Reading is a skill that is developed and enhanced as we age. Many people enjoy reading stories and novels as a form of hobby or pastime.
For others, reading works of literature and articles help alleviate their work-related problems and set their body into a soothing mood. While for a few individuals, reading is a way to expand and assist their ever-growing writing and communication skills.
But did you know that reading any forms of books or literature can also help with your mental health?
A bibliotherapy is a form of therapy that uses reading and literary materials as a functional tool in addressing mental health problems. It uses a wide range of genres and themes of literary materials. This therapy seeks to aid some conditions such as depression, anxiety, and mood changes.
Dated way back in Ancient Greece, there has already been an idea that links reading to notions of healing effects and tranquillity.
But it was only in the year 1916 when Samuel Crothers coined the terminology. It means to define a set of literary materials and concepts that can be prescribed for different disorders.
If you are unaware of what to expect from your therapist, don’t fret. This therapy won’t require you to read stacks of books per day. The therapist will start with bibliotherapy by finding out more about you.
Specific questions will help assess and determine the mental or emotional problems you have. Your therapist then will recommend a set of books or literary materials related to your current mental state.
Choosing these literary forms is crucial and influential in bibliotherapy. So it is best to consult with a proven and licensed therapist in this type of psychological activity. Make sure too that your therapist is licensed and has enough background about this therapeutic methodology.
There are also various techniques that your therapist can use in a bibliotherapy session.
If you want to know more about bibliotherapy, its scope, definition, and how it can direct you to better mental health, check out the FAQs provided here below:
What is bibliotherapy used for?
Bibliotherapy is the therapeutic practice of using reading as a support tool in treating mental health issues. This is usually done as a supplementary treatment for depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. There is no definite genre used — it may range from fiction to self-help books.
What is cognitive bibliotherapy?
Cognitive bibliotherapy uses principles from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to assist reading. Restructuring thought and emotions, as well as breathing techniques, are common. Materials may also be aligned with CBT techniques to be practiced.
Is bibliotherapy evidence-based?
There is substantial evidence that bibliotherapy is an effective emotional and mental health treatment tool. There are professionals in bibliotherapy to facilitate treatment and healing. Physical effects related to reading, such as lowered blood pressure and heart rate, are also extensively studied.
Does reading decrease anxiety?
Reading is linked to reduced anxiety and stress. As a form of relaxation, reading can provide headspace for focusing and keeping negative thoughts away.
Who created bibliotherapy?
Bibliotherapy and the idea that books can provide a healing effect can be traced back as early as the Greeks. However, the term itself was coined in 1916 by Samuel Crothers to describe literature prescriptions for different disorders.
Who needs cognitive behavioral therapy?
Those undergoing treatment for diagnosed mental health conditions such as depression and eating disorders may benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) both as a tool or standalone treatment. Aside from this, people who want to manage their emotions and thoughts may also benefit from CBT techniques.
How much should you read a day?
About 15-30 minutes of reading a day are enough. Depending on your schedule and lifestyle, this short amount of time is doable for most people. You will see benefits such as better focus and improved mood from this short amount of time.
Can reading be therapeutic?
Studies have suggested that reading has similar effects to other relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation. A 2009 study from the University of Sussex shows that stress levels can be reduced to about 68% while reading. Physical effects include reduced muscle tension and blood pressure.
Does writing therapy work?
The results of using writing as a therapeutic method are well supported. Writing about stressful and negative events serves both as a record and allows the writer a new perspective on the situation. The act of writing itself is also a relaxation technique. A mental health professional may provide prompts and directions to assist in the process.
Reading helps in a variety of ways. Thus, it can be a very useful tool for maintaining a better perspective about mental health. A 2009 study found that at least 30 minutes of reading can decrease blood pressure, heart rate, and feelings of psychological distress.
Reading does not only give you a distraction from your present conditions and problems. It can also provide you a new perspective about your life. Meeting fictional characters or even biographies from esteemed personalities can help one aspire towards a more positive outlook in life, hence an inspiration.
Bibliotherapy can work for everyone, especially those who are interested in reading in general. This type of therapy can offer you the best experience and a more comfortable position. Through this, you get to heal while doing something you love.
Moreover, bibliotherapy can also work for people suffering from a mental health condition or emotional instability. This therapy can be both a stand-alone treatment or a supplementary method.