What is bibliotherapy?
Bibliotherapy is the term used to cover the use of self-help books to address psychological and emotional issues and difficulties. It can be very effective; books can be used independently, or in addition to group or individual therapeutic work.
In the UK bibliotherapy began in Cardiff, where a scheme was developed which linked the city's libraries and medical practices. This scheme is now known as 'Book Prescription Wales' and is used throughout the health service in Wales.
How does it work?
There is a special shelf within the library's study skills section, at the moment it contains a limited number of self-help titles but over time this will expand to include more titles and some relevant fiction too.
Students who are already coming to counselling can be recommended a specific title by their counsellor using the Bibliotherapy Recommendation Slip but any student or staff member can borrow the books without a recommendation.
Anyone can use the online catalogue to check the books availability.
In order to maximise access to the books they will be available as one week renewable loans - this is to prevent long reserve lists building up as some books are likely to be particularly popular.
What books are available?
Check the Bibliotherapy Book List on the left menu to find out what books have been chosen by the counselling team. These are all available in the Teaching Collection on the ground floor of the main library on Mile End Campus:
If there are other books you think we should add to the list please order them directly via the library website
Can books really help?
There is good evidence that books can help people with many emotional and psychological issues.
Some readers' comments from other University bibliotherapy schemes:
“After working through the exercises in this book I feel more in control of my moods, and I can cope better when I am feeling strong emotions.”
“The beauty of this book is its practical step-by-step approach.”
“After reading this book, I felt a new sense of well-being.”
“This book has really helped me to learn how to change those thoughts and become a more positive person.”
“What I especially liked about this book is its applicability in real life.”
Links to some research into efficacy of bibliotherapy: