The Refined Reader aims to take a look at the journey to where we are as readers today. It's part history, part commentary - providing a brief, conversational summary of various aspects of our bookish past and comparing it to how it has affected us in modern times. I love history, but I am no historian, and while I plan to do my research, if there are any errors, please let me know! This is as much a learning venture for me as I hope it is for my blog visitors!
The effectiveness of bibliotherapy really seems to stem from how helpful it is to get a new perspective on things. Reading is an internal process so it is useful in focusing the reader on examining 'self' and coming to terms with their emotions through the expressions of literature. Modern views on bibliotherapy place it as an effective method of cognitive behavioral therapy to encourage people to replace maladaptive thinking with rational and realistic thinking. Bibliotherapy has been seen to positively treat OCD, bulimia, emotional disorders, alcohol addiction and depression for older people.
I think for avid readers, the idea of bibliotherapy is not new at all. I know I can feel better curling up with a good book after a hectic day, and being able to experience new things through books is a great way to forget about everyday sadness. And this post came about because I was interested in the scientific aspect of why bibliotherapy works (which is only briefly and superficially examined here) and it's really comforting to have it confirmed how much reading is a positive and healthy pastime.
Do you have favorite 'comfort' reads, that always cheer you up? What are they?
Words, Stones, and Herbs: The Healing Word in Medieval and Early Modern England
Patient's and Provider's Perspectives on Bibliotherapy