Our Approach to BibliotherapyWords for Wellbeing is led by Julie Walker, one of the founders of bibliotherapy in the UK. We offer bespoke sessions working with people, digital innovation and training.
SessionsParticipants are at the centre of our work so, rather than trying to bring people to literature, we use literature as a tool to engage with and enhance the wellbeing and quality of life of participants. By ‘literature’ we mean all kinds of fiction including chick lit, poetry, song lyrics, classics – in fact all forms of the written word. If the sessions have the same format every week it is easy to lose participants; what we do sometimes, for example on an acute admission ward, has to appeal to the person who can only concentrate for 5 minutes at a time as well as the person who is well on the way to recovery and can engage for a full session. Our model of bibliotherapy is based on flexibility of both resources and practitioner, which means that we can engage with diverse people at different levels of wellness, in the acute stage of their illness as well as when they are in recovery and beyond. We are able to adapt the material to fit the audience as we have built up a diverse ‘toolkit’ containing lots of resources and methods of engagement. We have produced a short 10 minute video on which some of our beneficiaries and partners comment; watching this will give a much clearer picture of what we do and how it works.
Digital InnovationWe have developed a ground breaking use of digital technology to support our work. This technology is effective and welcomed by participants. It does not replace in-person interactions with a trained bibliotherapist, but our technology extends our capacity at very low cost. We use this technology to support all the sessions we deliver, and as part our training package.
TrainingA good bibliotherapist needs to be adaptable so that the sessions are reactive rather than prescriptive. This is also the reason that we continue to develop new ways of engaging – as well as to ensure that we don’t become jaded in our delivery, which could be the case if we constantly used the same resources.
Words for Wellbeing is a Registered Charity Number 1188085