Hopefully, you’ve begun to feel really good about yourself and the steps you have been taking to heal yourself. The reading you have been engaged in has helped you in many ways. Do you believe in the power of bibliotherapy? Let us know.
As generations of book lovers will tell you, literature transforms us. If pressed to say exactly how, most of us will mutter something about perspective or the experience of entering another person’s consciousness. But all would agree that our best-loved books have in some significant way changed us for the better.
Author Alain de Botton (Religion for Atheists, How Proust Can Change Your Life) and his partners at the London-based School of Life have taken this intuition a step further. Their “bibliotherapy” program matches individuals struggling in any aspect of their lives with a list of books hand-selected to help them through tough times. You get your reading list after an initial consultation with a bibliotherapist in which you discuss your life, your reading history, and your problems.
No, there’s no training program – the three bibliotherapists currently on staff include a longtime small bookstore owner, an author and an artist. And of course, they’re all avid, lifelong readers. No there’s no objective measure of the results – all the (abundant) evidence of bibliotherapy’s efficacy is anecdotal. And no, bibliotherapy is probably not the best remedy for schizophrenia.
What it does offer is distance from and perspective on your troubles as you view them through the lens of other people’s lives. The people are mostly fictional (though some non-fiction is also prescribed) but they’re dealing with issues just like yours and almost certainly approaching them differently.
Source: “Anxious? Depressed? Literate? Try Bibliotherapy.” By Jason Gots. http://bigthink.com/