"Stop the world I want to get off".As a kid I remember hearing of a Broadway show by that name and not really knowing what it meant. Now that I have ridden on the merry go round of life I understand exactly why that was such a profound title.The important thing to remember as you hold tight to the reigns while the ride spins to a stop is that it always does stop.When life starts spinning there are alternatives we can take to traditional psychotherapy that can help see us through the end of the ride.
Most often we consider psychotherapy when we are in some sort of crisis. Crises can come in many forms. Marital crisis,spiritual crisis,financial crisis,emotional crisis.So how can we help ourselves through such crisis? The obvious first step is in recognizing the true nature of the crisis. All too often we are mistaken about what we think our problems are.So giving thought,true reflective thought to what the problem is often the first task of psychotherapy but in the alternative you accomplish the same goal quite effectively through the use of bibliotherapy.
Bibliotherapy is simply book therapy.Instead of one therapist you have shelves and shelves of therapists and other authors who can help you see your true self.When most people hear the term bibliotherapy they think quite mistakenly only of the self help section of their bookstore or library. Bibliotherapy runs the gamut from biographies of people whose stories resonate with you and provide you examples of stories of people who have been where you are now.Unlike traditional therapy you can search for the therapist who puts it in terms you can understand or relate to.Often times we avoid traditional psychotherapy because we are afraid to air our dirty laundry and more often because we are afraid to uncover our role in the crisis we are facing. Bibliotherapy allows you to discover yourself at your own pace.When I need hand holding at 3 a.m. my bibliohterapist is always there for me and as long as I return him or her on time it is no extra charge for after hours calls.
The public library as an alternative to psychological help is not a new idea.Across the street from the Boston Public Library is a monument to poet and philosopher Kahlil Gibran.As a young immigrant Gibran educated himself at the Boston Library.Upon his death he left a bequest to the library.The inscription on the monument was excerpted from that letter of bequest. It reads "It was in my heart to help a little because I was helped much." So next time the world starts spinning and you want to get off, try jumping off at the public library near you.You too can be "helped much" through bibliotherapy.