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A therapist and a filmmaker merge mental health with movie analysis in 'Cinema Therapy'

Licensed therapist Jonathan Decker and filmmaker Alan Seawright discuss psychology in movies.

"Have you ever heard of Cinema Therapy?" my college-aged daughter asked me one day. I had not. She proceeded to tell me all about this YouTube channel she's hooked on, in which a licensed therapist and a professional filmmaker—who also happen to be best friends—analyze movies together through each of their expert lenses. I was intrigued, so I checked it out.

Each Cinema Therapy video focuses on some psychological aspect of a film and runs approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Filmmaker Alan Seawright talks about the cinematics that lend themselves to emotional storytelling while licensed therapist Jonathan Decker talks about the mental health elements. With video titles like "MEGAMIND and Nice Guy Syndrome," "Ranking the Relationships in LOVE ACTUALLY" and "Psychology of a Hero: HULK and Anger Management," it's easy to see the appeal. Most people who love movies enjoy analyzing the heck out of the characters in them, and having people who actually know what they're talking about do so is too good to pass up.

Seawright and Decker met as roommates in college in 2005 and bonded over their love of cinema. More than a decade later, when Decker pitched the idea of creating Cinema Therapy (Decker describes that initial pitch as "a 'Siskel and Ebert' meets 'Mr. Rogers' kind of thing"), Seawright instantly envisioned what it would look like and why it would work. They were confident they would find an audience for it because of how seamlessly their two fields blend.

"Filmmaking is all about psychology," says Seawright. "Storytelling in general only connects with an audience when you’re able to help people feel something, and how and why people feel things is all about psychology."


Decker agrees. "There's a lot of psychology that goes into screenwriting, or good screenwriting at least," he says. "Creating worthwhile characters requires a knowledge of human thinking, feeling, and motivations."

Decker points out that people have always been drawn to stories, whether written or on stage or on screen, to learn lessons about their own lives. We live vicariously through characters, connecting with them emotionally and investing in their journeys.

"But since their stories are not our stories, we have enough distance for objective insight compared to when we're in the thick of our own problems," Decker says. "I see movies as a tremendous teaching tool for mental health, emotional wellness, and relationship skills."

Seawright and Decker have taken on toxic perfectionism in "Encanto," men's mental health and masculinity in "Fight Club," love versus obsession with Severus Snape's character in "Harry Potter" and more. In one of their more popular videos, they tackled the concept of gaslighting by showing examples of it in Disney's "Tangled."

Seawright and Decker analyze heroes and villains as well as romantic, platonic and familial relationships. And they frequently use characters to talk about mental illnesses and personality disorders, which is brilliant. By exploring real psychological and emotional realities through fictional characters, they can talk about individuals we're all familiar with without breaching anyone's privacy or personal boundaries. Judging by the thousands of comments their videos receive and the discussions that ensue, people love it.

That's not to say the channel hasn't received any hate. People can be fairly fanatical about films and characters they love, and people can also misunderstand or misinterpret things. Plus, let's face it, when you talk about certain emotional or psychological topics, some self-loathing fellow somewhere is going to react negatively.

Seawright gave their "ARAGORN vs. Toxic Masculinity" episode as an example of when some comments got ugly, but also brushed it off as an anomaly. "Unsurprising, but a pretty decent number of dudes calling us soy-boy cucks or some-such," he says. "Pretty funny, honestly."

Both Seawright and Decker say that their fan base overall is incredibly supportive.

"To put yourself out there on the internet is to be criticized and attacked, but it's a very small percentage," says Decker. "Most people are kind and appreciative, disagreeing respectfully when disagreements happen."

"I had no idea that our audience would be as supportive and wonderful as they are," says Seawright. "Not just to us, but to each other! Seriously, our comments section is one of the kindest places you can find on the internet. There are some trolls in there, but it's overwhelmingly loving."

"It’s weird," he jokes. We've all seen what a cesspool the comment section can be, so it's great to see a space where people are nice to one another.

Seawright and Decker have high hopes for what their viewers will take away from their Cinema Therapy experience.

"I want them to get tools to have healthy relationships, to healthily balance self-acceptance with self-improvement, and to know that getting help is a good thing," says Decker. "I also would love for them to gain a new appreciation for film, which is such a layered, stunning art form."

"I hope people will get hope out of it," says Seawright. "The film education I can provide is pretty meager, and isn’t going to be life-changing in any case. But feeling things with me, and learning about why/how you’re feeling things with Jono is a pretty lofty goal, and I think we’re doing an OK job with it."

After creating more than 100 episodes, the duo has no plans of stopping. They're having too much fun and people are enjoying their content. There's also no shortage of movies for them to talk about, and with mental health being such a hot topic, the therapeutic element of what they do adds value to people's lives.

"We exist to counter the negativity out there, to unify, uplift and entertain," says Decker. "We're sharing skills that change lives, and want people to have so much fun that it hardly feels like learning."

Check out one of their biggest hits—and most natural fits—as they examine the psychology, relationships, family dynamics and more in Disney's "Inside Out":

You can follow Cinema Therapy on YouTube and check out the website as well.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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Woman left at the altar by her fiance decided to 'turn the day around’ and have a wedding anyway

'I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness.'

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

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How a 3,800-year-old stone tablet helped create modern legal systems

'Innocent until proven guilty' isn't that new of a concept.

Kind of looks like the Matrix code...

The modern justice system is certainly not without its flaws, however most can agree that the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” is one that (when not abused) stands as the foundation of what fair due process looks like. This principle, it turns out, isn’t so modern at all. It can actually be traced all the way back to nearly 3,800 years ago.

historyLady Justice, the image of impartial fairness. Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

English barrister Sir William Garrow is known for coining the "innocent until proven guilty" phrase between the 18th and 19th century, after insisting that evidence be provided by accusers and thoroughly tested in court. But this notion, as radical as it seemed at the time, can, in fact, be credited to an ancient Babylonian king who ruled Mesopotamia.

During his reign from 1792 to 1750 B.C., Hammurabi left behind a legacy of accomplishments as a ruler and a diplomat. His most influential contribution was a series of 282 laws and regulations that were painstakingly compiled after he sent legal experts throughout his kingdom to gather existing laws, then adapted or eliminated them in order to create a universal system.

Those laws were inscribed on a large, seven-foot stone monument, and they were known as the Code of Hammurabi.

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via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


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