Skip to main content

Bibliotherapy: Healing Through Reading

This post contains affiliate links. That means I am about to recommend some things I like, and I may receive a commission if you buy anything through these links (at no extra cost to you). I only recommend services and products I know.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss books are probably the first books we remember as a child. His way of explaining the world was incomparable to anyone else. Dr. Seuss knew of the power of books, and what reading does for us humans.  What he said is true: reading can take you anywhere at any time. Your brain becomes active, and you feel like you are a part of the story, no matter what you are reading. Reading has been one of my guilty pleasures, my escape from reality when I needed one. Bibliotherapy has been used for thousands of years as a healing module. This blog takes a look at the history of the amazing therapy, and how it can be used in a holistic treatment approach.

The History of Bibliotherapy        Bibliotherapy is the use of books and reading to calm our souls.            

Bibliotherapy is the use of books to encourage healing, improve emotional wellness and treat mental disorders. The concept is not new. In ancient Greece, the library of Thebes was considered “a healing place for the soul.”
In 1916, Atlantic Monthly published an article called “A Literary Clinic” where the author shares a conversation with friend, Bagster, who ran “Bibliopathic Institute: Book Treatment by Competent Specialists.” Bagster explained that not all books have a therapeutic effect, but some
he considered “stimulants” which “do not so much furnish us with thoughts as set us thinking. They awaken faculties which we had allowed to be dormant. After reading them we actually feel differently and frequently we act differently. The book is a spiritual event.”

SHAPE ReClaimed uses Bibliotherapy, along with other alternative therapies to heal the mind, body, and spirit.   Bibliotherapy Today.

Most resources indicate that bibliotherapy only applies to fiction, but SELF ReClaimed and Welsh psychiatrist Neil Frude expand that definition.
In 2003, Frude discovered that his patients who were reading self-help books about their own conditions, namely depression, was serving an almost identical function to meeting with a therapist face-to-face. He used the term “magic” to describe the efficacy of bibliotherapy. The
National Health Service doctors in England actually began “prescribing” self-help books to their depressed patients as part of a national program in June 2013.

The Objectives of Bibliotherapy                                                                                                                                              

The objectives of Bibliotherapy include:
1. Increase your understanding of human behavior
2. Develop your self-concept
3. Help foster an honest self-assessment
4. Inspire you to find interests outside of yourself
5. Experience emotional or mental relief
6. Give you a sense of belonging by reading about others’ similar experiences
7. Show you different solutions to a problem
8. Help you engage in open conversation
9. Aid in a course of action to solve a problem
10. Teach new skills for easier life transition

What books are the best for Bibliotherapy?

Any book can be used in Bibliotherapy. Many people choose Religious readings to help calm the mind. Some people are really in to self-help books. If you suffer from depression, a comical book may be best to help lift your spirit. Here are a few that I recommend in my practice as a SHAPE ReClaimed practitioner:

The Holy Bible: As a Christian practitioner, I always start with scripture if my clients are of the same faith. The Bible has amazing historical accounts of how people through the ages have dealt with adversity and overcome fear and anxiety through faith and prayer.  People of any religion can go to their own religious writings and find what they are looking for. There are many different versions of the Bible for different learning styles, easy to read, and large print. Click here to pick one!

Click here to get your copy!

Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do ~This book talks about what drugs do overtime to our bodies and natural alternatives for treatments. It is an amazing resource for those who want to decrease the amount of medications and use alternative therapies that have been tried and true over many generations.

Click to get your copy!

Habits of the Mind: Ten Exercises to Renew Your Thinking ~  This book talks about changing your mental mindset leads to a healthier, happier life. The author teaches us that how we think dictates our wellbeing. Changing our mindset leads to better health, a deeper spiritual mentality, and an overall sense of wellbeing.

Click to get yours today!

Living the Spiritual Principles of Health and Well-Being~ Authors Rogers and Barr give a holistic viewpoint of health and wellbeing. They break down health and wellness through 8 spiritual principles to help you deal with  stress, fasting, stretching, breathing, laughter, acid and alkali balance, and the effect of sugar on the body. This is one of my favorite books as a holistic nurse, as they incorporate modern medicine with alternative therapies.

Get your must read copy today!

Real Fibromyalgia Rx~ If you have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic Pain, or suffer from muscle aches and pain, insmonia, and menopausal symptom, this book is a must read! Dr. Dan Purser studied these ailments and through research found that those of us who suffer from the symptoms of these illness really only have one problem, which is buried in the Pituitary Gland. This book will not only help you become more educated about your illness, but also ease your mind that there is hope for treatment.

Click to get yours copy today!

   The Blood Sugar Solution~ Dr. Mark Hyman is one of my favorite doctor-authors. He gives you sound medical advice in laymans language so those of us who are not doctors can understand. In this book, he discusses the seven keys to wellness and how to obtain lifetime wellness.

These are just some examples of books to use for Bibliotherapy. Basically, any book that is of interest to you can be used. As a SHAPE ReClaimed practitioner, I focus on what interests my clients in order to increase the therapeutic outcome of reading.

Bibliotherapy and SHAPE ReClaimed

Bibliotherapy is one of the three successful therapies used in SELF ReClaimed along with Positive Psychology and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Inside the SELF ReClaimed toolkit, you will find over 150 great book titles that focus on 33 words/topics such as Love, Willpower, Joy, Faith, Freedom and Peace.  At Yarrow Hills Essentials. we incorporate the SHAPE ReClaimed Program with herbal, plant, and essential oils remedies to help treat you holistically. We do not focus on what is wrong, but we get to the root cause of what is not right. We can work with you either in our home office in Suffield, Ohio, or remotely from anywhere in the United States! Contact me today for a FREE CONSULTATION.
You can also find several book recommendations from SHAPE practitioner.

SHAPE ReCliamed Certified Practitioner

Andra Johnson, BSN, RN is a Certified SHAPE ReClaimed Practitioner. She has a Bachelors of Nursing Degree from Aspen University, and a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Kent State University. Andra has worked with psychiatric patients and in long term care for over 25 years. Andra is also certified in the use of essential oils and herbal remedies. This post is for informational purposes only. ALWAYS seek the advice of your physician before starting any wellness program. As your SHAPE ReClaimed Practitioner, I would be happy to coordinate care with your medical provider.