Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Interview on Bibliotherapy for Special Education

UP Special Education graduate student, Ms. Ardeth Marcelino, sent me questions on Bibliotherapy. This is for a research she and her group mates are working on. They are looking at Adjunct Therapy for use in teaching students with special needs. Bibliotherapy is an identified method.

I am posting the first part of three installments of questions in the blog.   

1. How long have you been in this field? Why did you pick bibliotherapy as your field of interest?

I am a school librarian, so my interest in bibliotherapy came from an aspect of my work with children, books and reading. Reading guidance is a school library service that is akin to bibliotherapy. Storytelling programs are gateways in which bibliotherapy can funnel through.  Libraries that serve children and young people must have a storytelling program and reading guidance services in place because, such a program and services foster the development of literacy, well-being and overall life skills.

I started out as a preschool librarian in 1995.

As a school librarian, my work is not only the organization of intellectual structures and information systems for easy, efficient and quick access. Part of my job is the recommendation of books and resources that address the different needs, interest and skills of learners. I work with teachers to support student learning and often, I engage in professional conversations and teaching practices with them that help them choose, select and evaluate books and resources suitable for their students. I touch base with parents and community resources to further enrich the library’s programs and services.

Thus, bibliotherapy is part and parcel of my job.

2. What are the goals and objectives of bibliotherapy?

Bibliotherapy involves the use of books and/or the written word to address a personal problem. It is the assistance given to young people who are going through issues in life by prescribing books and reading materials (Crothers, 1916). The ancient library in Thebes had an inscription that the library is a healing place for the soul. So, bibliotherapy is not a new thing.

There are two kinds of bibliotherapy: developmental and clinical (Brewster, 2008).

Developmental bibliotherapy is the use of books and reading materials in schools and libraries to promote self-knowledge, personal growth and a sense of accomplishment in a particular stage in life. Clinical bibliotherapy is used by doctors and medical practitioners with persons who have emotional and behavioral problems.

3. What is the theoretical framework in which bibliotherapy is anchored on?

In Reading Education, one framework for developmental bibliotherapy is the reader’s response strategy in which readers react or respond to the text they have read. The teacher or librarian uses a set of questions that show a reflection or insight to the character or event in the story. In pastoral care, the process of priming, engagement with the text, reflection and action is the framework.
I think this question can also be referred to in my answer in Q1 where in the concepts of reading guidance and storytelling are basis for bibliotherapy to happen and take place.

In literature, the concept that “literature mirrors life” is another framework for bibliotherapy. Psychology and Philosophy has something to say about the way we see ourselves in the materials that we read, but I suppose, that is a research that you and I can further look into, after all, we are both interested in the topic :-)

4. How can one be qualified to facilitate bibliotherapy?

Know your reader. Know what reading materials are appropriate for him/her. Read a lot. Match and classify reading materials developmentally according to the needs of the readers. Be real, sincere and honest. EMPATHIZE.

You need to be stable and healthy in body, mind and spirit before conducting a developmental bibliotherapy session.

Medical practitioners and guidance counsellors would have a set of requirements for clinical bibliotherapy.

5. What does a therapist need to prepare prior to facilitating bibliotherapy?

A knowledge of the reader. Books to read by and with the reader. A set questions and activities that follow this process: priming, engagement, reflection and action.

Check this link for more information on bibliotherapy -

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