Bibliotherapy: Books as Medicine
DOCTORS PRESCRIBE lots of things in their professional lives: from tablets to exercise to specific appliances. Recently there has been a growing interest in prescribing books as a treatment for people with different conditions. Bibliotherapy, to give book prescribing its proper name, is defined as the use of reading material for therapeutic purposes. It is based on the concept that reading is a healing experience.Although in its broadest definition the term refers to a wide range of reading materials, it is often of a more directed kind, where the health professional recommends specific books about particular conditions.Writing also has therapeutic benefits. Scriptotherapy is well established in the US; there is a scientific literature around therapeutic writing in psychotherapy. Writing is quite different from talking. It helps patients work things out. It can create pathways to memories, feelings and thoughts – often ones they may not have recognised exist. But by becoming aware of ideas and inspirations, they are in a better position to express these.