Here’s our definition of bibliotherapy

Bibliotherapy is all about feeling good with books:  reading great novels, poems and stories to help us through difficult situations and feelings.

It’s also about nurturing our sense of wellbeing and feeling better in ourselves. Reading is one of the best ways to relax and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet.

Reading fiction is one of the easiest ways to relate to others when we feel isolated. Also, as we get to know characters, we get to know ourselves.

Bibliotherapy is a lifelong companion to all those who welcome it. You don’t have to sign-up for anything or hit rock-bottom before you consider it, simply pick up a book.


What’s the evidence of bibliotherapy?

– Unwinding with a novel can reduce stress levels by up to 68 percent

In a study by Mindlab International at Sussex University, reading was proved 68% better at reducing stress levels than listening to music, 100% more effective than drinking a cup of tea and 300% better than going for a walk.

– Fiction can help us prepare for the real world

In Such Stuff as Dreams: The Psychology of Fiction, professor – and novelist – Keith Oatley describes fiction as a ‘simulation’ of life which can guide us in much the same way as a flight simulator would teach a pilot.

– Reading fiction can improve our social skills

When reading a novel we can observe how characters approach their relationships and apply this to our own lives. In fact, the more fiction a person is exposed to, the better they tend to do on measures of social ability.

– Fiction can help us to change ourselves

When we enter the fictional world of a character, we may even change our own behaviour and thoughts to match that of the character, researchers Lisa Libby and Geoff Kaufman at The Ohio State University suggest. That’s one great reason to seek out positive and inspiring fiction.

– Books can help us to connect

Whether we set-up a book club, join a bibliotherapy group, or simply chat with friends about our favourite novels, reading fiction is associated with high social support.

– Fiction can make us more comfortable with change

Exposure to literature may even help you to open your mind and accept a greater degree of ambiguity.


We think bibliotherapy should be social

At LitTherapy, we know how handy bibliotherapy can be. However, we’re convinced that making it social is even more powerful.

By sharing and discussing books, we can get through problems together and share our experiences. Also, what better way to find incredible book recommendations?


It’s important to remember

Bibliotherapy is NOT a replacement for therapy and professional help. While it can be a great way to help you out with day-to-day problems, if you’re suffering from persistent, or severe, low mood, anxiety or other mental health issues, we persuade you to seek out the help that’s available first. Check out Mind or contact your GP for more.