A Short History of Bibliotherapy

Posted by Bijal Shah on

"Healing for the Soul"

The first origins of book therapy or bibliotherapy can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks, who built libraries holding both entertainment and educational books. Aristotle's literature was considered medicine for the soul. King Ramses II also had a dedicated chamber filled with books that was aptly labelled "House of Healing for the Soul".

In the early nineteenth century doctors were prescribing books for guidance and respite from suffering. Soldiers who were involved in World War One were reading to manage post-war trauma.

The practice expanded further in the 1950s when Carolyn Shrodes, author of 'The Conscious Reader' theorised that characters in stories can be hugely influential to those readers that identify with them.

In the late 1960s, poetry therapy emerged as a form of bibliotherapy; one of the most compelling books for the case is Rhea Rubin's book titled 'Using Bibliotherapy: A Guide to Theory and Practice.'

Book therapy or Bibliotherapy continues to be a powerful form of therapy employed globally by teachers, doctors, mental health providers, parents, librarians as well as spiritual and religious organisations.


Book Therapy offers an alternative to conventional therapy using the power of literature. We offer a confidential therapy session with a book therapist, exploring your current needs; prescribing both fiction/non-fiction literature. Or if you prefer we can simply curate a personalised reading list based on your needs. Contact us at bijal@booktherapy.io for a confidential, free initial session with a book therapist.  


Book Therapy is a participant in the Amazon EU, US and Canada Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

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