Animated Affinity Therapy

If I were to ask you to think of a childhood movie that you remember with fondness, what would that be…?

I would have to answer that my affinity would definitely be with animated movies! I always had a fascination with Disney/Pixar or any animated series. I can clearly recall as a young child going to my first big screen theater experience which was Disney’s “Snow White and the seven dwarfs” with my best friend. It had a profound impact on me and for months afterwards I would still be humming the tunes and playing out the scenes with my friend. As a mother I also observe my own children and notice the wonderment, excitement and imagination that watching an animated movie have on them. Walt Disney stated that “Animation offers a medium of storytelling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world”.  This ring true as I still enjoy a good animated movie on the days when I need a lift!

Life, Animated” by Ron Suskind is the story of how a family with an autistic son reconnected and grew together through their son’s affinity for animation. There are also studies done where Speech Therapists are using short 30-40 second segments of speech to teach language to learners with autism and learning difficulties. This inspired me to do more research into using Animation affinity more effectively. As a therapist I found that the children I am working with also expressed a love for animation and using their specific animated movie as a vehicle for therapeutic intervention was very successful. Animated movies capture not only the imagination of individuals but it also conveys a powerful message of important issues in society. Using the different elements such as visual; verbal/creative; music and movement that an animated movie consists of the therapist can utilize it for positive change. A visual description of how I categorize it is outlined below:

As an example here are some quotes from Disney characters which inspire and are used in therapy in conjunction with Solution Focused Therapy.

  1. “Venture outside your comfort zone. The rewards are worth it.” –Rapunzel (Tangled)
  2. “All it takes is faith and trust.” — Peter Pan (Peter Pan)
  3. “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” — Eeyore (Winnie the Pooh)
  4. “Even miracles take a little time.” — Fairy Godmother (Cinderella)
  5. “If you focus on what you left behind, you will never be able to see what lies ahead.” — Gusteau (Ratatouille)
  6. “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” — The Emperor (Mulan)
  7. “You control your destiny — you don’t need magic to do it. And there are no magical shortcuts to solving your problems.” — Merida (Brave)
  8. “A true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.” — Zeus (Hercules)
  9. “Don’t just fly, soar.” — Dumbo (Dumbo)
  10. “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” — Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins)
  11. “Life’s not a spectator sport. If watchin’ is all you’re gonna do, then you’re gonna watch your life go by without you” — Laverne (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
  12. “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.” — Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean)
  13. “Believe you can, then you will.” — Mulan (Princess Stories)
  14. “Today is a good day to try.” — Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
  15. “If you don’t know where you want to go, then it doesn’t matter which path you take.” — The Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland)
  16. “The things that make me different are the things that make me ME.” — Piglet (Winnie the Pooh)
  17. “It’s better to use your head than break your back.” — Ernst Robinson (Swiss Family Robinson)
  18. “Admit defeat, and defeat will surely admit you into permanent custody.” — Beret Girl (An Extremely Goofy Movie)
  19. “Listen with your heart, you will understand.” — Grandmother Willow (Pocahontas)
  20. “Your identity is your most valuable possession. Protect it.” — Elastigirl (The Incredibles)
  21. “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.” — Rafiki (The Lion King)
  22. “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — Winnie the Pooh (Pooh’s Most Grand Adventure)
  23. “If you don’t think, then you shouldn’t talk.” — March Hare (Alice in Wonderland)
  24. “Our fate lives within us. You only have to be brave enough to see it.” — Merida (Brave)
  25. “I’m only brave when I have to be. Being brave doesn’t mean you go looking for trouble.” — Mufasa (The Lion King)
  26. “Always let your conscience be your guide.” — The Blue Fairy (Pinocchio)
  27. “I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.” — Alice (Alice in Wonderland)
  28. “Happiness is the richest thing we will ever own.” — Donald Duck
  29. “Just because it’s what’s done, doesn’t mean it’s what should be done.” — Cinderella (Cinderella)
  30. “Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one.” — Grandmother Willow (Pocahontas)
  31. “Change is good.” — Rafiki (The Lion King)
  32. “The only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability.” — Remy (Ratatouille)
  33. “Remember, you’re the one who can fill the world with sunshine.” — Snow White (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
  34. “Do not be followed by its commonplace appearance. Like so many things, it is not what is outside, but what is inside that counts.” — Merchant (Aladdin)

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