We all know about pet therapy, where one gets comfort and a sense of calm from having their pet go everywhere with them – car, plane, work, school, outdoor restaurant, etc. Well, how about bibliotherapy?
Yes, books can be therapeutic!
Writing books. Reading books. Being surrounded by books, authors, and book people is most soothing for me. How about yourself?
In the technical sense, bibliotherapy has evidence of reducing alcohol dependence, self-harm, and panic disorder. Basically, bibliotherapy is the act of intentionally using books to help us overcome a burden or challenge, to put us in a healthier frame of mind, and to alleviate stress.
Books can certainly help us resolve certain issues, either because the content specifically addresses an issue of concern, or because the act of reading allows us to relax. Reading stories that provide an opportunity for growth, escape, or enjoyment are as therapeutic as anything else. Bottom line: Does reading books make you feel better? Yes? Bibliotherapy, thank you!
Wikipedia describes bibliotherapy as such:
“Although the term
"bibliotherapy" was first coined by Samuel Crothers in 1916, the use
of books to change behavior and reduce distress has a long history, dating back
to the Middle Ages. When applied in a therapeutic context, bibliotherapy can comprise
both fictional and non-fictional materials.
bibliotherapy (e.g., novels, poetry) is a dynamic process, where the material
is actively interpreted in light of the reader's circumstances. From a
psychodynamic perspective, fictional materials are believed to be effective
through the processes of identification, catharsis and insight. Through
identification with a character in the story the reader gains an alternative
position from which to view their own issues. By empathizing with the character
the client undergoes a form of catharsis through gaining hope and releasing
emotional tension, which consequently leads to insights and behavioral change.
“Working with an imaginative journey and a specific selection of metaphors, proponents claim that a therapeutic story approach has the potential to shift an out of balance behavior or situation back towards wholeness or balance. A patient might also find it easier to talk about his issues if he and the therapist can pretend that they are talking about the character's issues. Proponents suggest that the story form offers a healing medium that allows the listener to embark on an imaginative journey, rather than being lectured or directly addressed about the issue.”
So, books are therapeutic, whether you realize it or not. They give us skills, provide knowledge, distract us from problems, share wisdom, provide mentoring and support, and allow for us to have a teacher, therapist, coach, and minister right beside us, 24/7, wherever we are.
We are never alone with good books.
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