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Bibliotherapy: Life, Books, & Therapy

Do you enjoy reading? Is it easier to connect with yourself and the world through literature?

Have you attempted to engage in therapy in the past but could not fully connect or benefit from

the treatment approaches you’ve tried? Perhaps it was difficult to find the words to describe your

experiences. If so, bibliotherapy might be for you. Below are frequently asked questions about bibliotherapy.

What is Bibliotherapy?

Bibliotherapy is the use of books for therapeutic purposes. Bibliotherapy has

been around since the early 1900s when books were being prescribed as a treatment for

various mental illnesses. Literature has been used to help create a bridge between ourselves,

experiences, and emotions, and to make meaning of the story by analyzing and creating different


We are all diverse and unique, therefore we all process and make sense of our lives in different

ways. Some people process their experiences through literature. By interpreting how literature

relates to our issues, we are able to develop language to describe our concerns and needs. By

engaging in a conversation we also receive therapeutic feedback that allows for the nurturing

of self-insight, understanding, connection, compassion, and further reflection. Bibliotherapy

provides a sensitive method of mirroring positive experiences and providing clarity of personal


Literature can also provide validation. It helps us find support by realizing we are not alone in our

experiences. This not only helps us connect to the world in a unique way but also to ourselves

and in doing so improves our self-esteem and send of personal agency. Although books serve as a method of escaping, through bibliotherapy we are finding a new way of confronting difficult emotions, experiences,

and thoughts that perhaps have been avoided thus far but are no longer healthy to ignore.

How does it work?

Reading material for bibliotherapy can be fiction, non-fiction, short stories, poetry, and/or memoirs. A bibliotherapist determines a book after an assessment of their client's concerns and strengths has been completed. Clients may also have a book in mind that is meaningful and would like to bring it to therapy. While engaged in bibliotherapy there are other modalities that may be implemented in conjunction with bibliotherapy. During sessions, a bibliotherapist may focus on the concepts or experiences that resonate, analyze characters, explore values, and morals, challenge different narratives

Who does it benefit?

Anyone who loves to communicate through books can benefit from bibliotherapy. Bibliotherapy can be beneficial for all sorts of mental health concerns. Literature can be helpful when struggling with depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, generational trauma, childhood trauma, and much more.

If you are interested in learning about including bibliotherapy into your treatment please schedule a consultation with Thelma Razo, Bibliotherapist.


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