Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. — Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx was a wise man indeed. Four-legged friends aside, books rank among the top contenders of man’s “best friend” list. They’re excellent companions. They’re present when we want them to be. They’re patient with us and non-judgmental. They entertain, inspire, transform, and teach. They arm us with knowledge both intellectual and emotional, increasing our understanding of the world, the people in it, and our very selves.
For these very reasons, bibliotherapy is a respected and effective form of therapy to help people heal and grow. Especially effective for depression and anxiety, it’s helpful for people living with any mental illness – and for those in their lives, too.
Non-fiction and fiction are both used in bibliotherapy because they both have tremendous helping power. Together, they arm people with deep knowledge and understanding – facts and feelings. They help people connect–with characters, information, and even the authors–and know that they’re not alone. With new knowledge and increased empathy for self and others, people can transcend the difficulties they’re experiencing and take action to help themselves thrive.
Here’s a peek into what some Amazon.com readers/reviewers have said about the novels Leave of Absence, My Life in a Nutshell: A Novel, and Losing Elizabeth and their ability to heal and connect and grow–to provide bibliotherapy:
- “Although [Leave of Absence] is a work of fiction it captured the very essence of mental illness and also how it affects those around you. It will give insight to those who are interested in this subject and also those who deal with someone who suffers from mental health issues. It is a book that needs to be read by all. I highly recommend this book to everyone, it will not disappoint.” — deb B
- “Few writers have been able to express so sensitively the variations of thought processes that assault patients who are suffering from degrees mental illness. Peterson creates a solid novel here but she also opens doors of understanding so rarely provided for the general public. Highly recommended.” — Grady Harp
- “She gives lucid and accurate descriptions of therapies used to deal with these incapacities, and her novel has given me a greater insight into a 21st century view of how to cope with a problem that has plagued humans for millennia than I had before I read [Leave of Absence].” — Didsan
- “[My Life in a Nutshell: A Novel] is a great and healing read. Love and kindness are two powerful tools when it comes to helping someone or overcoming issues of your own. The author has used those tools to show us two people struggling yet reaching out to each other.” — Sandra K. Stiles
- “I am diagnosed with panic disorder, agoraphobia, and general anxiety. I totally get Brian, and all his calculated steps. My life is calculated to the extreme of where I sit I a room, if/when I shop in a store alone, and driving. But I work EVERYDAY to not give in to these fears. When Brian panicked, I could feel my breathing change, I get it! But I was so angry at him, I wanted him to stop beating himself up and try!! Now, I get it, when my family feels this way.” — Kristin on My Life in a Nutshell: A Novel
- “[My Life in a Nutshell: A Novel] is life for many people afflicted with a mental disorder and the author’s accomplished and sensitive handling of this subject should encourage people to dig a little deeper. Not many of us have been there in the black pit, but we could be. This is a first class read, a deeply thought provoking book, and I highly recommend it. Five stars.” — Fiona Ingram
- “A must read for everyone. Read [Losing Elizabeth] and see the signs of a control freak and signs you are losing yourself.” — darswords
- “[In Losing Elizabeth] Tanya J. Peterson does an excellent job of writing about abusive relationships and the importance of standing by our friends. I believe this book would be an excellent introduction for a middle or high school lesson on healthy relationships.” — Ayla O.
- “I suggest this book to everyone and anyone. This book gives you an inside scoop to a controlling and abusive relationship. This is something that so many people is this world can relate to.” — Shirley Temple