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20 Mar 2019

Bibliotherapy Seminar: Benefits of Books for Health

Medan Merdeka Selatan, Jakarta—Reading, besides adding information and knowledge is also useful to improve brain function. But do you know if books can be a therapeutic medium for healing diseases, especially mental illness.

The use of books for therapeutic purposes is given to someone when experiencing emotional or psychological disorders. This method is called Bibliotherapy. Bibliotherapy is a methodology for healing diseases using books or literature. Bibliotherapy therapy has been popularised by American writer Samuel Crother, in 1917.

National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) even recommends bibliotherapy as a therapeutic treatment for people who experience mild to moderate depression, anxiety and panic, eating disorder, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), phobia/fear, marital relationship and sexual problem, anger, stress, parenting, sexual post-trauma, and low self-esteem.

“Bibliotherapy helps enrich the front part of brain (pre frontal) as part of decision making and wisdom to balance middle brain as emotional trigger,” said neurologist dr. Arman Yurisaldi Saleh at Bibliotherapy Seminar: The Strength of Books as a Healing Medium” held by Indonesian Librarian Association (IPI) at National Library, Wednesday, (20/3).

Patients must enjoy what they read, especially books providing solution to problems that are the source of disease so it can give a positive impact. Errors in using books on this therapy can cause negative impact on mental health. For that reason, study from various experts about the use of appropriate books is highly needed for example doctors and literature experts.

The application of bibliotherapy therapy is also suitable for children. “You just need to adjust the book used with patient’s background”, added Arman.

Another speaker, writer Ewith Bahar, added that bibliotherapy is not limited to reading but also writing. Writing, according to Ewith is a higher level of reading. “Patient openly and expressively express their heart and feelings full of stress due to trauma. Anything that triggers pressure and stress,” said Ewith.

Ewith asserted books can be a healing medicine because an open and non-judgmental writing is able to remove all heart and mind poisons. “Bibliotherapy helps nourish the soul supporting physical health and influencing work performance,” added Ewith. 

Creative content consultant Nanik Susanti shared tips on how to make books as a medium to be healthy. First, spare your time to read. The best time to read is at night before sleep. Make notes on book related to important things in it. Read one third part of the book then think over it.

Next, choose the titles that are most interesting. You can go to the library or bookstore. Take books that have positive influence. Things less important is recognizing yourself. Be honest with yourself. “Understand your strength and weakness,” added Nanik.

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