Method of bibliotherapy traced to Ancient Greeks - Deepstash

Method of bibliotherapy traced to Ancient Greeks

  • Ancient Greeks had inscribed above the entrance to a library in Thebes, the words 'healing place for the soul.'
  • At the end of the nineteenth century, Sigmund Freud began using literature during psychoanalysis sessions.
  • After WWI, a course of reading has often been prescribed to traumatised soldiers.
  • Later in the century, bibliotherapy was used in varying ways in hospitals and libraries, and more recently by psychologists, social and aged-care workers, and doctors.

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Bibliotherapy

Bibliotherapy is the practice of encouraging reading for its therapeutic effect.

This first use of this term dates back to 1916 from an article named A Literary Clinic. In the article, the author describes a "bibliopathic institute" where reading recommendations are dispensed. The books must do something to you. They may be a stimulant, sedative, an irritant or a soporific.

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One major woe of modern readers is that they are overwhelmed by the number of books in the world.

But although more books are published than ever before, people are selecting from a smaller and smaller pool. Considering how many books you're likely to read before you die, you realise that you need to be highly selective to make the most of your reading time. The best way to do that is to see a bibliotherapist.

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Books mean different things to people. Or different things to the same people at different times in their lives.

Reading allows an escape from ordinary, everyday pressures. It makes us lose all sense of self, while also putting us in perpetual union with another mind.

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It is no surprise that reading books can be good for your mental health.

A study showed that, when people read about an experience, they display stimulation within the same neurological regions as when they go through the experience themselves. Other studies confirm that people who read a lot of fiction tend to be better at empathizing with others. People who read regularly sleep better and have lower stress levels.

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It is a book written in the style of a medical dictionary that matches ailments with suggested reading cures. But the book has a twist: each local editor can adapt up to twenty-five per cent of the ailments and reading recommendations to fit each particular country's readership.

The ailments are culturally revealing. The Indian edition includes "public urination" and "cricket, obsession with"; the Italians introduced "impotence", "desire to embalm", and the Germans added "hating the world."

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Bibliotherapy takes on many forms, from literature courses run for prison inmates to reading circles for elderly people. At first, bibliotherapy has been based within the medical context, with an emphasis on self-help books.

However, affective bibliotherapy is using fiction as the ultimate cure as it gives readers a transformational experience. It is prescribed for curing ailments such as feeling depressed, broken heart or career uncertainty.

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When hiring, managers look for hard-to-define or quantify skillsets in employees, like self-discipline, creative problem-solving, empathy, flexibility, rational judgement, and kindness.

And recent research suggests consuming literary fiction develops critical thinking, emotional intelligence and empathy in readers.

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Reading Fiction
  • What may sound a bit counterintuitive, is that reading fiction can provide us with self-improvement benefits, even though the stuff we read would just be a figment of someone’s imagination.
  • Fictional books, poetry and other works are a form of therapy for many centuries, with their unique spell that taps into our creativity and forms beautiful worlds inside our minds
  • Reading also helps us sleep better, be less stressful, have a high level of self-esteem, and low rates of anxiety and depression.

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The Appeal Of Doomsday Novels

The ongoing pandemic is a once-in-a-century event that has put the feeling of comfort at a premium. One such unexpected source of comfort is the relatively new genre of cli-fi, that is the dystopian world of climate fiction: stories related to environmental devastation revolving around either the pre-apocalyptic ‘before’ or the post-apocalyptic ‘after’.

This genre is a rising trend, with novels that offer climatic doom or widespread ecological calamities becoming award-winning bestsellers.

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