5 Ways Horror Movies Help Trauma Survivors Conquer Fear and Anxiety

5 Ways Horror Movies Help Trauma Survivors Conquer Fear and Anxiety

5 Ways Horror Movies Help Trauma Survivors Conquer Fear and Anxiety


Trauma survivors often struggle with fear and anxiety, which can severely impact their mental and physical health. While therapy and other forms of treatment are essential, have you ever considered that watching horror movies could be helpful as well? Surprisingly, horror movies have beneficial effects on trauma survivors, allowing them to conquer their fear and anxiety in various ways.

Enhancing Emotional Resilience

Watching a horror movie is an intense emotional experience, and trauma survivors can use this intensity to learn how to manage their emotions. Exposure to the terror and fear depicted in horror movies can help desensitize the audience by mimicking a controlled trauma exposure therapy session. The repetitive exposure allows the audience to gradually become more comfortable with their fear, pushing them towards emotional resilience.

Providing a Sense of Control

Horror movies often have a clear protagonist who faces an antagonist, ultimately proving victorious. This formula gives the audience a sense of control over their fear, as they watch the hero fight back against the villain. This can be empowering for trauma survivors, as it shows them that they can have control over the traumatic events experienced in their lives. It instills confidence in them in the form of visualization and reenactments for those who do not physically have control.

Encouraging Catharsis

Watching people experience trauma and horror allows survivors to confront their own fears and anxiety. They can empathize with the characters and experience empathy and understanding while expelling any pent-up emotions that have built up over time. By allowing themselves to feel afraid and face those fears, trauma survivors can release any negative energy or trauma that they may have been holding onto.

Developing Coping Mechanisms

Horror movies present viewers with a wide range of coping mechanisms that can be used when faced with fear. These mechanisms can include the protagonist's problem-solving skills, their resourcefulness, and their ingenuity shown when fighting the monstrous villains. This helps trauma survivors identify how the protagonists overcome their fears and translate these tactics into their own coping strategies when dealing with their daily stressors.

Fostering Self-Growth

Horror movies typically feature themes of hope, courage, and perseverance even in the bleakest of situations. It shows how characters can rise above their circumstances and come out stronger. This reinforces to the viewer that even though they may have experienced trauma, they can still overcome their fears and grow from their experiences.


In conclusion, horror movies can have surprising benefits for trauma survivors. They can help build emotional resilience, foster a sense of control, encourage catharsis, develop better coping mechanisms, and promote personal growth and resiliency. While horror movies may not be a substitute for professional mental health treatment, it's clear that they can be a helpful tool in a trauma survivor's journey.

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