I had previously read many posts with the hashtag #CauseAChatter, a campaign by Blogchatter. #CauseAChatter is about blogging with a purpose, to give voice to highlight something one cares for. And, I have felt the sheer passion with which the bloggers wrote for the causes they stood for in the previous years. This time, I am taking the plunge as well. The campaign will be spread over the year with one post each month.
I will write about ‘Bibliotherapy: The Art of Healing with Books.’
‘Bibliotherapy is a creative arts therapies modality that involves storytelling or the reading of 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.’Wikipedia
What purpose am I going to promote?
As a society, we have never been open about discussing ‘feeling low’, ‘depression’ or ‘negative thoughts’. These phrases seem to be normal; and the mood swings are a part of you, for sure, if you have a female body. I know it will be naive to claim every negative feeling to be associated with clinical depression or to say ‘read a book’ to cure depression. Either ways, I am not an expert but I want to bring the concept of ‘reading books’ to feel happy and gain mental balance to a common forum.
Books have come to me at junctures where I was struggling with difficult situations in life. I can swear by those books and without even knowing, they were subconsciously healing me. It is much later in life that I realized the existence of something called ‘Bibliotherapy’.
Also, I would like to add a section to discuss ‘Bibliotherapy’ in combination with writing. Writing is a more accepted way of relieving stress, from early on one hears the advice to maintain a journal, pen down the feelings in case you keep them bottled up deep inside. But many times, the writing fails as it becomes stand-alone, far from reading. So let’s have them hand-in-glove.
What will the ‘Blog posts’ encompass?
Books give you the wings to travel to another destination and time, away from the miseries of the present. Yes, the clichéd version we sometimes devise as children. My father never liked his children wasting time over reading fiction; he wanted us to give complete attention to syllabi prescribed books. I understand, in the Indian scenario, this was a common mindset. To a great extent, this continues even today. I see parents shirking away from buying fiction for young ones or enroll them in a library.
“I used to read to him to cheer his courage, and he was very fond of that. They were wrong books – I am never to speak of them here – but we didn’t know there was any harm in them.”Hard Times by Charles Dickens
The right to have access to fun books for children is important. Many times we ignore the importance of storybooks for children. World over kid lit may find a soaring readership base but here in our country, we turn to stories with moral endings. Shouldn’t the creative minds be nurtured from the early years with something more fertile? With the rise of competition, Olympiads and exams, we curb the liberty of a child to read fiction. Our concept of curriculum dictated books supersede fiction. Under the scenario, how can we expect adolescents to cope with suicidal tendencies?
The irony is that one of the strongest bonds between a mother and a child is based on storytelling. Every child awaits a story at night to lull him/ her to sleep. Stories and storytelling is an intrinsic part of our lives, then why leave it once exam pressure builds up at school? While reading ‘The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales’ by Bruno Bettelheim, I realized the importance of fairy tales for toddlers and preschoolers. Why the monsters and evil stepmothers are to be introduced at a young age.
In order to master the psychological problems of growing up – overcoming narcissistic disappointments, oedipal dilemmas, sibling rivalries; becoming able to relinquish childhood dependencies, gaining a feeling of selfhood and of self-worth, and a sense of moral obligation – a child needs to understand what is going on within his conscious self so that he can also cope with that which goes in his unconscious ‘ruminating, rearranging and fantasizing about suitable story elements in response to unconscious pressures.’The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales’ by Bruno Bettelheim
Books hold the healing power. It is within our reach, obviously as compared to the modern worldly acquirements, books are available within the financial constraints considering the used books marketplaces we have or Amazon these days!
So, my take is to get ‘Bibliotherapy’ to work at a more general plane, as books and reading become a part of the family’s daily routine. And, if there are problem areas, then how easy it would be to come up with a book – discuss the contents, role play and work it out at home.
Am I in the right direction?
Hopefully, you will look forward to reading this series where I discuss ‘Bibliotherapy’ as a lay(wo)man and try to add my personal experiences. We can discuss ‘books’ that bring joy to you and your loved ones in the comment section and I can include these anecdotes in the future posts.
This post is a part of Blogchatter’s ‘Blogging with a Purpose’ #CauseAChatter. And, if you are passionate about a cause, then do register!