Bibliotherapy | Healing Power Of Words
“Reading books you like can soothe an invisible wound that irritatingly bleeds one’s mood.” – Angelica Hopes
When I went searching for the best therapy to heal my mind and soul, I found my escape in something I never connected with therapy. By now you might have guessed what I’m talking about.
I found my healing energy in books. Never realized how much reading could heal a battered mind and a wounded soul. But that’s what happened.
When a person is struggling with issues related to the mind and soul, it gets difficult to make sense of the smallest of things. Literature as therapy is unheard of for the most part but it can help you by providing support and guidance – simply by reading stories.
By definition, bibliotherapy, or book therapy, or literature therapy is, “a creative arts therapy model that involves storytelling or the reading of specific texts with the purpose of healing.”
Therapy practices such as in-person therapy or group therapy involve bibliotherapy as a useful method to treat mild depression and mood swings. This method is effective for children, teenagers, and adults.
Storytelling, writing, and treading have been used as a therapeutic approach to healing the mind and soul for centuries. Literature has always been there. If you find yourself alone or lonely in your company, you can simply open a page of a book and escape to a whole new world.
In earlier times, reading was just another hobby but in modern times, reading is therapy.
The difference between bibliotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is that bibliotherapy is a part of the treatment process. It acts as a supportive module to other forms of therapy. The best part of book therapy is that, in a group therapy setting, you get to discuss your opinions of the literature with like-minded people.
This therapy model helps in improving communication and encourages social interactions for those seeking treatment for social anxiety.
What Happens In Bibliotherapy?
Bibliotherapy involves three key components: a book, a therapist/counselor, and the client/patient. The client and the counselor discuss the problem i.e, stress, depression, or any other mental or social disorder, and then the counselor would, more or less, “prescribe” a book that is suitable to the client.
In addition to this, the counselor has to make sure that the book is relatable to their client and that they identify with the protagonist of the book. Helping the client understand to co-relate with the protagonist is the main aim of the therapy.
Bibliotherapy helps a person to raise compassion, insight, self-awareness, and self-growth. There are websites and platforms online that can help you pick a book to read based on your dilemma. For instance, Goodreads has a list of recommended books to pick from. Lists like: Comfort Reading: 12 Books For Peace Of Mind and Books For Lonely Lockdown Days.
Book therapy can be comprised of:
- Limited Bibliotherapy- includes self-help materials such as workbooks or specific reading materials.
- Book Prescription- includes books specifically “prescribed” by a therapist or a counselor.
- Artistic Bibliotherapy- includes novels, poetries, short stories, plays, and biographies to improve intellectual wellbeing.
Benefits Of Bibliotherapy
Book therapy can help in many ways:
- It helps you to gain personal insight into the challenges you are facing. It helps you develop strategies to help with the problems and improves decision-making skills and increases self-awareness.
- Bibliotherapy helps you to understand how others see and deal with problems similar to yours. It helps you sympathize and identify with the characters and people in a book on an emotional and mental level. It can also act as a guide to help you navigate through your challenges.
- Reading helps in increasing empathy, enhancing cognitive functions, and influencing positive behavior.
- Book therapy is also one of the most cost-effective options for the treatment of various mental and social disorders.
What Can Bibliotherapy Treat?
Bibliotherapy can be helpful in treating:
- Anxiety disorders
- Substance Abuse
- Eating disorders
- Grief and loss
- Relationship Issues
- Trauma and PTSD(post-traumatic stress disorder)
Reading is not just to sharpen the mind or increase knowledge. It can also be helpful in treating various disorders – mental and social. Bibliotherapy can be provided by your therapist in different ways and techniques. Mostly, this therapy is combined with other forms of therapy.
Bibliotherapy can be administered in a group setting or individually. It is helpful in increasing social skills and cognitive skills among raising empathy and compassion.
Books have been my therapy for my depression and they have helped me understand and become aware of myself. Reading opens your mind to different perspectives and views and lets you understand the world a little better.
Books are your non-judgmental friend/therapist that will welcome you with open arms to a world unknown and unexplored to you. Reading books changes how you think and behave and what better therapy there is than books?
Do words have healing power? I believe so! Read good, stay happy, and keep an open mind. There are so many things you have yet to explore.