Lots of light through big windows, tall ceilings and being situated close to the heart of downtown Bedford was on the list "musts" when searching for our family home. Our needs seemed well defined and our real estate agent (who has become a wonderful friend) located the perfect home for us.
Feel good date nights were often a local movie and dinner on a Friday night. A time to re-connect, relax, and use the movie as dinner conversation. Our vision was to walk, holding hands on nice evenings to the Bedford Playhouse and we did this for a while. One day our wonderful friend the real estate broker shared the news that the movie theater would shut down. Real estate agents know everything first in a small town.
Moving, changing, rebuilding and growth when expectations are not met is pretty much what therapy can be. We did not move, we grew in place. Discovering new movie theaters, new restaurants, watching children leave for college and filling up the spaces they left behind became a new journey with new goals. My current office is a re-use of my son's bedroom!
Along the way, I worked with an 11 year old boy with an extensive trauma history who taught me the power of movies. He entered the therapeutic relationship with an inability to use words to describe his childhood experiences. Anger and violence toward those he loved became his tools of communication to signify his pain. Children who experience trauma events before they can speak often cannot put words to their feelings of distress or narrate what happened to them. In building a largely nonverbal relationship with this young client, he suggested we watch movies during session. We struck a deal, he would allow me to pause the movie every 10 minutes or so, and he would identify his feelings in the minute by using a feelings vocabulary list. Over the course of 7 weeks and one movie, the client learned to name and share feelings. His adoptive family noticed a reduction of violent outbursts in this period of time and he was able to navigate his way to feeling safe through the course of trauma therapy that combined CBT and creative expression over the next several months. Supporting families to emerge from trauma with strength and new depth is a joyous experience.
Movies do have the power to aid healing, the power to create intimacy, the power to open up one's experience of the world and expand options. I am thankful that the Bedford Playhouse is returning to our town and thankful that I was able to grow from it's absence.