Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Zaccario & Moses Bibliotherapy

zaccario & moses bibliotherapy
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Gottschalk (9) for example notes the following objectives:
(a) it may help the patient understand better his own psychological and physical
reactions to frustration and conflict, (b) it may help to stimulate the
patient to talk about problems which he ordinarily finds difficult to discuss
freely because of fear, shame, or guilt, (c) if through the books chosen for
him, the patient discovers his own problems in the vicissitudes of others,
his feeling of being different from others may be dispelled. If he learns
that others have successfully attacked problems similar to his, his self-esteem
may be buoyed and his eagerness stimulated to seek an adjustment
that will lessen his conflicts, (d) it may help stimulate the patient to think
constructively between interviews and to analyze and synthesize further his
attitudes and behavior patterns . It may provide therapeutically planned
vicarious life experience to which the patient has previously adjusted only
with considerable conflict without exposing him to the real dangers of actual
experience, (e) it may reinforce, by precept and example, acceptable social
and cultural patterns and inhibit infantile patterns of behavior, (f) it may
stimulate the imagination, afford vicarious satisfaction or enlarge the
patient's sphere of interests.
Bryan (7) mentions the objective of showing the reader that he is not the
first to encounter the problem he is facing. In addition she cites the following
aims of bibliotherapy: (a) to permit the reader to see that more than one
solution to his problem is possible and that some choice may be made in the
way in which it is handled, (b) to help the reader see the basic motivations
of people involved in a particular situation, including his own, (c) to help
the reader see the values involved in experience in human rather than material
terms, (d) to provide facts needed for the solution of problems, (e)
to encourage the reader to face his situation realistically and to plan and
carry through a constructive course of action.
Twyeffort (27) regards the development of insight as the crucial factor
in successful therapy: (a) the individualized prescription of reading may
prove a valuable adjunct to treatment in helping the patient to achieve insight,
which involves an emotional as well as an intellectual appreciation of
the causes of illness and may often include a need for emotional growth away
from infantile reaction patterns, (b) it may assist toward a better understanding
of the manifold function of personality, especially the role of the
emotions, the nature of complexes, and their role in emotional conflicts,
(c) reading helps the patient to verbalize and externalize his problems, (d)
it may assist him in formulating the underlying difficulties if he has the opportunity
of viewing these same problems objectively as they occur in other
individual lives, (e) it may help to dispel in part his sense of isolation; a
measure of reassurance will come as the patient becomes desensitized to his
conviction of the uniqueness of his particular experience, (f) where the
source of emotional conflict lies not in character traits but in situational
factors, if the patient is confronted with a similar situation in his reading,
his reticence may be overcome, and objective discussion of his difficulty
facilitated, (g) when his difficulties spring from his personal liabilities,
considerable help may result from being able to see how other persons have
faced and tackled apparent failure with success, (h) planned reading may
assist in the determining and weighing of values, leading to a more satisfactory
orientation to life goals, (i) it may facilitate insight through frank stock-taking of personal assets and liabilities, (j) it maY stimulate the
patient to think between interviews and to digest and synthesize what he has
learned about himself, (k) it may result in creating 'movement' in a refractory
patient who is inclined to respond at a superficial level, (1) it may
stimulate new and creative interests or enlarge the sphere of existing or
latent interests.
Appel (2) ascribes to bibliotherapy the following uses: (a) to acquire
information and knowledge about the psychology and physiology of human
behavior, (b) to enable the individual to live up to the injunction of 'know
thyself, (c) to 'extravert' the patient and arouse interest in something outside
the self; (d) to arouse interest in and acquaintance with external reality,
(e) to effect a controlled release (abreaction) of unconscious processes,
(f) to offer opportunity for identification and compensation, (g) to help the
patient develop a clarification of his difficulties and insight into his condition,
(h) to utilize the experiences of others in effecting a cure. Reading
not only supplements the knowledge and experience of the therapist, but extends
the period of the therapeutic conference, when the patient cannot be
seeing the doctor, (i) to aid the patient to live more effectively.
Rosenblatt (20) analyzes the contributions of imaginative literature to
adjustment in terms of its social and personal values. Prolonged contact
with the personalities to be found in books leads to increased social sensitivity,
enabling the reader imaginatively to put himself into the place of
others; it may develop the habit of sensing the subtle interactions of temperament
upon temperament, so that the reader may come to understand
the needs and aspirations of others and thus make a more successful adjustment
in his daily relations with them. Literature enables one to feel intensely
the needs, sufferings, and aspirations of people whose personal interests
are distinct from his own, by nourishing the imaginative flexibility
essential to socialization.
Bibliotherapy can help the individual assimilate the culture pattern by
acquainting him with the superstructure of attitudes and expectancies which
he must erect on the basis of fundamental human impulses. At the same
time literature may release him from provincialism, by extending the
boundaries of his awareness beyond his own family, community, and national
background. From a personal point of view, literature enables one
to rehearse various possibilities of action in a given situation through an
imaginative trial and error process. In trying out various possible modes
of behavior and in envisioning the probable effects, the reader is afforded
an ideal opportunity for experiment. Through vicarious experience the
reader may be enabled to bring into consciousness various experiences, attitudes,
or impulses in his own nature or past emotional life, which, because
of feelings of guilt, he has submerged or censored. Thus he may be
released from unconscious fears and obsessions of guilt.
Moreover, one can talk of a book more readily than one can of his own
problems without the embarrassment of explicit self-revelation. A further
value lies in the means it provides for the sublimation through catharsis
of socially disapproved impulses, such as the desire for violence or
cruelty, the need to dominate others, the need for sex expression, or the wish to strike back. Literature can suggest socially approved channels of expression for such emotions and impulses; it may direct anti- social
fantasies into healthier channels. In short, literature may contribute to
one's understanding of his own emotional responses to a person or situation
by starting an inner readjustment which will modify his response to the
next person or situation encountered.
Rosenblatt further recognizes the preventive values of literature. It
may help to prevent the growth of neurotic tendencies through the vicarious
participation of the reader in other lives. The guilt-possessed or rebellious
adolescent may come to understand himself better and may learn to
perceive the value of his own temperamental bent even though it is not valued
in his own environment. Literature provides contrasts to the contemporary
American norm of the extroverted, go-getting, shrewd business man:
When the adolescent becomes aware of the fact that his present
experiences and anxieties are not unique and that others have
had the same impulses and conflicts, he may be better able to
handle them. Frequently literature is the only means by which
he can see he is 'normal' and allay guilt and fear thereby
Menninger summarizes the aim of the program in bibliotherapy at the
Menninger Clinic. Its purpose, beyond its recreational and social values,
is to encourage the individual to invest interest outside of himself and to
assist him in making contacts with external reality and gain insight into the
nature of his problems. Certain narcissistic gratifications may ensue from
the patient's reading: namely, escaping from his own conflict, making an
effort to maintain contact with reality, strengthening the ego, and desiring
to gain social approval through the therapist's interest and affection (17).
Russell submits six hypotheses about what reading may do for children
if certain conditions obtain: namely, that the children are able to read easily
and well; that a wide variety of suitable reading materials are available;
that a permissive reading environment exists; and that school and community
experiences reinforce the reading. Under these conditions reading may
increase understanding of the child's own behavior and that of others; it
may contribute to competence in activities with the accompanying positive
effects of such achievement; it may give a feeling of belonging to and understanding
one's own country; it can provide for fun and escape; and it may
contribute to ethical values.
Smith (23) affirms the power of literature to promote the development
of youth in the following ways: It can help young people to gauge themselves
accurately, to understand the motives of human conduct in general
and their own in particular, and to become aware of the many-sided influences
which play constantly upon them as they adjust to the world they
live in. It can contribute to their understanding of the widening and deepening
problems of life. It provides an inevitable substitute for direct experience
of the distant in time or place, or the inscrutable or obscure in
terms of our capacity to enter into it or understand. Finally, as a major
record of man's search for truth, it permits the reader to stand off on one
side to observe life. (pg10)
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