John Miedema on Slow Reading

This is John's post on Bibliotherapy (Sept 8th, 2007). I don't normally lift whole posts like this - I think it could get you hung in the old west - but this was such an intriguing idea that I wanted to do something about passing it along.

I have asserted that “slow reading is therapeutic as it restores a sense of well-being. It enriches our private lives and better equips us for the world. Slow reading is recognition of the intrinsically worthy act of reading. It is good for our minds, our emotional health, our communities and planet.”

Slow reading is a form of therapy. Some might call it bibliotherapy. I prefer “book therapy” but it hardly matters. Recently I saw a number of research articles on bibliotherapy. There are articles on the use of bibliotherapy for alcohol problems, anger control, and other issues. Bibliotherapy is often used with children or teenagers, but it should be equally suitable for adults. After all, how many adults don’t read to escape the drudgery of the day? That too is therapy.

Doctors in Britain are teaming up with librarians “to launch a new program that will deliver a therapeutic course of novels to patients suffering from a range of ailments.” See A Spoonful of Dickens.

I encourage libraries to introduce bibliotherapy programs in collaboration with local counselling services. Years ago, I worked as a group counsellor at a small social service agency. One of the challenges we faced was reaching groups that tend to avoid social services. The library is much better point of access. Note too the connection with the “narrative therapy” approach in counselling — we are all trying to tell a story in our lives; good books should help.

For more of John's writing, please see

1 comment:

John MIedema said...

Hi Wendell, thanks for sharing the post.