“Flowing Insights Programme” : Bibliotherapy

What is bibliotherapy? Well, these sessions are soon going to begin here in Mumbai that I will be designing and facilitating. On this account, today’s article is on Therapeutic value of books and their discussions..

Lets take a light, fantasy filled classic for example- Alice in Wonderland, which talks about simply, GROWING UP! It unconsciously takes our mind on a journey acquainting us with the range of emotions we may experience while going through that sort of change- where the old has lost it’s value and the new seems pleasantly or unpleasantly different. How often do we come across this sort of a change?- change of job? getting a job? getting used to changes in people around us? getting in the dating scene? Entering in a committed relationship? opting for a different health regime and actually staying on it? .. The list is endless and the therapeutic use of this book (when used well), vast.

On the other hand there’s The Road Less Travelled. It shares Dr. Peck’s version of a map of life from his professional (psychotherapist) experience and the journey of his clients. So he directly talks about-events, approaches, attitudes, suggested solutions, processes, etc- that pertain to the problems-big, tiny or small. The book (when used smartly) allows an individual to look squarely at things we face everyday, in various forms and intensities- rejection, success, loss, tolerance, love, romance,  rebirth, transformation, death, joy, hopes, miracles, etc. So when, how and whom can bibliotherapy with this book benefit? The answer is obvious- at any stage of adult life. Whether its an ill person in the family one has to take care of, or understanding our own disorderliness and mental blocks, if we are going through a tough time in life for whichever reason, or simply looking to “up” the game of life on the next phase or level- bibliotherapy through this book certainly paves a way.

There is a condition though, that applies in using help, guidance or a starting point or material for discussions from books- as discussed in the prior article– the ideas and solutions presented or perceived from the books are not writ in stone! These ideas require examining, trial & error (under an experienced facilitator preferably), sharing-editing-retesting of experiences and thus learning what’s best for us practically.

Bibliotherapy is thus, help and healing through books, carefully selected by a bibliotherapist and conducted through reading jointly, or having a post-reading discussion, or through activities designed to apply the written word in real life or a combination of these methods.

I’m very happy to announce that from 18th June, I will be facilitating, in capacity of a Psychodynamic Psychotherapist, such Bibliotherapy sessions in Mumbai (One example- The book selected for VT venue is The Road Less Travelled see http://helplibrary.blogspot.cotop 5 booksm/2011/06/workshops-on-biblio-therapy-flowing.html)

Best wishes for the journey, see you there! 🙂

If you have differing ideas and book and venue suggestions- do write to me. You may leave a comment here or at: kunjal.s.psy@gmail.com

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Healing

I find ‘Healing’ in the emotional context especially, to be very tricky. Let me explain…

When we say healing, we are referring to a wound being healed or in the process of it.. We are talking about overcoming hurt and feelings of uncontainable sadness and pain over an event, or rather, the way the event has been interpreted and the meaning that we attach to it. Healing can be a very “feel good” thing by itself- and that is where I’m finding it a bit tricky.

There is something as a “good depression”, something healthy and necessary for our growth. It naturally becomes a part of the healing process- no matter how small or big the event in question is. The tricky thing I’ve been referring to, is when a healing act or assistance misreads this step or phase and tries to get away from this, thus creating a loop or a cyclic pattern bringing about an amount of dysfunction.

In simple words, healing can shade and fade into need for pampering!

So as far as we are aware of things within and taking into account the externals- be it people’s reactions and situations, it will help the healing process, no matter which method we employ, to stay on track and onwards to the goal.

So one danger is to get addicted to the healing process (in lines of feeling pampered). The second one is a conscious act to protect oneself. Let me explain: as a self-protection measure remembering the hurt or hurtful incidents in an “in the face” sort of way, so as to avoid falling in a vulnerable position again. In this case, the individual ends up hurting self each day in process by bringing that hurt again and again in the present moment and never really heal. How? The person is deliberately staying away from healing, leaving the ‘wounds’ open- out of fear, and without realizing, cradles the hurt or the hurtful memories.

So folks, the next time we use the word heal, let us take a look further, deeper.. and find out WITHIN the context at hand, what do we really mean, what are we really doing.. and what is actually happening!