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Cygnet Brunel’s Film Group improving social communication

At Cygnet Brunel, our neuropsychiatric service in Bristol, the Speech and Language Therapy team have organised and led a successful film group, with the aim of improving and practising social communication.

The group runs every Wednesday afternoon and so far, service users have watched the likes of James Bond, Star Wars, The Big Bang Theory, Dragon Ball (Anime show), Doctor Who, Fight Club and short films on YouTube, as well as many others.

Eve Shelton-Richards, Speech and Language Therapy Assistant, explains the purpose of the group: “During a group, we will watch selected clips from the film or programme and discuss our thoughts afterwards. The group is great for eliciting some thought-provoking ideas and makes for some great conversations!

“We then write some of the main thoughts down and rate the film out of 5 stars. Service users also write their goals for the group at the beginning and we re-visit these at the end of the group. Goals may include speaking louder, saying more, taking turns, initiating etc.

“The group provides a safe, quiet space for service users to express themselves, whilst having a tangible and visual topic of conversation (the film) which helps support conversation structure. For some service users, attending a group can be intimidating so they chose not to go. With film group, by shifting the focus onto a film, it reduces pressure to talk. For this reason, we invite the ‘harder to reach’ service users to join.

“Service users also request what they would like to watch, and this is a fantastic insight into what shows are out there and what our service users enjoy.”

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