While books are one of the main materials used in bibliotherapy, it actually encompasses all kinds of written language and visual aids that can help heal the body and mind. The writing or other forms of material tend to be emotionally and intellectually charged. Bibliotherapy is a form of developmental therapy that involves reading, learning new emotional, social and intellectual skills.
The main reasons that one chooses to learn bibliotherapy is to progress one’s concept of self, to get rid of pressures of the mind and emotions, to develop more interests, to stimulate and learn more about various human behaviors, to broaden options for dealing with a problem, to be able to express freely, to feel relatable or to adopt a way of appraising oneself.
Practitioners of bibliotherapy choose to conduct either individual or group sessions. Regardless of which type of session is chosen, the practitioner uses their expertise to encourage activities of introduction, allocates time for the material to be read, allows time to develop the ideas and follows up with a period of discussion.
The discussion period tends to include questions that reflect on the reading material, which allow patients to analyze, interpret, apply, combine and evaluate what has been learnt. The final step evaluates the client and allows for the clients to evaluate themselves as well. One-on-one sessions are more suitable for some clients while others are able to express themselves more freely if they are in a group setting. It is up to the practitioner to decide on the best approach.
It is essential that the practitioner selects books or materials that are of high literary standard. It is important they love reading and have acquired a wide knowledge of literature in order to be suitable for a practitioner role.
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