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.

The American Psychological Association Convention in Toronto

Dr Joshua L Cohen, Dr. J. Lauren Johnson , Carolyn McGurl, Elizabeth Hamilton, and Benjamin Patton all attended APA in Toronto this month. 

Dr. J Lauren Johnson is doing work with first nations populations. She presented on our panel at the American Psychological Association Conference in Toronto. Dr. J. Lauren Johnson coined the term “therapeutic filmmaking” after doing a pilot study on the use of video-making as therapy for her master’s thesis and it was published in the Arts and Psychotherapy in 2008. She found, in a qualitative study that used the phenomenological method, that 11 themes emerged in the research. The they included themes of mastery and “changed perspective on interactions with others.” Later she wrote a dissertation on hope. Both themes of hope and mastery in her body of research have been supported to be effective with technological interventions in an empirical study by Carolyn McGurl, MA, Winston,Seegobin, PsyD,Elizabeth Hamilton, PhD, and Mark McMinn, PhD. We need to continue to do both qualitative and quantitative research methods in this field like Dr. Johnson’s and Carolyn's , so that others like Benjamin Patton, who are working with veterans using digital storytelling can use it in practice. With further research and practice, we can focus future practitioner's skills on the lived experience as well as to know precisely what works in both clinical and digital storytelling settings.


Powered by Squarespace. Home background image by Josh Cohen. Background image by Josh Cohen.