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Bibliotherapy as a Treatment for Depression – a Viable Option

[29 Mar 2009 | 7 Comments | 7 views | Author: Dee Braun, DrR, CA, CCT]
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Out of the numerous treatment options, self help is probably the best way to get out of depression. The reason why self help works best is because this method of treatment presupposes that the patient is aware of the problem and willing to do something about it. This is also the reason why psychotherapy works best when the patient goes to a therapist on his own volition instead of external pressure.

Bibliotherapy is a recent addition to the already available options of treating depression. In the early stages of development of this therapy, it was used to treat only children and teenagers. With increasingly encouraging results, the concept was adopted and tried for adults too.

Bibliotherapy can be best described as a ‘reading therapy’. It involves prescription of books to patients for reading. This method can be adopted as part of psychotherapy where the patient is asked to read certain books between sessions. Self help is elemental to the concept of Bibliotherapy. It is primarily based on cognition, the psychological result of perception, learning and reasoning.

Research and studies conducted in the past decade have established that self help manuals prove to be very effective in purging emotional tensions. It is a natural human tendency to identify with others in similar situations, especially in literature. Books that give specific details about how people in similar situations met the challenges and succeeded are selected.

Under Bibliotherapy such books are recommended for reading so that it becomes clear to the patient that others also face similar situations. The positive literature chosen allows the patient to understand that it is possible to get over complicated situations and meet challenges head on. Basically the kinds of books that are chosen eulogize the maxim that ‘tough times do not last but tough people do’. In technical terms this process is known as cognitive behavioral therapy.

The key aspect of the entire therapy is in the selection of books. If the books chosen for reading are not relevant, they are likely to have no impact on the individual. These books should also contain logically valid information about how to defeat depression.

Bibliotherapy can form an integral part of treating depression naturally at the primary care level. There are many instances of mild depression where medication is not necessary. Bibliotherapy in conjunction with natural remedies for depression can play an effective role in self management of depression. But the general practitioners and primary health care providers need adequate training and understanding of the concept. There is every possibility of Bibliotherapy gaining momentum. With more and more books coming out specifically for use in Bibliotherapy, the time should not be far when this concept may prove helpful in managing chronic disorders also.




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