One of my favorite bloggers, The Passive Voice, reposted a piece about novel therapy:
British libraries offer full bibliotherapy services, including recommendations and exhaustive reading lists based on condition, to anyone, at every library in the U.K., at no cost.
Experts say books featuring characters or people that share a patient’s struggles can be an incredibly important piece of a larger treatment plan designed to give patients something a pill can’t always offer: Hope.
Bibliotherapy likely first came to the U.S. from Britain after World War I, English bibliotherapist Ella Berthoud said, when it was found that Jane Austen novels helped calm soldiers afflicted with PTSD (then called “shellshock”). Then, as now, the main premise of bibliotherapy is pretty simple: Personal transformation through reading.
I am occasionally told by readers how incredibly helpful one or another of my books has been in getting them through a tough spot, either through distraction (Beekeeper’s Apprentice seems to be a popular read-aloud for long hours by a hospital bed) or through inspiration (the reader who wrote to say she’d been clean and sober for two years after reading the passage in Monstrous Regiment where Russell smashes the hypodermic needle.) Such letters always leave me feeling very small and humble, that a collection of my words could serve such a function more profound than entertainment.
Do read the rest of this post, in the Deseret News, here.