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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bibliotherapy

Bibliotherapy, to put it simply,  is dealing with your issues through reading.  Most of us probably practice some element of it, at least subconciously; for example, reading a humorous book to cheer up, or when we identify with a character in a novel that leads us to an insight about ourselves.

But it can also be a directed therapy, especially as The School of Life practices it. As their website describes it:
Make an appointment with one of our bibliotherapists to discuss your reading life – past, present and future. Perhaps you’re looking for a set of travel novels to inspire your next adventure, or you'd like to fathom an aspect of a current relationship through a short collection of essays. Maybe you’re feeling nostalgic and would like to spend six months revisiting classics from your childhood, or you’re seeking change and the opportunity to explore new worlds through a sampling of contemporary literature.

Whatever your concerns, dreams or challenges, we'll take exceptional care and effort to create a reading prescription that's perfect for you.
They're located in London so a quick pop-in is a bit out of the question, but they do phone consultations over Skype for £40.

ReadyMade Magazine editors put them to the test and it's interesting seeing what they were "prescribed" (and why):
 The books pictured above are for an editor who "loves Moby Dick, yearns to grow herbs on her fire escape, and publish her own book"; you can see the rationale behind each recommendation here.

The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library even has two books on the subject, one mostly for fun and another taking a more serious approach:
Bibliotherapy: the Girl's Guide to Books for Every Phase of Our Lives

Reading to Heal: How to Use Bibliotherapy to Improve Your Life




(There are more books in the library catalog if you're interested in bibliotherapy for children - it seems to be an especially helpful therapy when used with young people.)

Maybe I'll be a bibliotherapist in my next life - if my next life will also give me the ability to remember (and thus recommend!) the books I've read. I don't think telling people to read the book with the red cover about "the girl who does that thing in that place" will bring me too many clients *grin*.