The concept of book therapy

Posted by Bijal Shah on

The modern version of bibliotherapy

Book therapy or bibliotherapy is an age-old and time-tested method for using the power of reading to support better mental health and wellbeing, whilst remaining a cost-effective form of therapy.

From the ancient Greeks to modern day millennials, reading literature has often been recognised as a therapeutic medium with curative effects that harness the power of creative storytelling, poetry, novellas, personal development and self-help books.

The basis of modern bibliotherapy is the ability to prescribe the appropriate text for each individual (there is no size that fits all and each book selected must be based on the reader's personal choice and reading habits.) There are three stages to the selection process:

1.The individual needs to identify and connect with the text or relevant character.

2. The text needs to be able to help the individual connect with their emotion, allowing them to release these (i.e. provide for a 'cathartic response').

3. Provide insight to the individual's own situation based on the issues faced by the character/discussed in the text and allow the individual to consolidate these in a therapeutic fashion.

Whilst reading books from a prescribed reading list can be helpful, sometimes, a session with a book therapist alongside the prescribed text might be more beneficial for the reader, especially for more serious issues/mental health problems.

Here at Book Therapy, we offer both tools, from book prescriptions and therapy boxes to therapy sessions with our resident book therapist, Bijal Shah. We also offer all of these services for children.

If you are considering giving book therapy a go and this is your first visit, enter the discount code 'TENPERCENT' to receive a 10% discount.


More book prescriptions can be found at our A-Z of Book Prescriptions.

A big hello and thank you for reading! Passionate about literature, psychology, and life I launched Book Therapy as an alternative form of therapy using the power of literature. I create reading lists/personalised book prescriptions based on your individual needs, this is my signature personalised reading service. You can also check out Book Therapy’s other free reading lists and A- Z of book prescriptions (covering both fiction and non-fiction). These suggest books based on your existing life situation (e.g. anxiety, job change, relationship heartache) as well as interests (e.g memoir, historical fiction, non-fiction, crime etc). There’s also a Children’s A — Z of Book Prescriptions. Feel free to check out the blog for more literary gems. There’s also a post on my personal story of how I entered the world of bibliotherapy and book curation. I train mental health professionals, librarians, teachers as well as readers on using bibliotherapy in their own work through our online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health course. And if you’d like to connect, email me at or www.booktherapy.ioDownload the Book Therapy App filled with bibliotherapy resources and literary curation tools, it's perfect for book lovers! 

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, and

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