Friday, April 29, 2016

Interactive Bibliotherapy
resources from S.G. Smith, PhD


The articles on this page offer an introduction to bibliotherapy and the benefits of reading and writing.

Social and Psychological Benefits of Reading

How Reading Transforms Us
This article, by Keith Oatley and Maja Djikic, summarizes recent research exploring how literary art changes the way one thinks about themselves.  The intensity of emotion, experienced by fiction readers, as well as the perception of whether a literary selection is artistic, appear to be significant factors in the alterations observed. 

For Better Social Skills, Scientists Recommend a Little Chekhov 
This article describes a study, published in the journal Science, indicating that literary fiction is  significantly more effective than popular fiction or serious non-fiction in increasing readers’ empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence. This was true even when subjects said they did not enjoy literary fiction as much.  Possible reasons for these differences are discussed.
A Personal Experience of Bibliotherapy
Alexandra Redgrave describes her experience of a bibliotherapy session in London.   

The Imagined and the Real
This is a summary of studies in which brain scans are used to understand how fiction is processed.

Books as a Way to Read One’s Self
This is a brief reminder of the role literature can play in magnifying the reader’s ability to know their own mind. 

Liking for Stories
Keith Oatley discusses why people like some novels but not others. 


Therapeutic Writing

Writing Your Way to Happiness
This article surveys studies reflecting the benefits of writing.  Research has shown that writing and then editing personal stories can result in positive behavioral changes and improve happiness. 

Writing as Therapy
Adrian Furnham discusses the therapeutic value of writing in examining the past from various angles, seeing cause and effect, understanding psychological processes, and ultimately feeling more understood.  

Why Write Poetry?
In an interview, poet Jane Hirshfield discusses the psychological process of writing poetry. 


Expressive Writing
Pennebaker, J.W., & Evans, J. (2014). Expressive Writing: Words that Heal.   Idyll Arbor Books.
This book presents reader-friendly research explaining how writing can often be more helpful than talking when dealing with emotional upheaval.  

The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions  
Pennebaker, J.W. (1997). Opening up: The healing power of expressing emotions. New York: Guilford Press.
This book presents evidence that personal self-disclosure has both emotional and physical health benefits.