Movie Therapy. The Counseling Alternative.
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Movie Therapy. The Counseling Alternative.

Who knew that couples therapy could be fun as it will as therapeutic.
3.5 (2 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
742 students enrolled
Last updated 12/2014
Curiosity Sale
Current price: $10 Original price: $25 Discount: 60% off
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 12 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Communicate on a deeper level - Movie therapy teaches couples how to bond and create deeper meaning to their own relationship, via watching and discussing the relationships of other couples
  • Prevent divorce! The findings show that an inexpensive, fun, and relatively simple movie-and-talk approach can be just as effective as other more intensive therapist-led methods—reducing the divorce or separation rate from 24 to 11 percent after three years.
  • Set in stone a weekly date night! - Nothing is more important than spending quality time with each other.
  • Avoid counseling and therapy! For couples who are uncomfortable with relationship workshops and group interventions, the movie-and-talk approach can be an alternative. Watching a movie together and having a discussion, that's not so scary. It's less pathologizing, less stigmatizing.
  • Learn 4 couple communication killers which effect 93% of all couples. You and your partner will have fun in learning your new skills by trying your own "Improv" or home acting scene.
View Curriculum
  • Movies are not included in this course
  • Movie therapy is not a substitute for those requiring professional mental health help. Movie Therapy is "positive psychology" and couples must be able to view movies and interact with each other in a positive mental health standing.

The ULTIMATE Relationship Success Course! Welcome to Movie Therapy!

Movie therapy combines the fun of watching movies with improving the emotional bond you have with your partner. Best still, is that you get to do this all from the privacy of your own home.

Movies affect us powerfully because the synergistic impact of music, dialogue, lighting, camera angles and sound effects enables a film to bypass our ordinary defensive censors. They draw us into the viewing experience and at the same time - often more easily than in real life - afford a unique opportunity to retain a perspective outside the experience, the observer's view. This course will teach you how to express your feelings and views on what you have seen to your best friend, and partner.

Movie Therapy is drawing increased interest amongst therapists, as it uses the impact of movies to help clients change negative beliefs, manage destructive emotions, develop self-esteem, discover forgotten strengths and grow in the face of a loss or disappointment. The latest research on using Movie therapy for couple therapy is amazing!

"A new study finds that watching and discussing movies about relationships is as effective in lowering divorce rates as other, more intensive early marriage counseling programs."

Discussing six movies about relationships over a 6-week Date Night strategy could cut the three-year divorce rate for newlyweds in half, researchers report. The study, involving 174 couples, is the first long-term investigation to compare different types of early marriage intervention programs.

The findings show that an inexpensive, fun, and relatively simple movie-and-talk approach can be just as effective as other more intensive therapist-led methods—reducing the divorce or separation rate from 24 to 11 percent after three years. Discussing relationship movies, it turns outs, was just as effective as more intensive skills-building programs. The results suggest that many couples already possess relationship skills, they just need reminders to put these into practice.

The insights and principles you’ll grow to understand in this MOVIE THERAPY COURSE will empower you to create a more POSITIVE and PASSIONATE relationship in the most important areas of your life, for the rest of your life!

Matt and Kellie Butler of Ashtabula, Ohio, have been married for 16 years and also feel the movie intervention has helped their relationship. So far they have watched “Love and Other Drugs” and “She’s Having a Baby.”

“It’s kind of powerful,” Mr. Butler said. “It’s like watching a role play in a therapy session, but it’s a movie so it’s less threatening and more entertaining.”

Mr. Butler said that even though he and his wife have a strong bond, long-married couples sometimes forget to talk about their relationship. “We’ve been married 16 years, but it’s not something you sit down and have a conversation about,” he said. “When you watch the movie, it focuses your conversation on your relationship.”

The Movie Therapy course is lead by Dr. Savannah Ellis, Clinical Psychologist, Founder of the Infidelity Recovery Institute, and author of four relationship books.

Frank Pittman, MD says....."Everything we need to know about marriage can be found at the movies: explore meaning, expectations, love, insanity, brain chemistry, secrets, lies, deal breakers – even clues about how to get it right."

See you on the inside!

Who is the target audience?
  • Married couples
  • Same sex couples
  • Dating couples
  • Engaged couples
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Curriculum For This Course
21 Lectures
About Movie Therapy & Testimonials
1 Lecture 04:56
It's Show Time!
5 Lectures 24:36

This unique and innovative course will teach couples how to build a bridge between their realizations in "reel" life and their experiences in real life.

Introduction and Welcome

Cinema therapy is defined by Segen's Medical Dictionary as:

"A form of therapy or self-help that uses movies, particularly videos, as therapeutic tools. Cinema therapy can be a catalyst for healing and growth for those who are open to learning how movies affect people and to watching certain films with conscious awareness. Cinema therapy allows one to use the effect of imagery, plot, music, etc. in films on the psyche for insight, inspiration, emotional release or relief and natural change. Used as part of psychotherapy, cinema therapy is an innovative method based on traditional therapeutic principles."

In this lesson, you will learn how Movie Therapy will benefit you and your relationship.

The Emotional Bonding Questions

Like novels, plays, and other forms of art, movies sometimes have a lot more going on beneath their surfaces than it would seem.

In this lesson, you will learn how to watch a movie with a greater conscious awareness.

Watching Movies with Conscious Awareness

Inside, is a questionnaire to help you rediscover your fondness and admiration for each other. Completing this questionnaire will help you to remember the early years of your relationship - how and why you became a couple.

Note: Your marriage or relationship doesn’t have to be in deep trouble to benefit from this exercise. By focusing on your past, you can often remember and reconnect with your history of positive feelings!

The Relationship Interview

Lesson Objective:

To understand how to fully engage in a movie.

I suggest watching a movie such as "Mud" and, as you watch the movie you need to simultaneously access three different mindsets: being mindful, being emotionally engaged, and being critical.

Practice Movie - Mud

Let's check if you understand what Movie Therapy is about with this quick quiz!

Quiz on getting started
5 questions
Week 1
2 Lectures 19:08

Ben and Katie Jordan are a married couple who go through hard times in fifteen years of marriage. While this movie did not review well with the critics, it shows how arguments can flare up out of nowhere and become shouting matches.

Lesson objective is:

  • to understand how the characters came to be to the point.
  • what does it take to turn the relationship around
  • understand your partners perspective

Remember: If you are getting stuck in critiquing the movie, focus on answering the questions based on your own feelings.Your feelings are what we want to hear.

The Story Of Us

Communication Lesson 1 - Criticism

Definition: Complaining with blaming or attacking or criticizing or harshness.

Over the next 4 lessons, I am going to ask you to be mindful of 4 “toxic behaviors” which contribute directly to couples feeling disconnected, isolated and distant from each other. When couples have a high frequency of these toxic behaviors, isolation and lonliness increases. These “cascades of isolation and lonliness” increases the liklihood of marital meltdown and contribute strongly to the liklihood of divorce.

Lesson Goal:

Be mindful of Criticism in your relationship this week


“You dumb jerk Rob.. you left the milk out again”.

“What the hell’s wrong with you Sarah…I can’t believe you didn’t put gas in the car.”

Communication Bullet 1 - Criticism

This quiz will do a quick temperature check on how hot you feel for each other.

Do we still "feel" it?
5 questions
Week 2
2 Lectures 06:05

If you have YouTube - There is a link to the full movie.

Bruce Almighty

Communication Lesson 2 - Contempt


This includes a range of behaviors from facial expressions – rolling one’s eyes, sighing in resignation, body language which pushes one’s partner away – to an “I’d never sink so low as to do something like that – what kind of person are you?”

Contempt often has an underlying tone of despising, loathing and devaluing one’s partner.

Lesson Goal:

Be mindful of Contempt in your relationship this week

Communication Bullet 2 - Contempt

How reactive are you during arguments? Can you keep it under control? Try this quick quiz

Anger management
5 questions
Week 3
2 Lectures 04:02

When Harry Met Sally

Can men and women just be friends? Its a long standing debate, and it couldn't hurt to know how your partner feels about the subject. When Harry Met Sally is now a classic tale of friends who were friends for years, until one of them realized they felt like more than just friends, and went for it. Consequences be dammed, this is a great flick for those who took a risk for a date, or just those who enjoy a decent story and numerous laugh out loud moments about love and relationships.

You decide after watching this weeks movie together.

When Harry Met Sally

Communication Lesson 3 - Defensiveness

There are many ways in which defensiveness can be expressed.


“Oh Yeah? Well what about what you did?”

“Well I wouldn’t be doing this if you didn’t push me so hard”.

Lesson Goal:

Be mindful of Defensiveness in your relationship this week

Communication Bullet 3 - Defensiveness

Is Your Marriage Primed For Romance ?

Are you romantic?
5 questions
Week 4
2 Lectures 03:14

Groundhog Day

Communication Lesson 4 - Stonewalling

Shutting down, withdrawing associated with high physiological arousal and efforts to self-soothe with thoughts like “I can’t believe she’s saying this!”

Lesson Goal:

Be mindful of Stonewalling in your relationship this week

Communication Bullet 4 - Stonewalling

Repair Attempts - How good are you as a couple at overcoming conflict?

By answering true or false you can talk to each other about each of these questions. While there is no right or wrong answer, and all questions are set in this system as TRUE, you can decide what is the right answer for you as a couple and as an individual.

The goal is to understand each other, and respect each other as individuals, so each person can be their authentic self.

Conflict Repair Attempts
8 questions
Week 5
2 Lectures 20:39

You will notice how the blond-haired Helen develops the capacity to think positively about herself and to start a new life with a new career and a new boyfriend, after her old boyfriend cheated on her and she went through a phase of anger, depression, and grief?


You will discuss your ability to cope with difficult situations and circumstances.

Sliding Doors

In this lesson we review the communication mindfulness exercises, and provide suggestions for improvements.

You both get to show off your acting skills (only to each other), with a fun improv activity.

Preview 16:46

Test your ability to soften a harsh startup. For each item below supply a soften alternative

The goal is to understand each other, and respect each other as individuals, so each person can be their authentic self.

Softened or gentle Startups support effective, non-threatening and tactful ways to bring up a problem or complaint are always a better solution.

Ability to soften conflict
4 questions
Week 6
1 Lecture 05:01

In choosing movies for movie therapy, we like to look for movies which show couples experiencing both highs and lows in their relationship.

Movie Therapy researcher, Dr. Rogge said, "Some of the movies on the list, like “Couples Retreat,” are funny and not necessarily realistic. But they are enough to get a dialogue going,”

Lesson Objective:

Can you see your relationship problems in a humorous way? Finding a softer lens to view your relationship concerns is your goal this week.

We also look at Emotional Intimacy

“When we were watching the movie, I said ‘That’s you!,’ and it was humorous. We ended up laughing about it, and it has helped us look at our relationship and our problems in a humorous way.”

Couples Retreat

This movie highlighted the need for couples to keep learning about each other over the years.

Now it is your turn. Take turns in asking each other these true or false questions.

Scoring: Give yourself one point for each “true” answer. 7 & above consider this a strength. 6 and below consider it a weakness.

Not a worry! Now it is your turn to choose movies and continue movie therapy for another 6 weeks.

Relationship Growth
15 questions
Same Sex Couples
3 Lectures 26:37

Gay & lesbian couples face unique challenges in life, which may filter into their relationships at home. These movies will help in opening a door to allow for some of these more difficult and traumatic issues come to the surface. Sharing feelings these movies evoke with each other will help strengthen the relationship bond and foster relationship stability through trust and friendship.

Why Gay & Lesbian Couples should watch these movies

While all couples can benefit from the movie therapy movie choices above, we must acknowledge the ongoing issues sex same couples still face in our society.

The following 10 movies provide the best starting point for revelant discussions.

Learning Objective:

  • Discuss the impact society has had on your identity with your partner
  • How to safeguard your relationship with emotional bonding
  • Learn respectful communication techniques to ensure relationship satisfaction and respect
LBGT Movie Choices

Forbidden Love

"Brokeback Mountain" has been described as "a gay cowboy movie," which is a cruel simplification. It is the story of a time and place where two men are forced to deny the only great passion either one will ever feel. Their tragedy is universal. It could be about two women, or lovers from different religious or ethnic groups -- any "forbidden" love.

Lesson includes a a deeper set of questions to ask each other after the movie.

Brokeback Mountain Focus Discussion

Growing Together
6 questions
It's a Wrap!
1 Lecture 09:36

Lesson Overview:

It's time to sign you both out of therapy. In this lesson we review your journey in Movie Therapy, and provide suggestions for moving forward.

Preview 09:36
About the Instructor
Dr. Savannah Ellis
3.9 Average rating
15 Reviews
1,555 Students
4 Courses
Infidelity Recovery Coach, Author, & Educator

Savannah has coached thousands of couples and individuals from Sydney, Australia to Las Vegas, USA to help them achieve their relationship and personal goals. Her passion is to help people be authentic to themselves and others.

Savannah specializes in infidelity counseling and has trialed & testing the 7 Step Infidelity Recovery Model for several years. The Infidelity Recovery Model has had a huge success rate in her Las Vegas and Santa Monica Clinics. Savannah teaches this model to coaches and therapists.


Savannah is the founder of the Infidelity Recovery Institute (IRI). IRI provides coaching, training and certification programs to coaches, therapists, counselors, and clergy.

  • Savannah provides individual and couple coaching/consulting, and online couple courses in the following areas:
    • Marriage Enrichment
    • Movie Therapy
    • Affair Recovery
    • Pre-Marital Counseling

  • Savannah has authored four books:
    1. Reboot your Relationship
    2. I Cheated: Affair Recovery Guide for the Unfaithful Partner
    3. Cheating, Spying, & Lying
    4. How to Attract Beautiful & Quality Women

  • Savannah is regularly featured and interviewed in magazines & radio:

    Elle Magazine, May 2014. Australia.

    ASIA Pacific Alliance of Coaches Newsletter, Volume 4, Issue 9. “From Betrayal to Recovery: The 7 Step System to Infidelity Recovery”, Sept. 2014. Australia.

    Mother Love Show – L.A. USA

    Baring It All – Las Vegas, USA.

    Marvelous Mondays – Florida, USA

  • Savannah holds the following degrees:

o (Current), Masters Mental Health Counseling, Walden University, USA

o MPsych (Clin) Postgraduate Diploma Psychology, Central Queensland University, QLD, Aust.

o DBA (Doctorate Business Administration), Southern Cross University, QLD, Aust.

o MBA (Master Business Administration) – UTS – Management & Marketing Majors, Sydney.

o BBSc (Bachelor Behavioural Science) – Monash; Majors: Psychology/Management, Melbourne.