Bibliotherapy: Healing Through Reading

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.” 

Johns Hopkins University School of Education indicates that bibliotherapy applies to using fiction, but Welsh psychiatrist Neil Frude expands that...

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