The Movie Therapist

Movie Therapy: The Healing Power of Film

Movie therapy was pioneered by psychotherapist and Counsellor Bernie Wooder 20 years ago and is now officially recognised as a useful aid to counselling by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Both the international film community and UK media have grasped the idea that films can be more than just entertainment such that MGM and Warner Brothers commissioned Bernie Wooder to provide a therapeutic slant.

“We have all watched films and felt sad or happy afterwards,” says Bernie in his book Movie Therapy: How It Changes Lives he explains that an on-screen image can provide a way to discuss strong emotions and memories.

Movies can be used to help you to:

  • Identify problems and their solutions
  • Provide positive role models
  • Clarify relationship issues
  • In self-improvement and personal growth
  • Unlock unconscious and repressed feelings
  • Needing inspiration
  • Needing motivation
  • In presenting, teaching and education

Bernie says that nine out of 10 of his clients can name a film that’s moved them,
even if they’ve never thought about why.

Most of us watch films purely for entertainment but they can provide an effective resource to help us process problems. Seeing something you identify with in a film goes right to the heart in a way nothing else does. Once that happens, clients you may be able to reveal you deepest thoughts and feelings. Bernie can then, over time, help them to identify unconscious patterns, underlying problems, and help you to get your life back on track.

Movies are only one tool among many that help get to the roots of a client’s problems; it is not the only answer but talking about film is a simple and effective way for many people to tune in to their feelings.

Counselling and Psychotherapy

First and foremost, Bernie is a fully qulified Psychotherapist and Counsellor registered with the UKCP.

Career & Lifestyle Coaching

Through an initial self-assessment combined with on-going coaching , we will help prioritise what is important to you, achieving a balanced perspective that will capitalise on your most valuable resource - time.

Counselling and Psychotherapy

Through counselling and psychotherapy you can assess any aspect of your life – and decide what changes might be possible in order to get your life back on track.

Executive Counselling and Psychotherapy

Bernie Wooder has worked with many senior executives, managers and directors at all levels in an organisation and offers an individually tailored, totally confidential therapy service

EAPs (Employee Assistance Programmes)

An EAP is a strategic and cost-effective workplace programme designed to promote, maintain and restore the mental and emotional well-being of employees, using a variety of techniques such as counselling and guidance.

Training: Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a mind-body approach to life that helps people to relate differently to experiences, it helps to clear your head of information overload and allows you to focus on the present.

About Bernie Wooder

Live, love and laugh again. Learning to do that in our sessions together. As a Buddhist compassion is my guiding principle.

The cost of a hardened heart:
If you let yourself get cynical, you cut off from your heart. You cut off also from the nurture from your soul. Your appreciation is dulled and muted. A flower is not quite a flower anymore. The touch of a baby’s hand loses a bit of its magic. Connection with the life force is dimmed, as is the light in your eye. Meaninglessness beckons you towards depression and anger. Then anger management becomes a problem, effecting your marriage and work relationships. - Bernie Wooder, taken from his books “Movie Therapy how it can change lives” and “Psychotherapy, Buddhism and Movies”.

I am a qualified Psychotherapist and Counsellor registered with the UKCP, with 20 years of professional experience have included counselling, training therapists at Guys Hospital, London.

I have a down to earth and a common sense approach based on a full and varied life, of which compassion and empathy are my guiding principles.

Have you ever heard or have you ever felt these feelings - ‘I love you but I am not in love with you’.
This is an important stage for the future of your relationship. Because it indicates that people show their love in different ways and might not know their partners language.

I will help you let go of stress
Stress is the result of you getting yourself into a mindset that overwhelms you which in turn brings on anxiety and barely controlled panic.

  • It impedes your optimum performance in any task
  • It effects your personal relationships
  • Sleep
  • Appetite
  • Health
  • And general enjoyment of life

Frequent Issues that I will be able to help with:

You don’t have to deal with it on your own.

Are you angry with yourself?
Are you angry all the time? Find yourself upsetting your love ones and work colleagues and then you get angry with yourself for doing that but cant stop and it feels there is nowhere to turn? This is a common experience with anger, and help is available.

Relationship Issues
Over the last twenty years I have worked with many relationship issues. Difficulties with relationships take many varied forms, it can be at work, socially, or boyfriend/girlfriend. For some, it’s always feeling like an outsider. For others, it’s difficult connecting with people. Others, it’s feeling they’re not understood. For others, it’s not being able to receive compliments or nurturing in any way. Subsequently their confidence and self esteem is greatly affected. Feeling lonely, even in a group or at a party, is another.

All the above share the feeling that everyone else is OK and finds it easy, which only makes you feel worse. So we will work together as a team to discover what you need, or what may need to be expressed or learnt.

Couples Counselling
The film “The Way We Were” sums up a feeling many couples experience when things in their relationship start to go wrong. Deep hurt, sadness, anger, betrayal and confusion are just a few of the many feelings that can come up. Many questions also haunt you, such as “How will it affect the children?”, “What am I doing wrong?” and “Where will this all lead?”.

I provide a space and 20 years experience for you to explore these feelings and the questions with compassion and fairness. It takes courage to save your marriage or relationship. A fresh, non-judgemental approach can really help you see negative patterns of your behaviour and your emotional blind spots. And finally, where you may not be communicating properly. Many people are surprised that talking is not necessarily communicating.

I have just lost someone dear to me.
This is where you will need the most support, gentleness, understanding and space, whilst you go through the stages of grief which often last a year, some people its less and some people its more. But you need to know your not alone at such a painful time and that you can have someone you can connect with heart to heart. And because of the feelings and memories it brings up in you, you may not feel you can not speak to members of your family about it, either because you find it to intimate or you have realised they are going through exactly the same as you and you don’t want to be a burden.

My future looks dark and I don’t know where to turn?
First we will do some exploratory sessions to discover your options. We will then look at where they may conflict. With my support and experience we will work together as a team to find the best way forward and your life will gradually brighten.

I’m always under pressure and stressed out.
Our focus would be on your attitudes to what you do in life. Are you a perfectionist? Do you feel driven? Do you feel overwhelmed? The answers to all these questions will help you to gain control and handle any situation, thus lessening your stress.

I’m not in control of my life anymore.
We would need to explore together what being in control of your life actually means to you. If you have been in control before in your life what has changed?

I feel alone and isolated. Is this recent?
Or has it always been this way? Together we will look at your history in a comfortable, non-judgmental way and find out what can be done.

I need more confidence.
What would having more confidence feel like? How do you see yourself being confident? What would people be saying about you? How would you know when you had achieved it? The answers to these questions are your direct route to your confidence. Together we can do it.

I’m always on edge.
What do you have to be constantly ready for? Is it a form of excitement an otherwise dull life? Although these questions may shock you a little, if honestly answered it can help us to work together for you to feel more comfortable and relaxed.

I’m not managing my life in the way I want to.
There is an old saying “if you are not managing your life then somebody else is” Is this true to you? If it is why do you allow it to continue, if it isn’t did you ever manage your life? If you did what changed? Circumstances, you or both?

I’m frustrated because I am not achieving what I want to in my life.
You need help and support. To identify your goals, identify the heart of your frustration and the way you are going about trying to achieve your goals. Together we will work out a step by step plan for achievement of your goals and eliminating frustration.

We all feel ‘down’ from time to time.
Everyone feels ‘down in the dumps’ occasionally and there is often a simple explanation - we’re unwell, under pressure at work, there’s some conflict at home, or maybe someone close to us has a problem and we worry for them.

Often, an enjoyable night out or just a chat with friends can put it all into perspective and we can face another day refreshed.

But sometimes it lasts more than a day or two...
A problem can sometimes be more serious and seem almost impossible to shake off. It’s at times like this when friends and family may not be able to help - after all, they may have their own troubles or even be sharing the same with you.

But who can I turn to?
If you are feeling trapped and don’t know what to do, you would probably benefit from an expert’s independent and non judgmental point of view.

...You don’t have to deal with it on your own

Training, qualifications & experience

  • 3 years training Counselling - Herts Beds and Bucks Pastoral Foundation
  • 3 ½ years Psychotherapy training - Karuna Institute in Devon
  • 3 years Bio Synthesis Training

I have worked in Harley Street, Whittington Hospital Highgate.

I have also worked for MGM and Warner Bros as a consultant and is an author.

With 20 years of professional experience have included counselling, training therapists at Guys Hospital, London contributing to the UK media; ‘All in the Mind’ with professor Anthony Clare, two appearances on Richard and Judy plus many other documentaries on TV. On LBC with Jeni Barnett, Paul Ross, Jo Good and Steve Wright in the afternoon.

UKCP Registered
Member of the BACP

How to Contact Bernie

Call 02083 864846

If you ring and I don’t answer its because I am with a client - I understand it can be difficult to leave a message sometimes especially if you are going through a difficult period, so please do leave your phone number and I will get back to you and we can speak directly to one another.


Areas of Counselling I Deal With

  • Anxiety
  • Abortion Anxieties
  • Abuse
  • Affairs and betrayals
  • Anger management
  • Bereavement
  • Bipolar disorder/Manic depression
  • Bullying
  • Career
  • Child related issues
  • Couples issues
  • Debt
  • Depression
  • Emotional abuse
  • Generalised anxiety disorder
  • Low self-confidence
  • Low self-esteem
  • Panic attacks
  • Personality disorders
  • Phobias
  • Physical abuse
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Postnatal depression
  • Relationship issues
  • Separation and divorce
  • Sex problems
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexuality
  • Stress
  • Trauma
  • Work related stress

Therapies offered

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Behavioural therapy
  • Couples counselling
  • Existential therapy
  • Gestalt therapy
  • Humanistic therapies
  • Person-centred therapy
  • Transactional analysis
  • Transpersonal psychology