More threads by Daniel E.

Daniel E.

Bibliotherapy: Reading Your Way to Mental Health

By KEVIN HELLIKER, Wall Street Journal
July 31, 2007

A growing number of therapists are recommending something surprising for depressed and anxious patients: Read a book.

The treatment is called bibliotherapy, and it is gaining force from a spate of research showing that some self-help books can measurably improve mental health. In May alone, the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy published two studies demonstrating the effectiveness of bibliotherapy in patients with depression or other mood disorders. The national health system in Britain this year is prescribing self-help books for tens of thousands of people seeking medical attention for mood disorders.

Decades after the emergence of the self-help book, it remains one of publishing's hottest categories. This year, U.S. revenue for the category will exceed $600 million, a single-digit jump from 2006, says Simba Information, a market research firm in Stamford, Conn.

Yet this category is reminiscent of the market for elixirs, oils and pills before the advent of federal regulation. Despite the growth in research, fewer than 5% of the tens of thousands of self-help books on the market have been subjected to randomized clinical trials. And authors with no scientific credentials are just as likely to hit the jackpot as are renowned physicians. "When the book cover announces that it's a bestseller, that means nothing," says John Norcross, a University of Scranton professor of psychology and researcher on the effectiveness of self-help books.

Now, mental-health professionals in the U.K., the U.S. and elsewhere are determined to distinguish the most proven offerings. The aim is to recommend books that have been shown to be successful in published trials conducted by reputable, independent researchers. Trials are conducted much the way drug research is done, comparing patients' depressive symptoms before and after treatment, compared with patients who didn't undergo the treatment. For instance numerous clinical trials have shown that Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, a 1980 tome by Stanford University psychiatrist David Burns, reduces depressive symptoms in large numbers of readers.

In the U.K., where the wait for professional treatment can stretch six months, the national health system has embraced bibliotherapy as the first line of treatment for non-emergency cases. The program varies but in most parts of the country, health officials have approved a list of about 35 books that have been stocked at local libraries. Seekers of non-emergency mental-health services receive a prescription enabling them to check out a book without a library card and for 12 weeks, four times longer than other books.

In a small but significant percentage of cases, bibliotherapy reduces symptoms sufficiently that the sufferers no longer seek additional treatment, says Neil Frude, a Cardiff University psychology professor who helped develop the U.K. program.

In the U.S., no official list of bibliotherapy treatments exists. But thousands of mental-health professionals have contributed to a self-help manual that Dr. Norcross -- co-author himself of a self-help book, "Changing For Good" -- has been updating since 2000. "The Authoritative Guide To Self-Help Resources in Mental Health," available from many commercial booksellers, ranks more than 1,000 self-help books according to their effectiveness, based on clinical trials and on the clinical experience of professionals.

Bibliotherapy works best on mild to moderate symptoms, and isn't regarded as a replacement for conventional treatments. A 2003 article in the Journal of Clinical Psychology reviewed the published research on bibliotherapy and concluded that it could successfully treat depression, mild alcohol abuse and anxiety disorders, but was less effective with smoking addiction and severe alcohol abuse.

Most research suggests that bibliotherapy is most effective when used in conjunction with conventional therapy or while waiting for conventional therapy to begin.

Daniel E.
"Some books leave us free and some books make us free."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you."
– Louis L'Amour

"A good book is an event in my life."
– Stendhal

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”
– Margaret Fuller

“One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.”
– Carl Sagan

Daniel E.
Some humorous books that discuss depression or anxiety (reviewed by National Public Radio):

Hyperbole And A Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened (Review)

Hyperbole and a Half began life as Allie Brosh's blog, full of crude sketches and absurdist rants about spelling, dogs, cake and the pressures of adulthood. But there's a serious side as well, in heartfelt, unsparing stories about her struggle with depression."

So Sad Today: Personal Essays (Review)

Collects brutally honest personal essays about difficult subjects like death, love, low self-esteem, and addiction from the Twitter sensation @sosadtoday."

How to Weep in Public: Feeble Offerings on Depression from One Who Knows

Review: A tongue-in-cheek advice guide to depression explores self-help techniques, the world of pharmaceuticals, and the author's personal experiences."

More info: We Did It For The LOLs: 100 Favorite Funny Books

Daniel E.
“Rough week, right?

Listen, every book in your home is one of us saying to you, please hold on until the end. We want you to stay with us so we can all see, together, how it all turns out. You're not alone. One of us is with you all the time. Hold on tight. See you next week.”

― Warren Ellis

Daniel E.
from Wikipedia:

Aesthetic Cognitivism is a school of thought in film theory, literary theory and similar fields about the value of the arts that approaches them not simply (or not even) as sources of delight, amusement, pleasure, or emotional catharsis, but, instead, as sources of understanding. As philosopher Nelson Goodman put it in Ways of Worldmaking (1978), "the arts must be taken no less seriously than the sciences as modes of discovery, creation, and enlargement of knowledge in the broad sense of advancement of the understanding."

Daniel E.
"I don't know what your childhood was like, but we didn't have much money. We'd go to a movie on a Saturday night, then on Wednesday night my parents would walk us over to the library. It was such a big deal, to go in and get my own book."

"I believe in mythology. I guess I share Joseph Campbell's notion that a culture or society without mythology would die, and we're close to that."

~ Robert Redford

Daniel E.
A Zoom-based book club for the book Feeling Great:

Announcement: Feeling Great Book Club

We’re excited to announce a Feeling Great Book Club for anyone in the world, supporting people in reading and learning from David Burns’ powerful and healing TEAM-CBT book Feeling Great with questions and answers, exercises and discussions in large and small groups.

It will meet online for an hour at a time for 16 weeks on Wednesdays starting March 17 at 9am and 5pm Pacific Time – which should allow for fairly reasonable hours from anywhere in the world.

Note that the group is intended to provide education but NOT therapy or treatment. Cost is 8$ per session paid in advance, but people will be able to pay whatever they can comfortably afford and no one will be turned away for lack of finances. The group will be primarily led by Brandon Vance, a psychiatrist who is a level 4 TEAM therapy trainer who has studied with David Burns since 2011.

Please go to Feeling Great Book Club — FGTC to find out more and to register.
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Daniel E.
A good list of books from a self-help library in Vancouver (including some "New Age" selections):

8 Weeks to Optimum HealthAndrew Weil
A Guide for Grown-UpsAntoine de Saint-Exupery
Antidepressant Skills WorkbookBC Mental Health & Addiction Services
Be Your Own Life CoachFiona Herold
Bradshaw on the Family: A New Way if Creating Solid Self EsteemJohn Bradshaw
Bringing Out the Best in Everyone You CoachGinger Lapid-Bogda
Boundaries: Where You End and I BeginAnne Katharine
Breast Cancer: All You Need to Know to Take an Active Role in Your TreatmentIvo Olivotto, Karen Galmery, Urve Kuusk
Changing Course: Healing from Loss, Abandonment and FearClaudia Black
Clearing Emotional ClutterDonald Altman
Co-Dependence: Misunderstood, MistreatedAnne Wilson Schaef
Creating LoveJohn Bradshaw
Death: The Final Stage of GrowthElisabeth Kubler-Ross
Enchanted LoveMarianne Williamson
Everyday Wisdom: A Spiritual Book of DaysPaul Ferrini
Evolve Your BrainJoe Dispenza
Falling in Love With Who You AreJeff Foster
Family SecretsJohn Bradshaw
Feeling Good: The New Mood TherapyDavid D. Burns
Getting in the GapWayne Dyer
Healing and the MindBill Moyers
Healing Developmental Trauma – DVDLaurence Heller and Aline Lapier
Healing from TraumaJasmin Lee Cori
Healing the Shame That Binds YouJohn Bradshaw
Home ComingJohn Bradshaw
I Am: The Power of Discovering Who You Really AreHoward Falco
It Wasn’t Your Fault: Freeing Yourself From the Shame of Childhood Abuse With the Power of Self CompassionBeverly Engel
I Thought It Was Just MeBrene Brown
Jonathon Livingston SeagullRichard Bach
Keeping the Love You Find: The Personal Compassion MeditationsHarville Hendrix
Life Scripts: What to say to get what you want in 101 of life’s situationsStephen M. Pollan and Mark Levine
Life Skills for Adult ChildrenJanet Woititz and Alan Garner
Living, Loving and LearningLeo Buscaglia
Living a Life of AwarenessDon Miguel Ruiz Jr.
LoveLeo Buscaglia
Making Peace With FoodSusan Kano
Men’s Work: How to Stop the Violence That Tears Our Lives ApartPaul Kivel
Mindsight – CDDaniel Siegal
One Minute WisdomAnthony de Mello
Owning Your Own ShadowRobert A. Johnson
Power vs. ForceDavid Hawkins
Real Happiness at WorkSharon Salzberg
Reclaiming VirtueJohn Bradshaw
Relationship RescuePhillip C. McGraw
Revolution from Within (2 copies)Gloria Steinem
Scripts People LiveClaude Steiner
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and JoySarah Ban Breathnach
Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self (2 copies)Sarah Ban Breathnach
Soul Without Shame – DVDByron Brown
Soul Without Shame: A Guide to Liberating Yourself from the Judge WithinByron Brown
Stillness SpeaksElkhart Tolle
Take Time for Your LifeCheryl Richardson
Taking the War Out of Our WordsSharon Strand Ellison
Talk to Me Like I’m Someone You LoveNancy Dreyfus
Thawing: Adult/Child Syndrome and Other Co-Dependent PatternsDon Carter
The 5 Levels of AttachmentDon Miguel Ruiz
The 5th Agreement: A Toltec Wisdom BookDon Miguel Ruiz
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleStephen R. Covey
The Artist’s Way (2 copies)Julia Cameron
The Art of Empathy and Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential SkillKarla McLaren
The Biology of BeliefBruce H. Lipton
The Courage To HealEllen Bass and Laura Davis
The Dance of DeceptionHarriet G. Lerner
The Four AgreementsDon Miguel Ruiz
The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell YouKarla McLaren
The Mindful Brain BookDaniel Siegel
The Mindful Brain – CDDaniel Siegel
The Monks and MeMary Paterson
The PathLaurie Beth Jones
The SecretRhonda Byrne
The Self-Esteem WorkbookGlenn R. Schiraldi
The Truth Begins With YouClaudia Black
The Untethered Soul: A Journey Beyond YourselfMichael A. Singer
Time In A BottleHoward Falco
Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath Of TerrorJudith Lewis Herman
Trauma Symptoms HandoutsVarious
Tuesdays With MorrieMitch Albom
Women in the KnowBook, Cimoroni, Swayze
You Can Heal Your LifeLouise Hay
Your Money or Your LifeJoe Dominguez and Vicki Robin

Daniel E.

Stories have the power to change us. We asked a panel of leading writers, curators and critics to choose 100 genre-busting novels that have had an impact on their lives, and this is the result. These English language novels, written over the last 300 years, range from children’s classics to popular page turners. Organised into themes, they reflect the ways books help shape and influence our thinking.
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