Inside Bibliotherapy

Blogged by: Melbourne Central 19 Apr 2015 View comments


The idea that books affect our lives is not a new one, but in our modern day and age it isn’t a belief as firmly held as it used to be. From one-on-one bibliotherapy to group reading circles, Sonya is dedicated to reacquainting people with the benefits of reading, and how they can use it to “nourish, nurture and heal everyday issues and anxieties”.

Sonya chooses an extract of prose and describes herself as ‘facilitating’ the group, encouraging a “conversational style of reading” amongst group members. They take turns to read passages aloud, reading as much or as little as they feel comfortable with. The group pauses every so often to discuss their immediate response to the text. “We use a method of slow reading, staying very present to the story, relating to the story and putting our own personal stamp on the story,” says Sonya. “It encourages the group to connect and get to know one another in a deeper, more meaningful way.”



After the class Sonya hands out a list of reading “prescriptions”, a categorised list of book suggestions for a number of different circumstances. “I love being in a public space, it’s open and anyone can join,” Sonya says of our own Little Library, where each Bibliotherapy session is held. “We had some travellers and some people joining on their lunch break.”

The attendees can then browse the shelves of the Library and chat to one another before heading off, some with books in their hands. We left Sonya contemplating which extract she’d choose for the next session: “We did Chekhov today but maybe we’ll try some poetry next time.”

You can catch Sonya at the next Laneway Learning Bibliotherapy lunch session on Tuesday, 21 April. Check out the full program and book your spot here.

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