Page 1

Wee Read Christine Cather: Bibliotherapy In 2007, I researched the practice of bibliotherapy in collaboration with Glasgow Women's Library (GWL). The aim was to do a scoping exercise because two counsellors had approached the library with a view to start up a service. Two broad types of bibliotherapy were evident in the UK. 1)Self-help or Books on Prescription schemes using clinical Cognitive Behavioural Therapy books such as ‘Managing Anxiety’, with or without a person qualified to help. 2)Creative bibliotherapy activities, for example reading, writing, storytelling and so on. Some great examples in the US, for example, using novels in psychotherapy sessions or reading novels with offenders to stop re-offending. These approaches are similar to Arts Therapies such as music therapy, painting and drama therapy. My favourite author was Joseph Gold, a bibliotherapist in the US who explained why reading and discussing stories is beneficial. When we are reading a novel, we can and must re-examine our version of the world. This can provide catharsis from repressed fears and memories . (Gold, J. 1990, Read for your life: literature as a life support system). The research results showed that for the best, effective use of BOOKS OR TEXT for therapeutic benefits and well-being, an element of discussion is essential. UK development needs were identified to nurture new joined-up approaches to bring all types of bibliotherapy into more broad use and availability. More patient information for customers and health literacy activity was to be encouraged between NHS and public libraries as well as community health services. Training was needed for staff across bibliotherapy activity. Public and NHS libraries have responded well to this and I have been involved in developing and delivering training to staff across Scotland. Partnership working with  Librarians in the Scottish Health Information Network (SHINE)  NHS Education for Scotland Knowledge Services (NES)  Living Life to the Full  Lapidus  Scottish Recovery Network  Storytellers A toolkit was started as an online and printable tool for anyone facilitating creative groups using poetry, reading or writing. Words Work Well Scotland Useful Links To Every Reader her Book, Christine Cather MSc Dissertation 2007 Wee Read - Bibliotherapy in Scotland

Wee Read Books are good for you! Creative bibliotherapy forms are based on a certainty that literature can be therapeutic, both as a healing agent and a contributor to human flourishing. (Interestingly, a recent study reported in The Guardian concluded that reading adds years to your life too!) Don’t let the word put you off! Bibliotherapy’s a new word to many people we meet – even those who are already practising reading as a form of life enhancement. Reading groups up and down the country meet for enjoyment and socialising, but their love of literature is also based on their understanding that it helps them live well. Who better than great writers to be able to express the power of reading? Many readers will agree with those below: “We read to know we’re not alone.” ― William Nicholson, Shadowlands “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” ― James Baldwin “Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.” ― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind “The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.” ― Alan Bennett, The History Boys “Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” ― Joyce Carol Oates “Reading is like thinking, like praying, like talking to a friend, like expressing your ideas, like listening to other people’s ideas, like listening to music, like looking at the view, like taking a walk on the beach.” ― Roberto Bolaño, 2666 See evidence for reading, writing and therapy at

Christine cather bibliotherapy october 2017  
Christine cather bibliotherapy october 2017  

Ever wanted to understand what bibliotherapy is? Here is a wee introduction from Scottish bibliotherapist Christine Cather.