Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bibliotherapy II – Other Types of Books

What I want to talk about here is how bibliotherapy can be used by examining personal identification with a book or character, in a similar fashion as art therapy looks at a picture.

Looking at why a particular book or character is a favourite may aid in understanding the self more clearly. In novels where a character encounters a similar problem as the reader, there is opportunity to examine how each person dealt with the issue and what other possible solutions might be. Novels can be prescribed for such learning, examining how a character in a similar situation responds differently.

Reading itself can help with cognitive and memory problems; when you encounter a word you are not absolutely sure of, look it up in a dictionary; memorise a poem (preferably a positive one or one you can recite and work through in therapy). Also, of course, you are learning stuff along the way.

Books can widen your frame of mind and increase your empathy and creativity by showing you different cultures and ideas.

The more you learn from reading, the more your self-confidence will increase.

Reading can also be used in conjunction with CBT exercises such as pleasure and mastery skills and in distress tolerance.

Reading can be used to develop your social network, and cognition, through book clubs. It can help you develop social skills by going to a bookstore and asking for help. Libraries have regular literary events where you can meet new people. It can also be used as a way to bond with your child or partner.

I also review regular books here as well, so I’m not going to provide a list of recommended reading. What I do recommend though is to keep a variety of books on hand so if you find yourself in the mood for clinical literature instead of fiction, you have it there. You may find you enjoy reading different types of books at different times of the day. And don’t be afraid to read more than one book at a time.

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