BIBLIOTHERAPY: CURE AND GROW WITH BOOKS

THE MAGIC WORLD OF BOOKS AND READING

For someone, it is a pastime, for others a companionship, and for others real support. To tell the truth, however, there are also not interested people and even heaters. We are talking about reading, a faithful friend from 0 to 100 years and for a few lucky ones even beyond. Between the pages of a book, paper, digital, or audiobook, of any genre from fiction to poetry to illustrated books, you find hidden worlds and those still to be discovered. This is its magic.

During the rite of reading a real transformation takes place, a catharsis. When the spark strikes, the mind is completely estranged from the surrounding reality, the body assumes a conservative posture, and the space-time dimensions disappear. But the most important thing is what happens inside the reader, on an emotional, cognitive, and spiritual level in a broad sense and not only religiously.

THE FIRST NATIONAL BIBLIOTHERAPY CONGRESS

Ever heard about Bibliotherapy? In North European and American countries it is a rather widespread discipline, while in Italy it is currently studied and applied by a few at the local level, mostly in the psychotherapeutic and development fields. In our country, especially nowadays, a debate is underway on the most correct name to attribute and on its application fields. The first major initiatives at a national level are finally registered and dedicated to the training and application system of Bibliotherapy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022, was a date to mark on the calendar, the first National Bibliotherapy Conference for the school “BIBLIOTHERAPY, WELLNESS AT SCHOOL THROUGH BOOKS” was hosted in Rome, intended for teachers and organized by the Center for the book and reading and the University of Verona, by the cradle of books, the National Central Library.

Many topics were developed, from Bibliotherapy in its evolution to studies on its implementation in the educational and training fields. On the other hand, what better interlocutors than the teachers who deal with the education and development of students on a daily basis? Young people of all levels are the ideal recipients of this support tool also for their relational, emotional, and cognitive problems.

“After a discussion with the Universities of Verona and Pescara, we imagined a process that begins today with this conference which proposes Bibliotherapy to the world of schools as a tool for managing classes with differentiated skills, for language and cognitive skills and continues in the fall with a training course for teachers. At the same time, an interdepartmental research project was also started at the University of Pescara where a research doctorate in instrumental functions of the text for the school will be held in the field of didactic Bibliotherapy.

With this project, we are at the forefront in Europe. “

Angelo Piero Cappello – Director of the Center for books and reading 

Prof. Federica Formiga opened the conference by declaring that “the University of Verona started a few years ago with a short refresher course on Bibliotherapy. Wanting to give continuity to this work in the academic and research fields, from this year we have created the first Master in Italy in Bibliotherapy, to develop skills and give knowledge to those who want to become bibliotherapists or follow projects related to Bibliotherapy. We are also working with other Departments and external institutions such as CEPELL to apply the studies done so far to the world of school. Among the upcoming developments, we foresee a series of training courses for teachers and research activities from the perspective of a network between universities, schools, and professionals. In other countries, there are already experiences of Bibliotherapy in school libraries and among teaching staff, so we know that it is a reachable goal. “

WHAT’S BIBLIOTHERAPY AND HOW IS IT APPLIED?

Among the speakers the Psychologist, Psychotherapist, and Bibliotherapist Rosa Mininno, who created the first bibliotherapy site in Italy in 2006, and made a distinction between the three applications of bibliotherapy and the related objectives.   “In psychotherapy, the focus is on the rising up, through the identification with the characters and with the narration, by analogy or by contrast, of unconscious contents of which awareness is acquired and of memories, emotions, experiences that are processed to achieve a change in the psychological state of the individual or group of patients and an improvement and healing of psychic distress. In educational bibliotherapy, but also in self-help, the goal is psychological growth and the development of critical skills, empathy, the enhancement of life skills, social skills that also allow the development of virtuous circles in the social fabric and development of emotional intelligence, the highest form of intelligence that combines thought, emotion and action together. In training-professional library therapy, the goal is the development of professional skills regarding the application of library therapy in various fields: health, education, self-help and is aimed at psychologists, doctors, psychotherapists, health and social workers, educators, teachers, librarians, booksellers, helpers, and trainers. ”

In the school context, in particular, she specified that Bibliotherapy is an integrated technique in the educational and training process, which uses reading chosen and guided by an expert aimed at specific objectives on topics such as inclusion, bullying, emotional and sentimental education, hyperactivity and conflict, just to name a few. As for the methodology, the procedure to be followed is well defined. It starts with the analysis of the needs of the group or individual, followed by the definition of objectives, to arrive at the choice of content in a certain time frame, all supported by preliminary tests, during the process, in addition to the final ones.

From the interventions of the most qualified speakers on the subject in Italy and of the Hungarian colleagues, psychotherapists, university professors, bibliotherapists, and teachers, it emerged that reading, as a democratic form of education, is a truly suitable tool for everyone, regardless of age, social class and skills, which includes and stimulates, consoles and entertains, but above all, through the guidance of expert figures, bibliotherapists precisely, offers effective tools for the care and development of the person. To summarize the process underlying Bibliotherapy, three phases can be fixed: identification, catharsis, and insight. This leads to growth and evolution in the field of mental health, emotional well-being, and cognitive development. It is in fact valid support for personal growth as it contributes to the achievement of awareness and interpersonal comparison.

“We are in a research phase to verify whether and how the book, in its new features, can be exploited in all its potential as a democratic tool for integration, sharing, cohesion, and sociality in the outpost of reading in Italy, which is school. Furthermore, let’s not forget that reading is a real key to accessing the world of young people. “

Angelo Piero Cappello – Director of the Center for books and reading 

NEXT BIBLIOTHERAPY DEVELOPMENTS

In the end, what we are witnessing in Italy in this historical phase is the definition of the Bibliotherapy identity and its institutionalization through university research. If the expected developments follow this, the application of this discipline, starting in schools, is the next step.

THE FIRST NATIONAL BIBLIOTHERAPY CONFERENCE SPEAKERS

Angelo Piero Cappello – Director of the Center for books and reading

Federica Formiga – Professor at the University of Verona

Rosa Mininno – Psychologist, Psychotherapist, and Bibliotherapist

Judit Béres – Professor at the University of Pécs Hungary

Marco Dalla Valle – Bibliotherapist

Irene Monge – Philosopher of storytelling

Dome Bulfaro – Poetrytherapist

Michela Nosè – Professor at the University of Verona

Maria Greco – Teacher and Head of the School at the Center for books and reading

Mònika Tòthné Muràncsik – Teacher Bolyai Jànos Secondary Grammar School

Paolino Gianturco – Headmaster – AID Executive Member

Beatrice Eleuteri – Ph.D. student at Roma Tre University

 

For further information about the Center for books and reading click here

To watch the Conference click here 

 

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