21 July 2011

Literary Blog Hop: July 21-24

Literary Blog Hop

Discuss Bibliotherapy. Do you believe literature can be a viable form of therapy? Is literary writing more or less therapeutic than pop lit or nonfiction?

Why can't literature be a viable form of therapy? I mean, they make you pop pills, shock therapy, keep a diary, why not read books?

Okay, so, we all have bad days, or down days, or rainy days. I get myself some tea, a blanket, and a book. Why not? You sit down and let yourself be taken in by a different world, a different story, a different cast of characters that aren't you family, co-workers, or friends. You're allowing yourself to zone out. It's sort of like a drug. It is acceptable that the world's population does whatever they are comfortable with to relieve stress. You can meditate, craft, garden, cook, what have you, and somehow it is a form of personal therapy.

I think that reading books should really be pushed for people in need of a mild form of therapy. There's a book for everyone out there, as I'm sure my readers will all agree with. Why not take a moment to do something relaxing, mentally healthy, and calm? I'm confident that allowing somebody who's experienceing any form of depression to peruse their local bookstore may help them. I'm not forcing a specific genre or prose on them, I' allowing them to be in control of what they want to read.

As far as writing goes, I'm not sure if there's a specific form that helps relaxation to bloom in certain people. While I believe that, yes, literary works are probably more self-evident and you are allowed to express more personal issues in them, pop-lit or nonfiction can easily be made readily available for people who are more comfortable writing as such.
Pop-lit I am well aware of being sort of... okay, really fake, and nonfiction is when you reach and grab from other sources. Literary writing makes you grab from yourself, and may be extremely healthy. (Well, I suppose it is. I write some-what literary goodies and I always feel better after I do.) I don't see how it really matters. A lot of therapists call for their clients to keep a diary. Writing a little more in depth is just a step further for a lot of people.

So bibliotherapy appeals to me for obvious reasons. I mean, look, I run a book blog for goodness sake. If I ran a blog about crafting with dried fruit, I would probably find therapeutic help in orchards.

Books and writing help, plain as that. Are they the answer to all problems? Of course not, but not every therapy can help every patient. Bibliotherapy may be the next break-through in mild therapeutic research. I only say this because in my days of having down times, it's worked for me.

What do you think?


  1. I agree. Reading and writing will always be effective tools of therapy, whether they are for pure distraction, or for identifying with a character in the story, etc. It's all there for an outlet, and I think Young Adult, nonfiction, etc., all categories play their part.

  2. You bring up a good point. We're book bloggers--we're readers! If anyone is going to champion the value of reading as therapy, it's going to be us. (Actually, we're probably addicted to books. We may need therapy!)

  3. Ha! Susan, your comment made me laugh.
    A question came to mind as I read your response here, Becca:
    If immersing myself in a book merely calms me down but does nothing to help me work through a problem or challenge for which I'm seeking therapy, then was the experience truly therapeutic or merely palliative? What I mean to ask is: Can we categorize an experience as therapy if it merely temporarily relieves some symptoms rather than offering the means to a cure?
    An open question for which I don't presume to proffer an answer...

  4. @ Laurie - When I said it was a calm form of therapy, I was trying to describe it as a form of therapy more people would be attracted to. (As aside from meeting with groups of people, taking medication, etc...)

    But I believe that reading/writing can produce long term results in people suffering from symptoms that in the past have required other forms of therapy.

    It's a case by case basis, I'm sure. For some people, keeping a diary will work better than being subscribed a medication. For others, a book won't help as much as weekly visits to a therapist.

    Long term care and not just a temporary distraction? Yes. For everybody? Probably not.

  5. I agree with you. Your key word here is mild and yes, reading is a brilliant way to ignore our problems for a while. Although it depends what you read. If I'm a bit low, I can get really affected by what I read because reading does that as well, it makes you think about our world...
    I enjoyed reading your answer!

  6. I think most of us "bookish types" have used books to help lift our spirits. We like reading, right? Freud sees creative writing as a fantasy, and the reader gets to participate in the fantasy as well.

    Come visit my post here.

  7. I think part of the answer has been given by several posters here-we are all book lovers-reading is therapy for us-some of us also have other passions from sports, to flower arranging etc-to me when I feel sad one of the best forms of therapy is just sitting with my cats!-


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