Florence University of the Arts is offering a new course in bibliotherapy. The course description states that bibliotherapy is a systematic method that utilizes literature and other narrative forms to transform traditional reading into a strategy to cope with a variety of psychological conditions. bibliotherapy dates back to ancient Greece, when libraries were seen as sacred places with healing powers. Bibliotherapy today, can be used as a self-care method of help, or it can be guided by a therapist. Students Cassidy Morales and Health Larson are currently enrolled in the brand-new course.
Morales and Larson are taking the course for two different reasons, but find that they share a common goal; to learn how reading can help. Morales, a special education major, is taking the course to learn what types of books can help children. “I'm a special education major, but I'm taking the course so I can find books that I can read to students that struggle with either autism, depression, anxiety or different disabilities,” said Morales.
The course focuses on developing a deep understanding of the therapeutic functions of books for psychological issues such as depression, eating disorders, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and emotional and social development in adolescence. Group work is encouraged and the course features a more hands-on approach versus other classes.
While there is a bit of work to go with the class, Morales and Larson find it very beneficial. “So literature can help break down the issues that one's facing because literature kind of explores feelings in different types of issues that you can face in life,” said Larson. “So even just seeing a character face that or seeing a story kind of similar to yours can be really helpful.” Bibliotherapy allows the reader to put themselves in the story and experience various emotions.
The new bibliotherapy course can be a great learning experience for anyone. Bibliotherapy can be beneficial to everyone and is not limited to specific genres of books. Students have the opportunity to learn about the history of bibliotherapy as well as practice and experience it for themselves.
Future editions of this course can be consulted at the FUA academic schedule.