The launch of Read to Heal guided reading series was launched on 6th September 2020. We had an overwhelming number of participants willing to join the session. Read to Heal sessions are built around the purpose of promoting bibliotherapy in India and to encourage librarians/teachers and mental health therapists for collaborative work towards wellbeing of general public. Bibliotherapy is a creative art therapy modality, wherein books are used in the treatment process of mental and emotional health concerns. Also, there are two main types of bibliotherapy, clinical and developmental bibliotherapy. Clinical Bibliotherapy is used by the clinical therapist/mental health professionals for the treatment of severe mental health concerns. However, Developmental Bibliotherapy is used by the teachers/librarians as a means of suggesting self – help/fiction books to the students for growth and development.
Read to Heal series is one such initiative to fulfill the two aforementioned aims, wherein Kajal Makwana, a Counseling Psychologist, Queer Affirmative Therapist, and Psychotherapy partners with Ravija Srivastava, an Image Consultant and Library Professional to create a prototype for other professionals in the service of common man. The theme for the first two episodes of Read to Heal series was “Stress due to loss”. As this was the launch of the Read to Heal series it was a public webinar. This theme was selected as a starter to the series as the pandemic time is at the peak, everyone is in a grieving phase due to the loss of something or the other due to pandemic. The resource material used for this session was a short story named “Broken Routine” the very special reason to choose this material was to take the participant through the healing process as everyone’s routine at the moment is disturbed due to which a lot of stressors are experienced by the people. In the second episode of the Read to Heal session on the theme “stress due to loss” an extract from the novel “Rayden” was used in the session for healing process.
There were few special moments captured during the session. The overwhelming registration for this event motivated us to keep our options open about allowing participants to express in verbal discourse rather than a format chosen by us. This worked wonders in holding the participant’s interest throughout the session. For reading aloud we had more volunteers than needed, after which the therapy took effect in the form of reflection and insight building, which helped participants to diversify in their perspective about the protagonist, his dilemma, his agony and the turn of events in the story. The long discussion helped the participants to build an instant connect with takeaways. The session was successful due to the core reason that is match of the right resources with the right situation and participants. As the aim of bibliotherapy is to have the right match of a book and the concern of the individual for catharsis experience and gives a reader a direction to gain a deeper understanding of their concerns and ways to overcome.
Sharing the few glimpses from the session, one of the participants named A.J, shared the experience, wherein, he suggested a book to one of his friend who was going through a very difficult time, it was surprising to him to see how that suggestion of one more just uplifted his friend and gave him the courage to deal with the difficult situation he was going through. This clearly indicates the power of the right book.
Here are some of the valuable feedback what we received,
“Good to come together for us who love books and widening our horizon regarding the world og books.” – Ms. Indarani
“It was an amazing session. Quite relevant in contemporary society where every youngster is inclined to possess the latest technological device. How books contribute in the growth of a person as an individual was inculcated to every member to have participated in the session” – Mr. Rucheek
“The game playing was an important part of the session. Thank You” – Ms. Neeta malik