Reading as a Recovery Therapy

Reading as a Recovery Therapy

Reading as a Recovery Therapy

Reading can change someone’s life. Nothing is more powerful than words. Words are how we communicate our thoughts, our ideas, our fantasies, our fears. When we read words, they become alive, shaping how and what we conceptualize. Of course reading is a spiritual exercise. Even just a small passage can trigger a life-changing decision or radically alter someone’s course in life. For recovering addicts, reading may even work as an effective tool for battling depression, bipolar, and other mental disorders that drive drug use. Everyone knows reading has lots of mental benefits, but it’s when you combine the act of reading with cognitive therapy that it starts to show promise a treatment.

Psychotherapists called this process “bibliotherapy.” Specially-selected books are used to guide recovering people through specific troubles. Obviously, counselors themselves can offer their own guidance. The advantage of bibliotherapy has to do with the brain’s plasticity. According to neuroscientists, written words have a greater, longer-lasting impact on our thought processes, probably because we’re more likely to interpret and ponder them our own way.

Shelf Help vs. Self-Help

If you’re picturing those self-help books–10 ways to change your life today–this isn’t the same thing. Therapeutic reading isn’t that straightforward. In fact, fiction is sometimes used. The objective, at the end of the day, is to put yourself in a different world for a period of time, to identify with others’ characters and experiences, so that you can practice the sort of empathy you need to accept yourself and others.

Is this new?

Reading for recovery purposes is nothing new and has in fact been a part of most twelve step programs since their conception. If you’re not too interested in bibliotherapy as an innovate treatment technique for you, at least be sure to read while you’re in treatment. Most addiction centers encourage all their occupants to read regularly, even if they’re not “big readers.” Spiritual and religious texts can be great motivators when faith is running short. Scientific literature can be used to educate oneself on their addiction and how to fight it. And of course, a good story can save you from a sad or boring evening.

To learn about our innovate treatment techniques here at Blueprints, explore our blogs or give us a call at (888) 744-9969


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