Here's today's Literary Blog Hop question from The Blue Bookcase:
Discuss Bibliotherapy. Do you believe literature can be a viable form of therapy? Is literary writing more or less therapeutic than pop lit or nonfiction?
To the first question:
Literature as consolation? Yes. As a means for the therapist of a bibliophile to offer a 'neutral' platform for discussion of anticipated issues, or to process recent ones? Yes, and perhaps (respectively). As an ancillary support among a qualified therapist's treatment options? Sure.
But as the sole therapy, as therapy itself? No.
If any of us is truly in crisis, then we need real people with actionable strategies to help us through, and we need 'em now.
Could books help? Of course. The right books, offered by a knowledgeable and compassionate friend or mentor or partner or therapist and talked through, could offer solace and guidance as well as any living being.
But if we truly need therapy, then we need another view of our lives and some wise, compassionate- dispassionate guidance. If we truly need therapy, then we're at a point where our own choices and resources have led us into unnavigable territories and we need a mentor to help guide us out.
I adore books. They help me to understand my life, my world, my possibilities. Sometimes they even help me set my sights on transcending my self. But if I were ever truly in crisis, then I'd know that my own predilections and my own intellectual and linguistic faculties had failed me. And I would need much, much more than books.
(To the second question: Whatever helps the individual is what's important. How others classify the work is a trivial matter when a person is in crisis.)
And don't forget to find out what other bloggers think by visiting The Blue Bookcase and then hopping to their responses.