Bibliotherapy is the prescribed reading of specific literature for thereputic purposes.
While it has only been defined this way for a short while, human beings have engaged in bibliotherapy for as long as we have physically recorded stories; ancient Greeks once called their libraries pharmacies containing ‘medicines for the soul’.
Bibliotherapy involves texts being prescribed at times when they may prove most thereputic to an individual, and they can prove useful in a variety of ways.
Some stories model growth, others inspire hope and some may offer nothing more than an unexpected but necessary lens through which to understand a situation.
Often, this process follows a regular formula: a person will go through a process of identification, as they realise that the text has some relevance to their own experience; followed by a sense of catharsis as the relationship between the literature and the reader develops into a meaningful exchange; and then insight. The reader walks away from their experience with some understanding they did not possess beforehard.