Instructor

Faith Pollack

Alturism and the Movies

Hi, Faith here. My husband Bobby and I are movie analysts. I am earning an M.A. in Media psychology and storytelling at Fielding Graduate University. I created this course as a final project for my positive psychology class. I hope that you enjoy it. We welcome constructive criticism and comments. This course will remain free but if we get participants I will add and rebuild as I receive information. Please send comments to us@storybizcoach.com Our web site is https://www.StoryBizCoach.com Keep the faith, Faith Pollack

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Overview

“People don’t see the world before their eyes until it’s put in a narrative mode.”~Brian De Palma

INTRODUCTION & Lecture 1

Let's just jump right in...

In this course we are analyzing the relation between going positive (Positive psychology) and  films that will serve to ignite creative thinking.

 

The films that I have chosen normally entail positive themes and are meant to be motivational, uplifting, inspirational and transformational. Admittedly, a few are tear jerkers but the quality and relatedness of the films are so important that I included them because we are focusing on altruistic love. This means that the story is about unselfish love between two people, a country or worlds, or even an animal and owner. 

I use Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube to find movies.  Grab a box of tissues on movie night. 

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CINEMA THERAPY AND MOVIE ANALYSIS?

Birgit (2013) normally suggests fictional movies within cinema therapy practice because it may be easier for the viewer to self-identify. 

However, sometimes dramas are appropriate such as “The Hurt Locker” when working with a returning soldier that has been diagnosed with PTSD. It can help soldiers understand PTSD and feel less alone.

Films discussing death or acceptance of a death can help a person to get in touch with his or her feelings and emotions. Additionally, films that deal with acceptance and understanding can be a conduit to better communication.  

The use of high quality TV programming and films can be instrumental inside practically any course-room, especially, if the correct questions are asked and themes are discussed. 

Films, live shows, music, gaming should be of high quality and entertaining. If the film is cheesy and not engaging any gains are limited.  

THIS CLASS IS NOT CINEMA THERAPY NOR THERAPY AT ALL

This class is a brief historical overview of how altruism has been portrayed in films from the silent era until modern times. Altruism means to do something that benefits others. Altruistic people make the world a better place and so in response to Lopez, Teramoto, and Snyder (2011) we are taking on their challenge of giving positive psychology away for free.

In this course, we are using films to serve as inspiration for those that choose to take the challenge with us.

Movie analysis is not therapeutic in nature however, some individuals may benefit from indirect therapy. There is no fee and upon completion of this brief course you will be able to download a certificate of completion. We will also happily give two free media coaching sessions to all that complete this course.

CINEMA AND FLOW

Positive psychology and the cinema experience within a coaching environment are intended for healthy individuals that do not suffer from mental illness.  Wolz (2013) purports that the integration of Cinematherapy as a tool within the positive psychology environment promotes well-being, self-empowerment and a frame-of-reference that encourages role modeling.

Watching films requires active participation and the goal is to experience flow between client and performer. Flow is the energy that promotes transformation and change. A person is so engaged in the performance or activity that the client becomes lost in time and completely absorbed. (Csikszentmihalyi, 2000).

Movies and other high quality entertainment serves as an escape if we engage fully. Some people create flow when reading books however, this course is intended for movie lovers and so that is our focus. Reaching flow by watching wonderful films.

TRANSORMATION AND HOW IT WORKS

The main character in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is a possible pick for a client that may want to experience great transformation before a big event such as a wedding or a vacation- of- a- life- time. After the client and coach meet and discuss the client’s goals and needs, the coach choses an appropriate film or television show for the client to watch at home.

The coach would require the client to not only watch the film but to participate and answer questions provided by the coach, usually in a film journal or diary. Possible questions would include,

  • Which character did you most identify with and why?
  • How did you feel when he or she did that?
  • How could you model that to improve your life?

The coach and client would discuss the answers at the next meeting and then perhaps, role play to lock-in-learning. 

When a client watches a film and becomes engaged the client normally feels relaxed and open to receive metaphors and cues that may open up new possibilities for the client. 

For example, a client might be nervous about losing weight but watches a character lose weight in a film by eating Vegan or healthier. The character may lose a good deal of weight and begin living a happier and more exciting life. Perhaps, she meets the love- of- her- life and marries. 

This may prompt or motivate the client to have the courage to try eating healthier and working out. One movie that may be appropriate for a client that wants motivation to lose weight would be “The Mirror Has Two Faces” in which the lead character, played by Barbara Streisand, grew up believing that she was never pretty and that her sister got the looks in the family.

Suddenly, a moment of clarity comes to Streisand’s character when her mother, played by Lauren Bacall, shows her a picture of her when she was younger, (Barbara thinks it's a  photo of her sister) and said that everyone thought that she was the pretty one.

That light-bulb moment  motivated Streisand to exchange the burger and fries for salads and spinning classes.  

By the end she finds the love of her life that loved her for her brain more than her new body.

INTIGRATING POSITIVE PSYCHOLOYG AND THE MOVIES

Positive psychology cinema coaching is the integration of positive psychology with cinema analysis. The intention of positive psychology coaching is to recognize and emphasize a client’s strengths verses focusing on only upon weaknesses and illnesses.  

Analyzing movies within a positive psychology frame support a developing client to reach his or her maximum potential in both life and career.

This doesn't mean that none of the films are tear jerkers, remember I warned you already, but hopefully, it will also elicit feelings of love, kindness, empathy, gratitude and forgiveness, which are all parts of Altruism and positive psychology.

The traits that are focused upon and strengthened include virtues such as mental and emotional strength, courage, spirituality, faith, humor, charisma, flexibility and transformation.

For the past decades science focused on disease and how to make miserable people feel less miserable. (Seligman, 2004).  That was good and psychology and associated fields have much to be proud.

However, according to (Seligman, 2004) the science of human and animal behavior left out a broad population of peoples that did not require psychotherapy but did want to increase happiness and well-being.

Positive psychology is interested in cultivating talent and genius. It also focuses on helping everyday people live more rewarding and meaningful lives. 

REACHNG FLOW

 Altruism and the movies serves as a tool within  positive psychology and promotes well-being, self-empowerment and a frame-of-reference that encourages taking on characters and role modeling.

Watching films requires active participation and the goal is to experience flow between client and performer.

Flow is the energy that promotes transformation and change. A person is so engaged in the performance or activity that the client becomes lost in time and completely absorbed. (Csikszentmihalyi, 2000).

POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY & MOVIE ANAYSIS

The intention of positive psychology is to recognize and emphasize a client’s strengths verses focusing on weaknesses and illnesses. 

According to Wolz (20013) in some cases Cinematherapy can be used in conjunction with a psychotherapy patient after the patient is stable however, communication with the client’s psychotherapist would be required.

Working with both a coach and a therapist can be beneficial. 

Utilizing Cinema analysis within a positive psychology frame support a developing client to reach his or her maximum potential in both life and career.

The traits that are focused upon and strengthened include virtues such as:

  • mental clarity
  • emotional strength
  • courage
  • spirituality
  • faith
  • humor
  • charisma
  • flexibility
  • transformation

For the past decades science focused on disease and how to make miserable people feel less miserable. (Seligman, 2004).  That was good and psychology and associated fields have much in which to be  proud,

 Albeit, according to (Seligman, 2004) the science of human and animal behavior left out a broad population of peoples that did not require psychotherapy but did want to increase happiness and well-being.

Positive psychology is interested in talent and genius. It also focuses on helping everyday people, like you and me, live more rewarding and meaningful lives.

ALTRUISM & THE MOVIES BY MOVIE ANALYSISTS & STORYTELLERS

Altruism in the movies garners a reflection of changing cultures, times, gender roles, morals and ethics. We invite you to discover how films have portrayed altruism, from decade to decade from the silent era to today.

It is an exciting exploration of how Hollywood has dealt with Altruism while trying to reflect the changing times and attitudes while still leaving the viewers feeling  uplifted and wanting more. In these 5 weeks we will reflect upon films that convey altruistic love.

This means that a character did something to benefit another character from a perspective of not expecting to receive anything from the other character but perhaps, returned love. Week  5 suggests altruistic hero's that changed worlds for the better. 

The other character's may be human, an animal, a planet or mother nature. Altruistic love doesn't have to between two humans.

FUTURE

If this class grows we will focus on other aspects of altruism and the movies including the dark side. We are movie analysts. We love movies and I, Faith am earing an M.A. in Media Psychology and Storytelling from Fielding Graduate University. Please check out our web site for more information on our credentials.

Enjoy,

Faith and Bobby

StoryBizCoach.com  

 

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Course content

  • Syllabus

  • Lecture 2 Creating Altruism through Empathy and/or Ego

  • Lecture 3 Happiness + Meaning = Well-Being

  • Videos

  • Lecture 5 Altruism that Changes Worlds

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