Friday, August 16, 2013
Bibliotherapy: When A Good Book is All You Need
Bibliotherapy, also known as Reading Therapy, is the inclusion of books to help a child or adult move through emotional experiences. From fiction, non-fiction, poetry or pictures books - a good dose of literature can really provide support and education.
Historically, bibliotherapy dates back to the 1930's when librarians began compiling lists of written material that helped individuals with trauma, thoughts, feelings or behaviors for therapeutic purposes.
I often use bibliotherapy to help people I work with move through difficult events or traumas, like death, divorce, chronic illness, teasing or hospitalization, just to name a few.
Generally speaking, bibliotherapy is designed to do the following:
* provide information
* provide insight
* stimulate discussion about problems
* communicate new values and attitudes
* create awareness that other people have similar problems
* provide realistic solutions to problems
Tips for Using Bibliotherapy
1) Do a "need" inventory. What is it that you or your child is struggling with? Sleeping issues? A loss? Bullying? Maybe your teen needs guidance in the dating world. Or your partner is facing a medical diagnosis. Zero in on the issue at hand so you can streamline your bibliotherapy search.
2) Google it. Now that you know what theme you're looking for, do an online search for books on the subject. You can also search online book stores and book lover websites for best selling books.
3) Set aside time. Once you have your book, make time to read it. If it's for your child, encourage but don't command the reading of it. Allow curiosity to take hold.
4) Quiet your mind and reflect. After you've completed reading, still your mind and reflect on what you've learned. Whether it's new information, tips or techniques, give yourself space for them to find a comfortable place within you.
5) Reach out if reading isn't enough. Though bibliotherapy is a meaningful experience, sometimes it doesn't completely offer all the help you need. If so, consider reaching out to a professional for further support.