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    Библиотерапия в нашей жизни
    проект по английскому языку (8 класс) на тему

    Архипова Ирина Николаевна

    Данная проектная работа может быть использована как на уроках при изучении тем, связанных с чтением литературы в свободное время, так и во внеурочное время при подготовке и проведении диспутов, викторин и фестивалей.


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    Volchkova Ekaterina Olegovna

    Project Work on the Topic:

    Bibliotherapy in Our Life

    Supervisor of Studies:

    Arkhipova Irina Nikolaevna,

    The teacher of English

    Russia, Moscow

    School № 1381

    Form:8 'B'  



    Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………...………..3

    Part 1.History of  Bibliotherapy ………………………………..…………...…………………….4

    Part 2.Scientific Research .……………………...………………..……...………………….…..5-6

    Part 3.The Influence of Books on a Human ………………........................................................7-8
    Part 4.My Questionnaire……………………………………..………..……………………..........9

    Part 5.Conclusion ……….………………………………..…………...…………………………10

    Part 6. Resources ………………………………………………………………………………...11


    “Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines,

    what they heal is the evil reality makes on the imagination ”

    Jeanette Winterson

    Everyone has had the magic of reading. One recollection of favourite books can give the feeling of joy. Reading is a special pleasure and even the feeling of happiness.

    Reading has interested people long time before. It attracted people’s attention because of its unknown force that could influence human behavior. A person enters the world of healing words, comes out of it , his psychological state is  different, calm, refreshed, just like after a walk in the woods, swimming in the sea or  talking with a close friend.

    The reason I have chosen to investigate the topic “Books as Therapy” is that reading is not so popular among teenagers, however, everybody knows how helpful books are. It is interesting to research the impact of different kinds of books on classmates' mental state and find out peers' reading preferences. I shall analyze the information about physiological aspects of book therapy and its history. 

    Then I made up a questionnaire for my peers to find out their reading preferences and to determine the importance of reading books for a personality’s psychological comfort. Having collected the necessary data, I thoroughly analyzed it  and came to some conclusions.

    Part 1. History of Bibliotherapy

    What is ‘Bibliotherapy’?   Bibliotherapy is a therapy that involves reading  specific texts with the purpose of healing. It uses an individual's relationship to the content of books and poetry and other written words as therapy. Bibliotherapy is often combined with writing therapy. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression. These results have been shown to be long-lasting. Bibliotherapy is an old concept in library science.

     According to the Greek historian  Diodorus Siculus, in his monumental work Bibliotheca historica, there was a phrase above the entrance to the royal chamber where books were stored by King Ramses II of Egypt. Considered to be the oldest known library motto in the world, it read: “House of Healing for the Soul.” This should come as no surprise to bibliophiles that books were thought as salubrious even in Ancient Egypt.   Galen, the extraordinary philosopher and physician to Marcus Aurelius of  Rome, maintained a medical library in the first century A.D., used not only by himself but by the staff of the Sanctuary Asclepion, a Roman spa famous for its therapeutic waters and considered to be one of the first hospital centers in the world. As far back as 1272, the Koran was prescribed reading in the Al-Mansur  Hospital in Cairo as medical treatment.

    In the early nineteenth century, Dr. Benjamin  Rush favored the use of literature in hospitals for both the “amusement and instruction of patients.”  By the middle of the century, Dr. Minson Galt II, wrote on the uses of  bibliotherapy in mental institutions, and by 1900 libraries were an important part of  European psychiatric institutions.

    Using literature with the aim of healing started in Russia in the 19th century (I.E.Dyadkovsky, 1836), but the term ‘bibliotherapy’ appeared in the USA (Samuel Collins, 1916).

    When applied in a therapeutic context, bibliotherapy can comprise both fictional and non-fictional materials. Fictional bibliotherapy (e.g., novels, poetry) is a dynamic process, where material is actively interpreted in light of the reader’s circumstances. From a psychodynamic perspective, fictional materials are believed to be effective through the processes of identification, catharsis and insight. Through identification with a character in the story the reader gains an alternative position from which to view their own issues. By empathizing with the character the client undergoes a form of catharsis through gaining hope and releasing emotional tension, which consequently leads to insights and behavioral change.

    To conclude, I can say that the history of bibliotherapy is rather long. It developed during hundreds of years. A great amount of theoretical and practical data is collected, which justifies incredible value of reading in healing certain mental illnesses.

    Part 2. Scientific Research

               Most of the existing literature on  bibliotherapy  with children is of affective

    bibliotherapy.  Aeffective  bibliotherapy  uses fiction and other high-quality literature to help the reader connect to emotional experiences and human situations through the process of identification. In contrast to cognitive bibliotherapy,  affective  bibliotherapy  relies on psychodynamic theories, some tracing back to Sigmund and Anna Freud. The basic assumption in affective bibliotherapy is that people use defense mechanisms, such as repression, to protect themselves from pain. When such defenses are activated often, individuals become disconnected from their emotions, unaware of their true feelings,

    and therefore unable to resolve their problems constructively. Stories are helpful in offering insight into personal problems  through the creation of a safe distance, bringing the child and adolescent indirectly to the edge of sensitive issues, issues that are threatening, and probably too painful to  face directly.

    Of course, the concept of reading to cure certain mental ailments is nothing new. Libraries were described as "healing places for the soul" in ancient Greece. Still, The School of Life may be the first organization to charge a fee (if a small one) for literary prescriptions.

    For all the readers who have been self-medicating with great books their entire lives, it comes as no surprise that reading books can be good for your mental health and your relationships with others, but exactly why and how is now becoming clearer, thanks to new research on reading’s effects on the brain. Since the discovery, in the mid-nineties, of “mirror neurons”—neurons that fire in our brains both when we perform an action ourselves and when we see an action performed by someone else—the neuroscience of empathy has become clearer. A 2005  study published in the Annual Review of Psychology, based on analysis of  MRI brain scans of participants, showed that, when people read about an experience, they display stimulation within the same neurological regions as when they go through that experience themselves. We draw on the same brain networks when we’re reading stories and when we’re trying to guess at another person’s feelings.

    Other studies published in 2006 and 2009 showed something similar—that people who read a lot of fiction tend to be better at empathizing with others (even after the researchers had accounted for the potential bias that people with greater empathetic tendencies may prefer to read novels). And, in 2013, an influential study published in Science found that reading literary fiction (rather than popular fiction or literary nonfiction) improved participants’ results on tests that measured social perception and empathy, which are crucial to “theory of mind”: the ability to guess with accuracy what another human being might be thinking or feeling, a skill humans only start to develop around the age of four.

    Last year, the Journal of Applied Social Psychology published a paper showing how reading Harry Potter made young people in the UK and Italy more positively disposed towards stigmatised  minorities such as refugees. And in 2013, psychologists at the New School for Social Research found that literary fiction enhanced people’s ability to register and read others’ emotions.

    So even if you don’t agree that reading fiction makes us treat others better, it is a way of treating ourselves better. Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers.

    While variations of  bibliotherapy  have likely been used as long as there has been literature, the use of  bibliotherapy as an add-on to traditional therapy is relatively new and has not been heavily researched. However, there is anecdotal evidence that it can be highly effective. People often  have strong  reactions to literature, and using these reactions to help with  treatment can help people  better manage  their  emotions, gain hope for recovery, and develop novel coping skills.

    Bibliotherapy is most commonly used in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and stress, but can also be used with other mental health conditions.

    Taking everything into consideration, I can claim that reading plays a great role both in treating some mental illnesses and in the process of a person’s self-improvement. It lets the person feel the state similar to meditation and it is extremely useful for health. You are deeply relaxed and absolutely calm. Permanent readers have a better sleep, a lower stress level, a higher sense of dignity, lower depression levels compared to non-readers.


    Part 3.The Influence of Books on a Human

    Books play an important role in our life. They are our true friends, as they demand nothing from us. On the contrary, they give us plenty of good things. While reading, we enjoy ourselves, learn a lot of interesting information. They take us into a different world of imagination.

    Literature enables us to understand another person whole-heartedly. For instance, a novel about a war, written in the perspective of a soldier, allows the reader to envision their memories, their pain, and their emotions without actually being that person. Consequently, literature can act as a time machine, enabling individuals to go into a specific time period of the story, into the mind and soul of the character.

     With the ability to see the world with a pair of fresh eyes, it helps the readers to reflect upon their own lives. Reading may teach them morals and encourage them to practice good judgment. This can be proven through public school systems, where the books that are emphasized the most tend to have a moral-teaching purpose behind the story. An example would be William Shakespeare’s stories, where each one is meant to be reflective of human nature – both the good and bad. Consequently, this can promote better judgment of situations; it can also be used as a guide for the reader.

    I have been gladly influenced by the message it imports. It is necessary to be stoic in the battle-field of life. If one is not perseverant, he will be an easy prey to defeat. Though the novel is not a religious one, it preaches a moral of a high order. It has much semblance with any religious book. It has created a great impact on my thoughts and actions since the day of my reading the book. It deals with practical side of human life. It instills courage in one to undertake even a great and perilous task without admitting defeat.

    There are different kinds of literature. They are classics, modern books and books on vocation.


    It is best to read the classics of literature. By classics we mean those books which have become recognized for their excellence. Suppose one wants to read a novel, it is best to begin with the works of well-known and established writers. The importance of reading the classics is that one will develop the habit of being satisfied only with the best of everything. Having once read the best, one will refuse to read what is second best. Classics forms one’s taste and judgment. Once this is achieved the reader can be left to himself.

      Modern Books

     Modern poetry or novels should  be read only after one’s taste has been formed by reading the classics. But books on general topics for getting knowledge and information must be always read. It is to consult reviews of books published in respectable journals. It is necessary to know a great deal of many things. Books on history, politics, science should always be widely read. It is wise to consult a teacher or a well-read librarian. Attempt should always be made to get the best available books. One should show some preference for books dealing with the peoples and problems of one’s own country.

    Books on Vocation

    It has to be remembered that the choice of books in often dictated by the needs of one’s vocation. Everyone must, if there is any desire for self-improvement, read books that convey the latest information on the subject in which he deals. The man who has stopped reading as soon as he begins to earn, may soon find that he has ceased to each according to his growing needs. For specialized knowledge of one’s vocation is sure to increase efficiency and general usefulness.

    The pleasure of reading books is undoubtedly very high. It varies according to the taste and temperament of each reader.

    Intellectual Pleasure of Reading

    Those who are by nature intellectual, who find delight in grappling with difficult problems, naturally derive a great joy from reading books dealing with serious problems. The exercise of the mind that such reading affords is for them a source of infinite pleasure. Thought to them is a necessary exercise, and therefore their pleasure is great when books provide them with the substance of thinking. (Enclosure 1)

    Emotional Pleasure of Reading

    Reading also brings satisfaction to men of emotional temperament. They read poetry and drama and fiction. Reading gives them all the thrill and excitement of variety for which their emotional nature is forever hungry. Emotional pleasure is a permanent need for the human mind. Reading gives man pleasures that are denied in real life as long as the latter remains stunted and crippled in an imperfect social order.

    Creative Value of Reading

    The ordinary man enjoys reading, in a large measure, as a healthy and innocent form of recreation. After the day’s labor, one feels happy to relax over a pleasant book, a book of one’s own choice, which makes no very great demand on the mental power, and is therefore soothing and comfortable. He turns over the pages, taking in what amuses him and without any other ulterior object. Such reading is, in a material sense, unprofitable, but it serves the purpose of refreshing the tired mind. Few pleasures can really be greater than this.

    In conclusion, I went to say that reading is of extreme importance in our life. Literature enables us to understand another person, to ponder over our own life, teaches us to act kind-heartedly.


    Part 4. My Questionnaire

    Task: Answer the questions choosing one or more options.

    1. How often do you read?

    Every day

    A few times a week

    Not as often as I ’d like

    1. What genre of books do you prefer to read?



    Science Fiction



    I do not care

    1. How does  reading help you?

    To form my opinion

    To shape my character

    To get more information

    To relax

    To dream

    1. If yes, do you think it works?


    Not for everybody


    1. What do you think about books as therapy?

    It is helpful

    It is interesting

    It does not work

    Having analyzed the data, collected in the survey held among 58 peers, I draw the following conclusions:

    1. 38 % of peers read literature a few times a week, 32 % read every day and 30 % read not as regularly as they wanted to;
    2. Fantasy is the most popular genre of literature among teenagers, detective stories, thrillers and novels are less favorite and science fiction is the least popular one. Some peers are indifferent to the genre of literature;
    3. Reading helps teens, first of all, to get necessary information and relax, have a good time. Then, a small group of young people pointed out the importance of reading for shaping a person’s character and forming one’s opinion;
    4. 38 teens consider bibliotherapy to be interesting, 13 people think that it is useful and 7 peers claim that ‘it does not work’.

    Part 5. Conclusion

    Having taken everything into consideration, I want to say, first of all, that according to my research bibliotherapy has a long history of healing people’s mental illnesses. There are a lot of proofs that books were used as treatments. Secondly, modern research justify that literature can be a rather effective method of treating. It is often used for treating people from depression, tension and stress. Besides, it was proved that reading enables people to control their emotions, believe in recovery and it also helps readers to develop survival skills. Thirdly, reading has proved to sharpen analytical thinking, enable us to understand better our behaviour  and the behavior of others. This is a tool to keep in touch with books that are helpful to read when facing certain problems. I believe that the point of reading is therapeutic: we read in order to live better and to approach death more wisely.

    Good books improve our standard of living. They tone up our intellectual taste they broaden our knowledge, console us when we are depressed. Books encourage us when we are defeated. They inspire us to work hard with hope and courage. They remove our ignorance, enrich our experience and sharpen our intellect. Thus, a good book is our true friend.

    A man must avoid reading bad books. They may make our life miserable. We may have to suffer because of bad books. They develop bad habits in us. They mislead and misguide. Bad books ruin our intellect. They spoil our interest in reading good and serious books. We must avoid reading such bad and cheap books because they waste our time and energy.

    We should develop a healthy habit of reading books. We must select the books carefully. We should read only good books. Reading good books has many advantages. When we read a good book, we forget anxieties of the world. We are sent into the land of beauty, imagination and happiness. So, books are the source of the greatest pleasure in life.

    As far as further perspectives are concerned, I am inclined to continue dealing with the issue. I am fond of reading and I am interested in learning more about reading in our life. I am going to study more thoroughly the mechanism of reading impact on mental processes in human mind.

    Part 6. Resources

    1. http://booksastherapy.com/
    2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
    3. http://www.newyorker.com/
    4. www.wikipedia.org
    5. http://www.goodtherapy.org/
    6. www.theschooloflife.com 
    7. www.minddisorders.com
    8. www.bigthink.com 
    9. www.kellybear.com 
    10. www.medscape.com

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