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Bibliotherapy: Home

This guide provides useful resources for people interested in books' therapeutic qualities and researchers of bibliotherapy. It features databases, book lists, informational websites, and essential books pertaining to the field of bibliotherapy.

About this guide

This guide was created by Ivy Woodrow, a student at Marlboro College whose Plan work is in bibliotherapy, in Fall 2013.

Definition and search terms

According to psychologist Bernstein, bibliotherapy is described as "the self-examination and insights that are gained from reading, no matter what the source" (1989, pp.159-160).  The source can be fiction or nonfiction.  Books can be used therapeutically in a variety of settings, such as libraries, classrooms, and formal psychotherapy sessions. Bibliotherapy can be therapist-directed,  self-directed, or purely accidental (159-160).

Some alternative terms for bibliotherapy are bibliocounseling, bibliopsychology, biblioeducation, biblioguidance, library therapeutics, biblioprophyaxis, tutorial group therapy, and literatherapy (Rubin, 1978).  Some other notable terms are bookmatching and guided reading (McCullis 2012).

Purpose of this Guide


People (students, practitioners, or those seeking help) who are interested in how books can heal. 

This library guide will be particularly helpful for (undergraduate or graduate) students who major in or are doing research in the fields of psychology, literature, or education.  It can also be useful for practitioners in the same fields interested in incorporating bibliotherapy into their practices.  The book lists for children and adults with particular issues can help parents and educators help children, and also provide relief for adults with mild to moderate issues.


There are three goals for this guide.

  1. to point beginners to the essential websites, which inform them of bibliotherapy's fundamentals.
  2. to inform student/ practitioner researchers about useful databases and their many features.
  3. to provide children, young adults, and adults with usedful therapeutic book lists and resources.

Undergraduate Psychology Major