MFA: Pioneering video therapy in Jerusalem

The scriptwriting and filmmaking process enables people in therapy to express themselves and their inner world in an unusual way. (By Avigayil Kadesh)

Video therapy is a new form of psychological therapy through art pioneered worldwide eight years ago at the Ma’aleh School of Television, Film and the Arts in Jerusalem.

People – Including at-risk youth, minorities, new immigrants, trauma victims and special-needs groups – work with a specially trained Ma’aleh therapist and filmmaker team, learning to create films to explore their stories and issues, and discovering what their stories mean to them.

“Do a Google search on ‘video therapy,’ and you’ll come up with sites about documenting a therapeutic process on video,” says Yarden Kerem, who has headed, shaped and expanded the Video Therapy Center since her arrival at Ma’aleh three years ago.

“We use this instrument in a different manner – as a creative art instrument,” she says.

At the heart of each personal documentary -- an “I movie” -- stands the creator telling his or her life story through video art.