TV Therapy

TV Therapy

On TV Therapy. Not many people know this about me, but I have an undergrad degree in English Literature. I 100% went to college to be a writer. Starting out as a journalism major and eventually switched to the English department. I wanted to focus on creative writing. It was great. I got to write a lot. But what I didn’t expect was to find a deeper love of reading. I fell in love with it. I loved the emotional depth that can be created by transposing words from one brain to paper to another brain. It still fascinates me to this day. Long story short, I quickly realized that I read, and write, from a predominately psychological perspective. Flash forward here we are today- a therapist writing about the therapeutic aspects of literary science.

Can TV Be A Medium For Therapy?

I don’t formally identify as a bibliotherapist. And I don’t advertise an expertise in TV Therapy (whatever that is). Is that a thing? Am I making it a thing? But I do wear multiple person centered hats and believe in finding what vibes best with each individual client. So when someone relates to the world through the philosophy of fiction, I am all in!

I think more people do this than we realize. Have you ever read a book, or watched a movie or TV show, and thought “Wow, I really get that.?” Of course you have. It happens a lot with TV shows. That’s the attraction of fiction. If you haven’t had that experience, maybe you’ve read or seen something and thought, “That’s totally insane and like nothing I’d ever do.” There’s relation in that too. When we read, or view, stories, it often ignites our introspective world view and leads us to assess ourselves in a very casual and non threatening way. Sometimes we pick up on this, other times it just happens. When we can learn to attend to those experiences, we can learn a whole lot about ourselves in our understanding in and connection with the characters. That’s TV Therapy.

I’m Downton Abbey

Earlier today, someone said to me, “I’m Downton Abbey, does that make sense?” First of all, I’ve never watched the TV show. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make complete and utter sense to me. I know enough about it to get the connection, but the more important part is that she sees the connection and it means something to her and her life in the past, present, and/or future. This is essence of TV therapy In this situation, it becomes not about my analysis as a therapist, but about her self-analysis of the evoked emotions and relational experiences that she shares (or doesn’t share) with these made believe characters.

You see, literature moves us because it ignites not only do we often resonate with the spirit of the story, but also it provokes a certain level interest and curiosity. Theres something about it that draws us in. Something that makes us think. But in a fictional world, how can we feel like we so perfectly relate? The answer: Perception.

The way that we see ourselves or others in fictional stories is indicative of how we view and perceive ourselves internally. I mentioned earlier that this is a non threatening type of processing, TV Therapy can be way more comfortable to relate to a fictional character or story because, well, it’s fiction. When we enter into another world that we understand to be apart from reality, we are free to think and feel however we want to feel, especially if those thoughts and feelings are projected onto a fictitious character. For someone who suppresses their anger, it is much safer to explore and feel anger inside a story. The same goes for any other emotion you can think of: happy, mad, sad, glad, the whole gang.

Putting It All Together

So, yep, there’s more to TV than meets the eye. It can be an insightful and mindful experience if you open you eyes with intention. Watching TV can alert us to some of our crafted preconceived notions about ourselves and others. It can offer peace and healing through relation and offer a sense of community different from any community that reality could provide. So next time you feel guilty for binge watching TV, consider it instead an act of therapy and self-care.

2 responses to “TV Therapy”

  1. […] care of yourself whatever that looks like. Maybe it’s just watching a rerun of your favorite TV show. If it ends up being more, that’s great! Just be sure to preserve the original intent and […]

  2. […] it has everything to do with finding out what works best for you. Maybe it’s just a quick tv break. It’s important to stop trying to live everyone else’s life and start focusing on what […]

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