More than 350 million people around the world suffer from depression. Less than half of them ever receive treatment. Antidepressants have become the most prescribed type of medicine in the United States. In the United Kingdom, one in six adults has been under anti depressive medication at least once.
But is it that difficult to conceive that maybe the problems of the mind can be interpreted as crisis of the soul? Maybe music, pets, dancing, or creating art are better than medication when dealing with depression. Maybe therapists should advise people on buying a dog or take a dancing class.
In the same category of “antidepressants” is reading, which has a great influence on the mind. In fact, the term bibliotherapy, or therapeutic storytelling, was coined way back in 1916 by Samuel Crothers. But, truth be told, even the ancients knew that reading can mend even the most broken of hearts.
“The house of healing for the soul” was inscribed above the entrance to the royal chamber where books were stored by King Ramses II of Egypt.
Simply put, bibliotherapy consists of selecting reading material relevant to a client’s life situation. It has also been explained as “a process of dynamic interaction between the personality of the reader and literature-interaction which may be utilized for personal assessment, adjustment, and growth.”
Reading is said to be 68% more effective at reducing stress than music, and 100% more effective than coffee.
Books like Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers , Getting Better Bit(e) by Bit(e), How to Stop Worrying, or The Feeling Good Handbook are all recommended when it comes to overcoming a particularly difficult phase of one’s life.
Maybe what you can find in your library is far better than Prozac. At least it’s worth a try.