Bibliotherapy: How Reading Books Helps

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Bibliotherapy is a form of therapy that uses reading and other bibliographic materials as part of the treatment. Bibliotherapy is used to help people with depression, anxiety, and other emotional problems. It can also be useful in treating substance abuse disorders such as alcoholism or drug addiction. Recent studies have shown bibliotherapy to be beneficial for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as those struggling with terminal illnesses such as cancer or AIDS.

There are three main ways bibliotherapy has been proven effective:

1) by providing a distraction from feelings or thoughts which may be difficult;
2) by providing new insights into personal issues through identification with characters in a story;
3) by offering hope and encouragement through positive endings.

he bibliotherapist selects for each patient-specific book from which he or she will read aloud passages designed to have therapeutic effects on his or her emotional state.