Who Uses Bibliotherapy and Why? A Survey from an Underserviced Area
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OBJECTIVE: To assess which mental health therapists use bibliotherapy, their reasons for doing so, and rationale for recommending specific titles. To review the book selected most often in several categories, using prepublished criteria for reviewers of self-help books. METHOD: We sent a survey to all therapists in a Northern Ontario community requesting information on therapist demographics, the respondent's practice, the use of bibliotherapy, and details of the book most often prescribed in various categories. RESULTS: Of 112 surveys, 62 were returned, for a response rate of 55%. Sixty-eight percent of respondents indicated that they used bibliotherapy. The most common reason for recommending books was to encourage self-help. There was a significant relation between greater counselling experience and increased use of bibliotherapy. Three of the 5 books reviewed were based on empirical theory; only 1 met all the guidelines. CONCLUSION: Most therapists recommend books to their clients, but there is little empirical evidence of efficacy. Counsellors should review the books recommended and discuss them with the client. Client opinion should be solicited and effectiveness measured.
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