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Special Communication  |   March 2003
Bibliotherapy: the therapeutic use of didactic and literary texts in treatment, diagnosis, prevention, and training
Article Information
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation / Preventive Medicine / Psychiatry
Special Communication   |   March 2003
Bibliotherapy: the therapeutic use of didactic and literary texts in treatment, diagnosis, prevention, and training
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 2003, Vol. 103, 131-135. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2003.103.3.131
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 2003, Vol. 103, 131-135. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2003.103.3.131
Abstract

The term bibliotherapy has been defined by Russell and Shrodes as "a process of dynamic interaction between the personality of the reader and literature--an interaction which may be used for personality assessment, adjustment, and growth." In the clinical setting, the dynamics that promote change in a patient-reader can include identification, projection, introjection, catharsis, and insight. Clinicians may use bibliotherapy as a tool for patient treatment, medical diagnosis, and the prevention of illness related to psychosocial dysfunction, allowing for gradual and mutual insight into patient complaints over time. Bibliotherapy may display efficacy on intellectual, psychosocial, interpersonal, emotional, and behavioral levels. The author identifies two basic types of resources that are useful to clinicians administering bibliotherapy: didactic texts, which are instructive, and imaginative literature, which can be a literary text, biography, or autobiography and fosters an imaginative response from the patient-reader. The author identifies the advantages and risks of using bibliotherapy and explores its possible applications in osteopathic medical education, encouraging osteopathic medical educators to familiarize themselves with this treatment modality.