Literary Blog Hop

The Literary Blog Hop is a fortnightly event held at The Blue Bookcase prompting book bloggers to answer a question.

Discuss Bibliotherapy. Do you believe literature can be a viable form of therapy? Is literary writing more or less therapeutic than pop lit or nonfiction?

Bibliotherapy is not something I would have thought writing about had I not been enticed by this prompt.  To be perfectly honest, this is something I was only vaguely aware of.  Consequently, my answer might appear a bit superficial and not really thought through.  I guess reading other answers might help me to form a better opinion.

Bibliotherapy is most often used in cases of depression (and I will limit my answer to that).  Reading seems to have been recognised for its healing powers, which does not surprise me.  I can understand how reading can be beneficial in helping to relax, but also, as Christina states in her post, in helping people, especially adolescents, to identify with characters in similar situation, thus preventing them from feeling as if they were an abnormality.

However, there are other things that come to my mind.  Reading is a very solitary activity and I wonder if it might not cut the person off from the world even more.  Also, I wonder if it might not aggravate the situation: reading escapist literature might make it more difficult for the suffering person to face reality and reading more serious literature might depress the patient even more.  Literature is a perception of our world and acts as a commentary on it, and, let’s face it, the world is not a rosy place.

Readers often mention the fact that they like to find the book to match their mood and in the case of bibliotherapy I think it is a crucial aspect to take into consideration.  I believe it has to be carefully monitored and coupled with other therapies and group discussions.  In my opinion, walking still remains a more important therapy to undertake in case of depression.  Then again, I am not a therapist and this is only a spontaneous, and not researched, opinion on this topic.