Book Therapy: How Reading Books Can Help You Feel Better

book therapy can help you treat challenging mental states and live through difficulties

Book Therapy, also known as bibliotherapy, is a fantastic healing practice for book enthusiasts like you and me. It is no secret that books can help you solve problems, boost your mood, and offer condolences. And you do not have to exclusively turn to omnipresent self-help books. Our favorite fiction books, when chosen carefully and read therapeutically, can aid you in treating anxiety and loss as well as live through overwhelming emotions, both positive and negative. Discover how bibliotherapy works, and BooksRun will always support you when it comes to buying books and delivering them on time.

What Is Bibliotherapy

There is no surprise why a year ago we all rushed to read Albert Camus’ The Plague to better understand the extraordinary experiences of a pandemic ahead of us. By better understanding the mechanism of book therapy, you will be able to navigate your reading choices so that books nurture your mind and soul. 

Use a book as a guide to dive into your emotions and personal situations. Feeling empathy for a novel’s protagonists helps you understand your own choices better. By looking at how a literary character copes with challenging situations or losses, a book can help to nurture a problem-solving mindset and even suggest alternative interpretations of a situation. It can also nourish a feeling of belonging since a reader understands that she is not the only one overcoming specific difficulties. 

There is nothing new under the sun, and bibliotherapy is not an exception. The therapeutic practice of “prescribing” books to alleviate specific conditions can be traced back to the 1930s. From the 1950s, bibliotherapy was introduced as an additional treatment in professional psychotherapy. However, book therapy is essentially as old as reading itself. 

How Book Therapy Works  

Anxiety, stress, loneliness, being lost — the list of mental states that can be helped by book therapy is long enough. It is a working tool for those who enjoy being grasped into a literary world. But always beware that bibliotherapy is only a complementary therapeutic treatment that cannot substitute professional medical help if your condition requires one. 

When reading a book with the bibliotherapeutic method in mind, you should pass through the following stages:

  • identification — defining your problem and empathically associating it with one of the literary characters; understanding the character’s emotions
  • catharsis — a culmination of your emotional exertion that evolves into relief
  • take away — wrap up this experience for applying it to your own life

One can easily do the same works with a movie or visual arts. However, when reading a book, you can dive into the plot at your own pace and intensiveness; you can also make a pause and read non-linearly. It helps to take notes while reading a book, for example, of what are the situations lived through by the characters and how you would act in the same situations. You can also keep track of what emotions (empathy, aggression, or sorrow) each character evokes in you.

Although bibliotherapy is often used as a part of professional psychotherapeutic practice, you can perform it yourself. With a bit of help from book therapy services, you can get book prescriptions! This medicine will never hurt.

a woman found her book prescriptions
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Finding Book Prescriptions

Book Therapy 

Book Therapy is a professional service helping you to develop a custom reading list. Moreover, this resource also offers premade book prescriptions for major mental conditions and various life situations. Examine a detailed list of possible challenges you could face and check a tailored book prescriptions linked to each state. These readings will undoubtedly help you live through certain situations and emotions.

The School of Life

The School of Life has a side project made for supporting their bibliotherapy lessons. On this list, you can find a book prescription based on the sphere of life you need a cure for.

Your Own Book Prescriptions

You can also create your own book prescription list, for example, consisting of your favorite poems. Reading a poem will not take much of your time, but the highly metaphorical language and the condensed emotional journey will quickly bring you to a catharsis that will alleviate some of the emotions challenging your mental balance.

people participating in book clubs for book therapy
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Book Clubs

Community reading is yet another powerful tool that can help you feel better. You can join interest-based book clubs, where you discover new people while discussing your favorite thing — literature. If you prefer a more solitary reading, you can listen to podcasts about books. Although relatively passive, listening to podcasts is also a way to connect to a bigger group of bookworms.

Goodreads has created a bunch of thematic reading clubs. Moreover, you can check celebrities’ reading lists or join reading challenges and book clubs on Instagram and Twitter. It’s an excellent opportunity to discover new literary treasures and feel connected to a large group who share the same passion. This feeling of belonging is crucial for overcoming challenging situations.


Whatever book therapy method you choose, you can’t go on without books. BooksRun will always offer you a helping hand — buy books you need for the best price on the market and get them delivered to your doorstep. And finally — enjoy!