3A2 Reading for Resilience: Bibliotherapy Lights the Road to Recovery for Mental Health Patients

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  • Introduction: Bibliotherapy can be defined as the use of literature to help deal with the challenges of life. The authors will situate this paper within the greater body of literature on bibliotherapy, providing an overview of the practice and a detailed exploration of the use of a particular form of bibliotherapy with two different groups of mental health patients. Description: Librarians at an academic hospital partnered with their psychiatry department to deliver a read-aloud bibliotherapy program to mental health patients. Programs were delivered to both in-patients and members of a community based recovery program based at the hospital. Outcomes: Basic written evaluations were collected from participants, and interviews were conducted with the peer support workers who also attended the groups. Participants, peer-support workers, and decision makers in the mental health programs all found the projects successful and rewarding, and as a result spin-off programs have been developed and/or proposed. Discussion: Each program ran for a minimum of 6 weeks and engaged between 3 and 8 clients in each group. Peer-support workers also participated in the group sessions. Readings from literature (poetry, fiction and non-fiction) were selected and used to introduce and discuss topics such as loneliness, compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, etc. The sessions were facilitated by a librarian and a librarian/psychotherapist. The authors will describe the structure of the reading sessions, group dynamics, and the materials used to address specific topics, as well as methods for selecting materials. Suggestions and recommendations for delivering similar programs will be discussed.

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    Conference/Workshop Presentation
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    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International