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Positive Cinema Therapy with Children & Adolescents: Successfully Treating Young Clients through Movies & Positive Psychology

6 CE Credits/Hours - Online Course - $59.00

Developed by Birgit Wolz, Ph.D.

This course is also offered as part of two different Certificate Programs:
Positive Psychology 39 CE Credits

Treatment & Education Through Cinema 37 CE Credits

This course includes materials consisting of:

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General Course Description

During the recent decades, mental health providers, parents, and teachers have been confronted with the effects of a sharp increase of depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders in children and in adolescents. What are the causes of this disconcerting development and how can it be addressed?

Researchers and practitioners in the field of Positive Psychotherapy have developed interventions to treat psychological problems of children and youth effectively, by building positive resources that buffer against their reoccurrence.

Since almost all children and youth feel attracted to movies, and many film characters demonstrate certain strengths or development of strengths, Positive Cinema Therapy interventions provide significant support for successful therapy. Young clients are more able to identify their own strengths as well as weaknesses that need to be addressed when they recognize these strengths and weaknesses in movie characters. Therefore, Positive Cinema Therapy complements Positive Psychotherapy in an effective way and can contribute significantly to positive youth development.

This unique and innovative beginning course consists of three parts. The first part explains the theoretical background of Positive Psychology, Positive Psychotherapy, and Positive Cinema Therapy. Possible reasons for the recent increase in mental illness are thoroughly discussed. This part also clarifies how Cinema Therapy can be integrated into Positive Psychotherapy with young individuals and their families. After Positive Psychotherapy exercises are introduced, the second part of this course presents extensive case material followed by categorized movie descriptions with viewing suggestions, as well as guidelines for questions and interventions for clinical work. Brief descriptions of these films offer a valuable resource for mental health practitioners, teachers, and parents. A comprehensive system of six classes of core virtues, made up of 24 measurable character strengths, provides a basic structure for this categorization. The third part of this course provides references as well as resources in the literature and on the Internet that can be used in implementing Positive Cinema Therapy.

Disclaimer: This course is purely educational and does not intend to serve as a license (or permission) to mental health professionals to prescribe or practice any of the approaches discussed in this course unless they fall within the scope of practice of your profession. Check with your licensing board about the scope of practice of your profession to make sure you practice within that scope.

Educational Objectives

This course will teach psychotherapists to:

1.    Describe the development of Positive Psychology, Positive Psychotherapy, and Positive Cinema Therapy.

2.    Identify the possible reasons for the sharp increase of depression, anxiety, as well as other mental disorders in children and youth during the recent decades.

3.    Illustrate the therapeutic work with virtues and strengths.

4.    Explain why and how Positive Cinema Therapy works well with young clients of different age groups.

5.    Choose appropriate movies through categorized and age-appropriate movie suggestions.

6.    Select Positive Cinema Therapy techniques and understand how to use them through case examples.

Course Syllabus

Introduction Part I - Theory

  • Development of Positive Psychotherapy
  • Treatment of Children and Adolescents
    • Research Findings on Youth and Mental Illness
    • Impact of the Self-Esteem Movement on Children and Adolescents
    • Goals of Positive Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents
    • Classifications of Virtues and Strengths
    • Therapeutic Work with Virtues and Strengths
    • Strengths Development and Mental Health
    • Implications for Therapy
    • Positive Psychotherapy Interventions
  • Positive Cinema Therapy
    • How Films Aid the Positive Psychotherapy Process
    • Why Positive Cinema Therapy Works with Children and Adolescents
    • How Positive Cinema Therapy Works
    • Criteria for Choosing Movies
  • Positive Cinema Therapy and Youth Development

Part II - Applications

  • Early Childhood (Ages 4-8)
  • Later Childhood (Ages 9-12
  • Adolescence (Ages 13-18)

Part III: References and Resourses

  • References
  • Resources for Therapists
  • Resources for Therapists to Recomment to Clients
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