Media Art as Therapy: When Movies and Books Become Treatment with Lisa Bahar LMFT & Jenni Ogden Ph.D.

Original Air Date Wednesday, May 20, 2020 

During this time of COVID-19 when we are being ultra-creative in finding ways to satisfy our needs and take care of our mental health, how are we affected by the media we ingest? Watching or reading stories of others overcoming adversity is a wonderful way to approach taking care of our mind, body, and spirit. But, does it make a difference if the story is complete fantasy or a documentary? To find out how our minds process characters and stories and to offer imaginative ways we can take care of ourselves amidst the COVID-19 crisis, Positive Psychology Podcast Host, Lisa Cypers Kamen speaks with two women who advocate for stories to heal distress. Lisa Bahar integrates cinematherapy into her marriage and family therapy practice. She describes how our minds are influenced by all types of media and how movies can relieve distress. And, Jenni Odgen who is well-versed in Bibliotherapy shares how fictional novels can spark psychological and emotional healing when we closely identify with a character in a similar situation to us.

Does something in this conversation resonate with you? Are you in need of a professional speaker who can elevate your tribe & enliven your culture? Lisa Cypers Kamen is an award-winning speaker, author & happiness expert who facilitates life-changing presentations for organizations of any size. The science is clear, happier people thrive in life. If you are ready to inject joy into your organization, find out which program is best for you at Lisa’s Live Events.

Lisa Bahar LMFT — Being Mindful of Media Intake
  • Exploring how film can be used to harm or help human psychology. [2:14]
  • Lisa shares her pandemic watch list, which consists mostly of heartwarming documentaries in which people overcome obstacles. [4:38]
  • Reality ends here: Being mindful of the media you expose your mind to. [7:20]
  • How movies and media activate addictive responses in the brain. [13:39]
  • Healthy, loving relationships are the key to a healthy physiological life. [22:22]
  • The younger generation is angered by the control the media has over their mind through technology and psychology. [17:42]
  • Open dialogue about the choices humans make when faced with distress and how movies can predict the future. [21:20]

Lisa Bahar, MA is a licensed marriage and family therapist and serves as an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology. Armed with a BA in Cinema-Television Production, she enjoys implementing cinema into a therapeutic process called cinematherapy.



Lisa Bahar

Lisa Bahar LMFT on Facebook

@lisabahar on Instagram

Lisa Bahar LMFT on LinkedIn




Jenni Ogden Ph.D. — Using Novels for Healing:
  • Jenni describes how books can help us through tough times and how Bibliotherapy works as a healing therapy. [29:52]
  • Why Biblio-therapists prescribe novels, not self-help books. [42:22]
  • Why reading fiction may have more therapeutic value than watching TV. [46:20]
  • How to find a therapeutic, fictional novel without a Biblio-therapist. [51:03]

Before becoming a writer of fiction, Jenni A Ogden, Ph.D. researched and taught clinical psychology and neuropsychology at the University of Auckland. She holds several doctoral degrees including zoology and neuropsychology. Her next novel, The Moon is Missing, will be published in mid-2020.

Book: A Drop in the Ocean & The Moon is Missing


Jenni Ogden

Jenni Ogden Books on Facebook

@jenni_ogden on Twitter

This episode of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio is sponsored by:


Are We Happy Yet? Eight Keys to Unlocking a Joyful Life — A guidebook for learning how to harvest happiness through self-mastery. Happiness waits for no one and sometimes we all need support. What is getting in the way of your happiness right now?


“If we view what we are watching in the media as similar to the food we ingest: if we are not aware of what we are consuming we become obese and sick. It's about what we are feeding ourselves.” @LisaKamen on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“There is a lot of uncertainty right now and I think we need a dose of not only stress inoculation but also a dose of joy.” @LisaKamen on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“We have an opportunity to do a digital detox and implement some neural plasticity.” @LisaKamen on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet “Life isn’t always a happy ending.” @LisaKamen on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“When we are reading a novel that completely engrosses us it can be euphoric. We want to savor it.” @LisaKamen on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“What programs are you feeding your mind?” @lisabahar on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“Documentaries can be much more profound than fantasy at this time. Fantasy serves its purpose as an escape but maybe that's not so healthy right now.” @lisabahar on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“Movies have a way of pulling in the mind to release control. One of the telling points of a good film is when you lose yourself in the movie.” @lisabahar on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“Be mindful of the journey you take your mind into.” @lisabahar on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“Movies have the potential to take on the craving center and lock it into a dopamine hit.” @lisabahar on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet “The younger generation has an awareness of how the media hijacks their brain.” @lisabahar on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“What exactly are you going through that is causing such an intense reaction? Test it by taking a digital detox.” @lisabahar on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet “Maybe we can connect, question reality, and start a new way of interacting. Movies can enhance that.” @lisabahar on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“How many of us read a novel and fall in love with a character? It can stop us from being lonely and it can make us happy for a time.” @jenni_ogden on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“In bibliotherapy, you are prescribed books they believe will help you find out more about your issue. It can be incredibly therapeutic.” @jenni_ogden on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet“The whole point of why people love stories is because it's a way they can rehearse how they behave if they get into a situation like it.” @jenni_ogden on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet “Sometimes, having our imaginations and emotions stimulated is exactly what we need.” @jenni_ogden on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet “Novels with too much detail are boring. We want to imagine how a character looks, feels, and sounds.” @jenni_ogden on @HH_TalkRadio Click To Tweet





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