Notes from An Alien

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Tag Archives: Books that Heal

#Books and Your #MentalHealth

Should we talk to a psychologist whenever we’re haunted or challenged by mental provocations?


Image Courtesy of Johanna Ljungblom ~

And, should we wait—keep plodding through a complicated life—till mental or emotional issues become full-blown mental health crises?

What if we could just find the right books to read?

And, what if they weren’t “self-help” or psychology books?

Back in March, I wrote the article, Can Fiction Really Be Good for What Ails You?

Here are just a few brief excerpts:

“You wouldn’t have a hard time convincing an avid reader that books are tools for life (not just escapist entertainment or exercises in abstract thought).”

“…that’s the thing about reading. Fiction has the benefit of allowing you to momentarily bypass the overwhelming burden of the self. It’s not about you. And yet it is.”

What’s being talked about in that article is Bibliotherapy—the Curative Power of Books.

What might trouble a few folks is that people set up bibliotherapy practices—what if they prescribe exactly the Wrong books?

Some complain about librarians acting as bibliotherapists.

In an article on a site maintained by workers at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh—Bibliotherapy and Me—this quote from the American Library Association is shared:

“The use of books selected on the basis of content in a planned reading program designed to facilitate the recovery of patients suffering from mental illness or emotional disturbance. Ideally, the process occurs in three phases: personal identification of the reader with a particular character in the recommended work, resulting in psychological catharsis, which leads to rational insight concerning the relevance of the solution suggested in the text to the reader’s own experience…”

The article also links to a listing of books related to bibliotherapy in their library

So, since I’m a person who’s learned to be wary of doctors (of the body or the mind) and cautious of folks who act like doctors, I thought I’d share links to those books (Not every book in their list—just the ones I feel an individual might use for themselves or their family…) so you could check them out (in a library if your book budget is broke…) and perhaps apply this therapeutic technique to potential mental/emotional difficulties affecting your life

Biblio-Poetry Therapy : The Interactive Process : A Handbook

Reading to Heal : How to Use Bibliotherapy to Improve Your Life

The Novel Cure : From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You

After the Crisis : Using Storybooks to Help Children Cope

Using Literature to Help Troubled Teenagers Cope with Abuse Issues

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