Bibliotherapy refers to written materials (e.g., books, but increasingly electronic formats) used to deliver treatments for psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety. This treatment is often referred to as “self-help.” Treatments vary from psychoeducation to more directive interventions based on manualized treatment protocols. This entry reviews how bibliotherapy (and more broadly, self-help) is used, how effective it is, and its potential benefits and risks.


Three levels of bibliotherapy are commonly used. In adjunctive bibliotherapy, a therapist meeting regularly with a patient may assign readings to foster understanding of a concept or a skill discussed in session. Guided self-help involves minimal contact with a therapist, whose role is confined to providing support and guidance as the patient independently progresses through the material. (Contact may be in ...

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