Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education (PhD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Rebecca Newgent

Committee Member

Daniel B. Kissinger

Second Committee Member

Christopher Lucas

Third Committee Member

George S. Denny


Communication and the arts, cinematherapy, clinical intervention, counseling, depressing, empirical support, movie therapy, time series design


Two problems must be addressed before cinematherapy can advance as a credible therapeutic intervention: (a) a solid theoretical rationale must exist supporting its use in mental health counseling, and (b) quantifiable data must exist promoting its treatment efficacy, and these data need to extend to various clinical populations representing a range of mental health conditions. This study intends to address both problems by critiquing the theoretical and experimental literature on cinematherapy and measuring the relative effectiveness of a structured, nondirective cinematherapy intervention at improving the hope and optimism of an adult diagnosed with Major Depression. One person (JV= 1) was randomly selected from a group of depressed clients participating in a five-week cinematherapy intervention in which themes of hope and positivism were highlighted during the showing of the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Osbourne & Jackson, 2001). Using a single-subject interrupted time-series design (Glass, 1997) the subject completed the Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS; Beck & Steer, 1993) and an adapted sentence completion task for 11 weeks in order to assess the effect that the cinematherapy intervention had on the subject's perception toward the future (hope) and general disposition toward life (optimism). Data obtained during the treatment period were compared with non-treatment data obtained three weeks before and three weeks after the cinematherapy intervention. Results suggest that a theoretical rational does exist for the use of films in counseling, and that a structured, nondirective group cinematherapy intervention is statistically and clinically effective at improving hope, and clinically effective at improving optimism. Implications for the practice of cinematherapy are discussed.