Secrets of the Silverscreen: Finding Wisdom in Cinema

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

A six-hour seminar with Jonathan Young and Anne Bach. 

Watching significant movies can be major life events, sometimes altering our perceptions of reality. This workshop will explore our reactions to major titles. Much of the information in a film is visual and reaches us on an emotional level. The symbolism can carry psychological implications. Many SciFi classics, like the Star Wars series, follow the hero’s journey described by Joseph Campbell. Tales of otherworldly contact could suggest discovery of our own inner wisdom. Powerful stories can show us who we are becoming. We will discuss the structure of films for personal significance. Dr. Young will draw on his work as a psychologist and screenplay consultant to reveal the insights to be gained from movies.

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify how plot stages mirror key development tasks.
  2. Demonstrate how scenes from movies can be used to clarify specific life challenges.
  3. Explain the use of dream analysis methods to draw insights from favorite films.

Open to everyone. The course is not just for psychotherapists. It is open to all those interested in archetypal perspectives. The lectures are presented at the introductory level and require no background in mythology, narrative theory, or Jungian psychology. 


Jonathan Young, Ph.D., PSY10231, is a psychologist storyteller, and writer on mythic stories. He assisted mythologist Joseph Campbell at seminars and was the Founding Curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives and Library. His books and articles focus on personal mythology. Dr. Young is on the faculty of the University of Philosophical Research     

Anne Bach, M.S., MFT 38891 is a specialist in uses of writing in psychotherapy. She gives presentations on creativity as inner work at major conferences, and lectures widely on psychological dimensions of expressive writing. Her clinical background includes poetry therapy with residential mentally ill patients.   


In person: $140 with CE credit   ~   $95 non-credit

Webinar: $95 with CE credit   ~   $45. non-credit

Day Schedule

9:30 am Checking-in begins in Bookstore

10:00 Introduction to archetypal symbolism in films

~ The cinema narrative as window to the unconscious

~ Gaining distance to reflect on pressing problems

11:15 Break (approximate time)

11:30 The quest story as developmental journey

~ How adult psychological challenges are presented in movie plots

~ Tapping resilience by identification with characters

12:30 Lunch Break

1:30 Story and symbol in cinematic narratives

~ Mythological understanding of the main genres of movies

2:30 Break (approximate time)

2:40 Unconscious dynamics and the mythic imagination

~ Using films like dreams – as mirrors of adult issues

~ Withdrawing identification with dysfunctional narratives

3:50 Break (approximate time)

4:00 Deepening the therapeutic relationship

~ Selecting appropriate videos for homework

~ Limits and cautionary considerations

5:00 Course concludes – Total 6 hours (RNs 7 hours)

CE Credit Information:

The material is presented at an introductory level, requiring no background in mythic studies, narrative theory, or Jungian psychology. Non-credit: Those not needing verification of attendance, such as teachers, writers, clergy, and artists – are welcome as non-credit attendees. Spouses, friends, students, and others not needing verification of attendance can also choose the lower non-credit tuition. 

Continuing Education hours are available for psychologists, marriage & family therapists, social workers, nurses, and other mental health professionals. The course meets CE requirements in most states. The certificate of completion will be provided by the Center for Story and Symbol. 

The following CE credits are available:

Psychology, MFT, LCSW, LPCC : 6 CE hours, Nursing: 7 hours. Most teachers must get credits approved by their school administration. Credits are provided by the Center for Story and Symbol. Center courses meet the requirements in most states. 

CE Hours: 

Psychology, MFT, LCSW, LPCC, Ed Psych: 6 CE hours   –   Nursing : 7 hours  Approvals:  Psychology ~ The Center for Story and Symbol is approved by the American Psychology Association to sponsor continuing education hours for psychologists. The Center maintains responsibility for these programs and their contents. CE hours are accepted by the California MCEP program. Full attendance is required for psychologists – No partial credit. The level is introductory for psychologists. 

MFT, LCSW, LPCC ~ California BBS Provider Number PCE 3903  RN ~ Provider approved by the Calif. Board of Registered Nursing, BRN Provider Number CEP 12477 

Teachers ~ Continuing Education courses are customarily approved by immediate supervisors. It is usually sufficient for teachers to attend on a non-credit (auditing) basis and present a receipt for the course. 

The day does not cover Law & Ethics

Secrets of the Silverscreen — Click for Tuition Options: