As books influence the way we think about our world, it makes sense that reading can have a profound impact on a single reader. Bibliotherapy, or reading for therapeutic or educational purposes, is also known as reading therapy, literatherapy, therapeutic reading, and self-help reading. Grounded in psychodynamic theory, bibliotherapy allows readers to experience connection, feel deep emotions, gain insight, develop solutions, and experience vicarious cultural immersion. Bibliotherapy is widely employed among mental health and educational practitioners to augment therapy.

Historical Context

Bibliotherapy has deep historical roots. Indeed, in ancient Greece, the inscription over the library door at Thebes reads, “The Healing Place of the Soul.”The etymology of bibliotherapy is Greek, from biblion (“book”) and therapeia (“healing”). During the 19th century, its practice spread to the United States, ...

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