What is Bibliotherapy?

I have found that people either enjoy reading or don’t. I believe that people who don’t enjoy reading just haven’t found a book they have liked - not that they don’t like reading. With the invention of smartphones, reading is less prevalent as our free time is now spent on our phones. Reading is an important pastime, and I encourage my clients to read many different genres.





Keep Reading to Learn:

What is Bibliotherapy?

How Can Bibliotherapy help?

Benefits of Reading

How to Start Engaging in Bibliotherapy?



What is Bibliotherapy?

Bibliotherapy is defined as the use of books as therapy in the treatment of mental or psychological disorders. Bibliotherapy is often used as a supplement for work done in the therapy room. Your therapist may encourage you to read a specific book to expand your knowledge on a particular topic. Although the subject is often discussed in relation to a therapist and client, bibliotherapy can be helpful when engaged by an individual outside of therapy.



How Can bibliotherapy help?

Bibliotherapy can easily be associated with nonfiction, educational books. This, though, is a misconception. Reading nonfiction books can expand our knowledge on a specific topic, while fiction books can allow us to read about the experiences of a character who has similar experiences to ourselves. This can be incredibly helpful for people. Research has shown that reading fiction increases empathy within a person. Research has also found that reading thirty minutes a day is just as effective as lowering stress as yoga.


Other benefits of reading include:

Improves brain connectivity

Increases vocabulary

Aids in sleep readiness

Reduces stress

Lowers blood pressure

Fights depression symptoms

Prevents cognitive decline

Contributes to longer life



How to Start Engaging in Bibliotherapy?

1. Start with books that interest you

Again, bibliotherapy does not have to only be educational nonfiction books. If those books tend to be harder for you to get through, pick up a fiction book where the character is struggling in ways you are. Perhaps it includes depression, anxiety, or maybe dysfunctional family relationships. You may find encouragement and strength in how the characters move forward.


2. Make it a part of your routine

You don’t have to go from zero to sixty. Instead of scrolling your phone before bed, try and read for 20 minutes. Bring a book while waiting to meet a friend. Allow yourself to be swept into the story and look forward to hearing what happens next in the character’s story. You may find yourself reading more and more throughout the week as you enjoy it more.

3. Include other comforting items

This is up to you! My comforts include coffee, tea, a candle, or a blanket. You may prefer to read at a coffee shop or the park. Whatever you find most comforting, do that!

4. Track your reading

I always find it helpful to track my reading on Goodreads. I record books that I have finished along with books I would like to read. You feel a great sense of accomplishment when you see all the books you have read over time.


5. Release yourself from pressure

Some people read slower than others, and that is okay! Read as slow as you need in order to comprehend. No one is counting. It is for you and your enjoyment.




Sources:

Goodtherapy

Reading Well

Healthline - Benefits of Reading

Increase in Empathy

Stress Management

Life Expectancy

Brain Structural