Wrestling Ghosts

Wrestling Ghosts is an intimate and heart-opening documentary about parenting, childhood trauma and healing.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
93 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL


Wrestling Ghosts follows the epic inner journey of Kim, a young mother who, over two heart-breaking and inspiring years, battles the traumas from her past to create a new present and future for her and her family.

Featured review

Wrestling Ghosts is very moving and very stirring—a real accomplishment. The portrayal both of mental suffering and of therapy is profound and beautifully done.
Andrew Solomon
Author of The Noonday Demon & Far from the Tree


PLEASE NOTE: IF YOU ARE ARE NOT A LIBRARY, COLLEGE or UNIVERSITY, PLEASE VISIT WWW.WRESTLINGGHOSTS.COM TO PURCHASE A LICENSE (This is for K-12, not-for-profit, clinics, businesses or governmental bodies and other community partners who want to organize public screening or staff training.)

In this intimate portrait, Kim shares deeply personal moments that most of us keep secret in shame, and invites us into her counseling sessions. With her counselors’ help, Kim opens up to new ways of thinking and uncovers what has blocked her from experiencing the joy and connection she most desires. She learns about the impact of childhood trauma on her brain, and how, tragically, this very damage causes the trauma to be passed on to her own children. Armed with knowledge and compassion, she pursues new strategies to heal herself. Wrestling Ghosts provides audiences a rare opportunity to bear witness to the healing process and to experience a shift from judgement and blame to understanding and compassion.


This powerful film provided students in my Anthropology courses an opportunity to think anew about mental health, emotional well-being and how these shape all of our social relationships. So many college students today are suffering from a variety of emotional disorders or are members of families where someone is suffering; Wrestling Ghosts allows them to see how one woman works through her illness. My students were so thankful for this film, and its impacts reverberated, positively, throughout our campus, de-stigmatizing illness, and helping us all better understand the world we live in.
Dr Melissa Johnson
Professor, Anthropology and Feminist Studies, Southwestern University.
Wrestling Ghosts provides an excellent resource for all of my courses. The demonstration of communication skills and self-care are helpful resources for my students who are planning to be ministers, chaplains, activists, and working with nonprofit organizations.
Pr. Cheryl A. Giles
Francis Greenwood Peabody, Senior Lecturer on Pastoral Care and Counseling Faculty, Buddhist Ministry Initiative, Harvard Divinity School
I was so moved by Wrestling Ghosts that I decided to take two class periods to show the whole film to my entire Lifespan Development class. My students were moved profoundly and found many connections between themes we discussed in class and the film. Many brought up the film at later points in the semester. Wrestling Ghosts is a phenomenal film that I believe will have profound and positive impact on the lives of students and faculty alike.
Dr. Rebecca North
Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology at Southwestern University.
I highly recommend Wrestling Ghosts for all school staff, educators and nurses. It's a must-see to understand the impact of childhood trauma on our students and to develop new capacity for supporting our most vulnerable students. Wrestling Ghosts is a riveting documentary that it uncovers the why of much of the behaviors we are seeing in our students. The multi-generational story of Wrestling Ghosts provides an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding and a renewed compassion not only for our students, but for their caretakers, and with that, more capacity for responding to our students and their families in ways that will truly support them. Last, but not least, Wrestling Ghosts reminds all viewers who are in care-taking roles of the need (and the how!) to heal their own childhood wounds, not only in order to be happier in their own families and lives, but in order to be able to be present for the most vulnerable of students in their care.
Robin Cogan
MEd, RN, NCSN; Nationally Certified School Nurse; Faculty Rutgers-Camden School Nurse Certificate Program; Johnson & Johnson School Health Fellow

Awards and Screenings


Director Commentary

Wrestling Ghosts provides a rare opportunity to witness the healing process. Wrestling Ghosts is an experiential movie: the audience gets to feel themselves move from judgement to compassion, to reflect on their own lives, and to observe the ups and down of recovery.

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning
  • Resources for Educators

Subtitle/Caption Languages

  • Spanish

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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