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An Alcoholic Therapist's Fight
Publication Date: 2016-03-15
Highlights: Latest Titles
For Addiction Professionals
These pages promote the therapeutic use of reading, known as bibliotherapy. This tool was compiled by librarians who, without laying claim to psychiatric expertise, assumed the role of accidental bibliotherapists when patrons asked for reading recommendations. We hope it can also help addiction professionals better serve their clients. The project envisions reading and/or group discussion as a supplement to recovery programs and more traditional forms of therapeutic support, not a substitute.
Reading for Therapy in the Media
The Reading Cure, by Blake Morrison
"The idea that literature can make us emotionally and physically stronger goes back to Plato. But now book groups are proving that Shakespeare can be as beneficial as self-help guides. Blake Morrison investigates the rise of bibliotherapy."
Reading as a Form of Depression Therapy, by John Folk-Williams
"Have you ever heard of bibliotherapy? I’m always trying to identify ways to start working on recovery from depression, but I never thought much about one of the first steps I took – reading. I was surprised to learn that reading books for medical treatment dates to World War II, when it proved effective for wounded veterans. Bibliotherapy also seems to be helpful for depression."
Reading as Therapy What Contemporary Fiction Does for Middle-Class Americans, by Timothy Aubry (Book review)
"In Reading as Therapy, Timothy Aubry argues that contemporary fiction serves primarily as a therapeutic tool for lonely, dissatisfied middle-class American readers, one that validates their own private dysfunctions while supporting elusive communities of strangers unified by shared feelings. Aubry persuasively makes the case that contemporary literature’s persistent appeal depends upon its capacity to perform a therapeutic function."
Lessons from the Couch: Reading as Therapy, by Karisse Callender
"The first time I recommended a book to a client, I was a bit nervous about it, as I was not sure what the reaction would be. I read The Buddha and The Borderline: My Recovery From Borderline Personality Disorder through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism and Online Dating by Kiera Van Gelder when a few weeks later I had a client who I thought would benefit from reading this book. I offered the book as a suggestion since the client identified a few things that Van Gelder mentioned in her book. I explained what the book was about, clarified that it was not being suggested as a form of therapy but that it was to assist with seeing their struggle from someone else’s perspective, and offered the option to process chapters as they completed it. They accepted."
Training in Bibliotherapy
Although there are no officially accredited degree-awarding programs in bibliotherapy, several organizations have taken the initiative to train potential bibliotherapists, ranging from library-related groups to college programs in psychology all over the world. Here are some examples of such programs, which have not been evaluated or endorsed by the Reading for Recovery project, the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies, the Carnegie-Whitney corporation, the American Library Association, or Rutgers University Libraries.