Friday, April 16, 2010


Evidently bibliotherapy used to be all the rage. Instead of medication or perhaps more traditional therapeutic techniques, persons with some sort of mental and/or emotional issues would be told to read certain things. Seeing the characters navigate their own quote-unquote stormy waters would, at least in theory, provide the reader with opportunities for reflection and closure.

Emma Thompson, that great British actress, has talked a bit about how writing the screenplay for Sense and Sensibility was pseudo-bibliotherapeutic. And there does indeed seem to be a school of thought that Jane Austen in particular has remarkable self-healing properties.

What about you? Do you indulge in bibliotherapy? What books do you self-prescribe?


  1. I definitely indulge in the ol' bibliotherapy. My comfort reads are Katherine Mosby's "The Season of Lillian Dawes" (because I've read it so much that I feel a bit like I live inside it), John Irving's novels (comforting in their sameness and their deep world-building). My newest self-prescribed book is "Gilead" because it reminds me of the beauty and fragility of life, and why I shouldn't such a mood-killer sometimes.

  2. I have to give this more thought. I've discussed bibliotherapy quite a bit in classes, but I have never really considered how I use it.