Bibliotherapy – The therapy through reading

big city vs small city
Drawing by Adrian Serghie

   Uhm, no, I haven’t invented the word. It’s something that goes way back to King Ramses, but it didn’t had this weird name (source – Wikipedia). It seems that the name was “invented” by Samuel Crothers, or at least that’s what an The Atlantic Monthly article stated in 1916.

   Ok, the name is fancy, but the idea behind is pretty simple. The bibliotherapist selects reading material that is relevant to one’s life situation. It seems that reading things that resonate and apply to us has a cathartic effect, especially the fictional stories. Just as with the music therapy, the idea is not so surprising. What I find once again surprising is that such thing exists. It seems that there are people that read all day and they give to their clients things to read that apply to their lives. That’s it. And that person is called a bibliotherapist (what an awesome job!).

“Bibliotherapy can be performed using affective treatment techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and visual-based materials. Affective bibliotherapy relies upon fiction which can aid participants. By empathizing with a story’s character, the client undergoes a form of catharsis by gaining hope and releasing emotional tension. There can also be a connection made between the circumstances in a story and the reader’s own personal issues. This, consequently, leads to insights and behavioral change. Bibliotherapy using CBT relies mainly on self-help books which work to correct negative behaviors by offering alternative, positive actions. Visual-based materials, such as graphic novels, utilize both affective and CBT techniques.” – Wikipedia

   It seems that I’ve been using bibliotherapy on myself without even knowing how it’s called. Stories will always have huge impact on people, especially when we can relate to those stories. That’s how strong connections with fictional characters are created and that’s why we feel sad when we finish a great book.

   I’m looking forward to see what other types of therapies are there. What kind of therapy would you like to read about or invent?

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