What was the last good book you read? Were you able to relate to the characters….feel their emotions, pain, struggle, and triumphs? Were you able to experience their processing and resolution? Books give us a chance to experience struggles like our own and struggles apart from our own. For this reason, books afford the kids the opportunity for a highly therapeutic experience. In my private practice, I use books with all of my clients…from my preschoolers to my teenagers.

Last week, I got the awesome opportunity to attend a workshop by Numinds Enrichment about bibliotherapy and was able to add to my title repertoire. As a parent, I encourage you to use books with your own kids when dealing with important issues. Books are such a great tool for a child to realize they are not alone in their thoughts, feelings, or situation, to provide catharsis, model decision making processes, and promote empathy.

Some bibliotherapy tips:

  1. Even older kids can use a good picture book. They are quick to read, provide interesting illustration, and an older kid can see details that a younger child does not discern.  Don’t rule out the picture book.
  2. If your child doesn’t like to read, consider the graphic novel. Graphic novels require a child to take in so much detail from the pictures, make inferences, and use deductive reasoning. There are many well written graphic novels to use as bibliotherapy.
  3. Consider reading chapter books with your teens.  Discussion promotes comprehension, identification, and generalization.
  4. You can ask a librarian or a counselor for a relevant title when challenged with a particular topic.

P.S.  Do you have a young child dealing with bullying? Check out “One” by Kathryn Otoshi, it’s a wonderful book!

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