Bibliotherapy – An initiative of the HSE
The use of books as for therapeutic purposes is known as ‘bibliotherapy’. There is good evidence to show that the best self-help books can be highly effective in helping people with emotional problems such as depression, stress, anger, panic, low self esteem, anxiety and eating problems.
Emotional problems are very common. Many people, perhaps even the majority, develop emotional or psychological problems at some stage during their life. At any one time for example, about 10% of adults are feeling somewhat depressed. Others feel anxious about leaving the house, or about meeting people, or have worries that just seem to go on and on. Some experience panic attacks that can be very frightening and unpredictable. Some people are highly stressed by work or family life, while others are haunted by abuse that happened in childhood. And many people just don’t feel good about themselves, their self-esteem is low, they lack confidence and feel useless and unlovable.
Books can help, as well as the interventions described above, people can be helped by reading appropriate ‘self-help’ material. There is strong evidence that high-quality self-help books are useful in helping people to overcome a range of psychological problems. Self-help books can be highly effective when used as the main source of help, or in addition to prescribed medication or counselling. Your GP may recommend a book to help with your problem.
This is a list of recommended books which have been written by leading clinicians, psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists. Most of the books on the list include a description of a condition or difficulty but offer an intervention that you can put in place your self. Many of these self-help books are available from your local library and all are accessible without prescription. There may be some local variations in book lists and stocks however libraries will endeavour to source the one you request.