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Bibliotherapy in Counseling Practice. CED 703 Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson Dr. Paula McMillen. Come, and take choice of all my library, and so beguile thy sorrow. William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus (Act IV, Sc1, 1.34). Distinction found most useful is practice based.

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bibliotherapy in counseling practice

Bibliotherapy in Counseling Practice

CED 703

Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson

Dr. Paula McMillen

come and take choice of all my library and so beguile thy sorrow
Come, and take choice of all my library, and so beguile thy sorrow.

William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus (Act IV, Sc1, 1.34)

distinction found most useful is practice based
Distinction found most useful is practice based
  • Clinical Bibliotherapy is implemented by trained helping professionals dealing with significant emotional or behavioral problems.
  • Developmental Bibliotherapy may be used by teachers and other lay helpers to facilitate normal development and self-actualization with an essentially healthy population.
range of issues addressed
Range of Issues Addressed~
  • aggressiveness (Shechtman, 1999, 2000)
  • adoption/ foster care (Pardeck, 1993; Sharkey, 1998)
  • diversity awareness/ valuation (Pardeck & Pardeck, 1998a; Tway, 1989)
  • death & dying (Meyer, 1994; Todahl, Smith, Barnes, & Pereira, 1998)
  • chemical dependency (Pardeck, 1991)
  • divorce (Early, 1993; Kramer & Smith, 1998; Meyer, 1991)
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (Fritzler, Hecker, & Losee, 1997)
  • giftedness (Hebert, 1995),
  • conflict resolution (Hodges, 1995)
  • child abuse/ neglect (Jasmine-DeVias, 1995; Pardeck, 1990),
  • nightmares (Barclay & Whittington, 1992),
  • ethnic identity (Holman, 1996),
  • depression (Ackerson, Scogin, McKendree-Smith, & Lyman, 1998)
  • separation & loss (Bernstein & Rudman, 1989)
  • family violence (Butterworth & Fulmer, 1991)
  • homelessness (Farkas & Yorker, 1993)
  • self-destructive behavior (Evans et al., 1999)
benefits can include
Benefits can include:
  • Increase self-awareness
  • Clarification of emerging values
  • Development of one’s own ethnic/cultural identity
  • Greater empathic understanding of others
  • Increased appreciation of different cultures, viewpoints and lived experiences
  • Improved coping skills as learn about alternative responses to problems
  • Reduction of negative emotions such as stress, anxiety and loneliness
  • Enhanced self-esteem, interpersonal skills and emotional maturity
emotional benefits
Emotional Benefits
  • Relieving feelings of isolation by learning that others shared their experience (universalization)
  • Gaining comfort or reassurance
  • Finding hope from hearing how others had dealt with similar situations in a positive fashion (an expectation for a good outcome)
  • Being motivated to act differently
  • Temporary escape from pressing problems
  • Emotional release or relief (catharsis)
cognitive benefits
Cognitive benefits
  • Increasing understanding of their feelings and ideas (insight and integration).
  • Gaining knowledge such as facts, information, advice or recommendations which helped them make decisions and talk effectively with gatekeepers such as health care providers.
cautionary advice
Cautionary advice
  • Zaccaria and Moses (1968) [Bibliotherapy] “is not a panacea… neither can it be used with all individuals.”
  • Shrodes (1950) emphasizes …“For no two persons can there be an absolute equivalence of symbols, for no two people have identical psychological fields.” (p.85)
  • Above all, the recommender mustbe well acquainted with the content of the materials they intend to recommend or use.
more cautions
More cautions
  • Helpers mustbe familiar enough with the reading materials and with the reader/listener to anticipate the state of reader/listener readiness.
  • Helpers are sensitive to cultural, ethnic and religious messages in material.
  • Helpers ensure factual material is accurate and up to date.
  • Helpers ensure that stories have characters and situations similarenough to facilitate some level of identification.
    • increase empathy and understanding for those from different backgrounds.
    • to provide needed distance from painful emotions.
categories for evaluation
Categories for Evaluation
  • General Info
  • General Format and Structure
  • Subject Matter
  • Reading Level and Suitability
  • Book Length
  • Text and Pictures
  • Developmental level
  • Diversity Factors
  • Usage:
    • Context
    • Environment
    • Situation
  • Therapeutic Use
  • Additional Considerations
  • Overall Impression
general format and structure
General Format and Structure
  • In this section the reviewer evaluates the material from an overall perspective—the “Gestalt” of the text.
  • If it is a fictional book, then the reviewer assesses factors such as plot cohesiveness, character development, universality of the story line, and general quality of the text.
subject matter
Subject Matter
  • In this section the reviewer evaluates the material from the perspective of subject matter. Whether it is fiction or non-fiction, there is usually a subject (or multiple subjects) addressed in the material.
  • Specific topics are identified. The reviewer assesses factors such as relevancy of material, ability to engage the reader, and fit between reader interests and subject.
  • The question posed-- “Is this a good subject fit for the client?”
reading level and suitability
Reading Level and Suitability
  • In this section the reviewer evaluates the material from the perspective of reading level and suitability of the material. Some materials identify an appropriate reading or age level, some do not. So it is up to the counselor to make their “best guess” as to the appropriateness. It also depends on how the material will be applied.
  • If the clinician is reading to the client, it matters less if the material is an exact match to the client’s skills.
  • Rhyming and other stylistic devices may influence how the helper chooses to use the material.
book length
Book Length
  • In this section the reviewer evaluates the material from the perspective of how long will it take to use this material with a particular client.
  • Counselor looks at book format and length.
  • Counselor must decide how text is used.
    • Session to session
    • Home reading
    • One time read etc.
  • Individual client characteristics will also influence how long it will take to use the book in certain ways.
text and pictures
Text and Pictures
  • In this section the reviewer evaluates the material from the perspective of print and illustrations.
  • Counselor looks at congruence between text and illustrations.
  • What is the mood created by the combination of print and pictures?
  • Counselor looks at quantity and quality of illustrations.
  • Once an implementation strategy is identified, ask, “Will this combination of text and images create a therapeutic effect for this particular client?”
developmental level
Developmental Level
  • In this section the reviewer evaluates the material from the perspective of developmental level; consider the client from a holistic perspective, including age and grade.
  • Additionally, the counselor looks at the therapeutic readiness and stage of counseling for the client .
  • The counselor evaluates fit or match of the text, character, subject matter with the client.
  • The counselor evaluates the appropriateness of the text’s usage with populations who may be at multiple developmental levels.
diversity factors
Diversity Factors
  • In this section the reviewer evaluates the material from the perspective of diversity and social issues.
  • The counselor looks at the factors of respectful presentation, cultural appropriateness, world view expansion, and needs of the client.
  • The counselor evaluates the text to ensure that stereotyping does not exist.
  • The counselor examines the relevancy and current nature of the material presented.
  • The counselor evaluates the administrative and political impact of literature usage.
use context environment and situation
Use: Context, Environment and Situation
  • In this section the reviewer evaluates the material from the perspective of the context, environment or situation in which it will be used.
  • The reviewer considers the setting
    • Home
    • Healthcare
    • Mental health
    • School-education
    • Social services
    • Library
  • The counselor considers the client population.
therapeutic use
Therapeutic Use:
  • In this section the reviewer evaluates the material focusing on how the text will used.
  • The reviewer considers the application of the text:
    • Choral reading,
    • Reading to the client or the group or the class
    • Reading with the client
    • Reading and reacting
      • Art, writing, story telling
    • Other interventions we discussed
  • The counselor considers the impact on client growth. The question considered might be “what will this do for the therapeutic movement of my client”?
additional evaluation considerations
Additional Evaluation Considerations:
  • In this section the reviewer takes a final look and evaluates the material from the retrospective stance.
  • The reviewer considers overall implications, benefits, trauma, administrative and political-cultural factors.
  • The reviewer offers advice to others who may consider this book for therapeutic use.
  • The reviewer gives a “ballpark” figure of the projected therapeutic value of the text.