based Therapy: Using accessible technology  for positive social change and healing
  • Film/Video-Based Therapy:An Expressive Arts Approach for the Digital Age
  •  Film/Video-Based Therapy:Telling your story on-screen for greater self-understanding.


  • ·         My name is Josh Cohen and I recently co-edited a book through Routledge titled Video and Filmmaking as Psychotherapy: Research and Practice through Routledge along with two co-editors (Cohen, Johnson, Orr, 2015).


  • ·         I am writing to ask for contributions for a new book that will emphasize tools for positive social change using therapeutic techniques in filmmaking as well as Film/Video-based therapy through expressive art therapies like drama, dance, music, painting, drawing, and more. By learning the language of film, we may educate people on how to watch and use the images so we learn how to process and discuss the images. 


  • ·         The book will be used in collaboration with a research project that also emphasizes a film that is focused on positive change in the world directed by Mark Wolf who runs a non-profit organization called “Change the World Productions.” The producer, Maya Soetoro-Ng, is President Barack Obama’s half-sister and both have dedicated the profits of this film to be donated to non-profit organizations that fit the cause of world peace.



Intended audience:


  • The first book has topics that have been submitted to conferences including American Psycholgical Association, American Art Therapy Association, and other outlets that may facilitate further discussion on the topics of creativity in creating positive social change in our lives, families, communities, country, and the world. Filmmakers, artists, academics, and human being influenced by this topic should be moved both emotionally, and psychologically by this work.


Submission guidelines:


  • ·         Some examples of topics that would fit in this book may be work that includes a focus on trauma, addictions, creativity, and film.
  • ·         A preference may be given to depth psychology, and the focus of the work will be to try and bring a voice to this way of thinking that goes beyond words but engages the psyche through image and art.
  • ·         Acceptance is contingent on the relevance to trauma, film, and creativity. A preference will be given to depth psychological approaches but the ability to focus on many different theoretical orientations may also be necessary. 
  • ·         Please send your chapter summary of approximately 300 words to describe the content of the proposed chapter including your proposed topic of discussion and your preferred theoretical grounding for your work.
  • ·         Please also include a brief biography (75 words) and identify your current location of practice.
  • ·         You do not need to be a licensed therapist to submit a proposal. Contributors may be an anthropologist, psychologist, art therapist, filmmaker, etc. As long as your focus is on trauma, film, and creativity, your topic will be considered.  


  • ·         Please send your chapter summary based on your area of expertise in what area of practice you feel most inspired to write about. If you feel that you are excited to contribute about combat veterans, domestic violence victims, or violent criminals, please write about that population and relate it to film and healing.


  • ·         If you need help and guidance with narrowing down a topic, I am available for free consultation. The book is not limited to psychotherapy and therapeutic practice but is focused on tools for positive change as well.


  • ·         Complete manuscripts, not exceeding 5,000 words with APA citations included in the word count, (Manuscripts will be determined after your application has been accepted, and should be formatted according to APA guidelines).


  • ·         Deadline for the proposed chapter proposal is May 1st, 2015 by midnight Pacific Time
  • ·         The deadline for the final papers will be due the following year, May 1st 2016.


  • ·         There will be a revision process, followed by a proofing stage that will take approximately 1 year following this process. Routledge, if the chosen publisher, will go through their own review process of the material as well.
  • ·         If you have any questions or concerns regarding this process, please contact me at



·         The inspiration and philosophy behind the book


  • ·         There is no question that the world is suffering right now through collective trauma, mass shootings, terrorism and violence. Mental health professionals, creative art therapists, filmmakers, and activists are suddenly called to take action and both researchers and practitioners are faced with daunting challenges. One way to face these challenges could begin by starting new dialogues and thinking about these topics in a different way.


  • ·         Anslow (2012) discussed how superhero teams collaborated in films like the Avengers.


He stated


  • “So in the Avengers, as in the other Marvel groups, it is the collective forces rather than ego-driven solo hero that provides the redeeming energy for humankind.”(p.242).


  • ·         The book is intended to inspire, which means one may need to look within their own dreams, hopes, and aspirations, rather than look outward.
  • ·          Drawing on Natalie Roger’s work on creativity (N. Rogers, 1993/2000, 2011), and an invited lecture on expressive arts and peace (N. Rogers, 2004), the article aims to make explicit the theoretical underpinnings of person-centered expressive arts therapy.”  
  • ·         The overall themes of this book/documentary collaborative project are focused on building a better world by paying attention to our own psychological well-being and how we can influence those closest to our own lives and from there, we can branch out to our families, our communities, our cities, states, and countries and eventually the globe.
  • ·         On a practical level, this is a common practice of self-care that applies to both psychologists, therapists, psychotherapists, and creative individuals, as well as all of humanity.
  • ·         How can we heal the world if we are do not take care of ourselves? How can we use the technology available to us to then take action in our own lives and make a difference? For instance, we could pick up a cell phone and change the world.



  • ·         For instance, anyone can make a movie as seen in the super bowl commercial this year.  (Scorsese, 2015).











Anslow, J.A. (2012). Archetypes Assemble: How superhero teams save the world from the apocalypse and lead the way to individuation-Marvel’s the Avengers. In Spring Journal (2012). Carter & Foster (Eds.). Environmental Disasters and Collective Trauma.  


Cohen, J.L., Johnson,J. & Orr, P. (2015). (Eds). Video and Filmmaking as Psychotherapy:Research and Practice. New York: Routledge.


 Cohen, J.L., (2015) Video and filmmaking as Psychotherapy:research and practice Retrieved April 2 2015 from


Cohen, J.L. , Johnson, J. & Orr, P. (2015). Website for retrieved April 2nd 2015 from


Rogers, N., Tudor, K., Embleton, T., Keemar, K. (2012). Person-centered expressive arts therapy:a theorietical encounter. Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies. 11 (1). DOI:10.1080/14779757.2012.656407

Scorsese,M. (2015). Make a film with iPad. Retrieved April 2nd 2015 from


Wolf, M. (2014). Change the world Productions Retrieved April 2nd from



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