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City Community Services


Almost 25% of consultations in primary care have a mental health component. For many of these patients, bibliotherapy is a non-evasive treatment option which may prevent the need for formal treatment or may be used alongside other options such as medication or psychological therapies.

Bibliotherapy describes the use of self-help books to address mild to moderate mental health problems. For example, how to cope with depression or how to manage an eating disorder. In many cases, these books present ‘do-it-yourself’ versions of established clinical treatments and have been written by leading clinical psychologists and psychiatrists.

Many of the books use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approaches and incorporate practical exercises, self-assessment techniques, and templates for diary-keeping and progress monitoring. Other books are more discursive and support-based.

Studies have demonstrated that the best bibliotherapy books can produce results comparable to those of drug therapy and psychotherapy for many conditions. The costs of bibliotherapy are minimal, so cost-effectiveness can be extremely high. Compared with direct (face-to-face) psychotherapy, bibliotherapy has the distinct advantage of being cheaper and much more easily available.

Some of the advantages are:

  • High patient acceptability
  • Good compliance
  • More immediate effects
  • Tendency to continued improvement over time
  • Lower relapse rate
  • No appreciable adverse side effects
  • No adverse reaction with medication or other treatments

Bibliotherapy may also be effective as an interim intervention for those waiting to receive other forms of treatment. Evidence suggests that bibliotherapy is likely to provide substantial relief and may render subsequent treatments more effective.

For further information on the Books on Prescription Scheme, please download the leaflets below or contact:

  • Ivan Burchess, Consultant Clinical Psychologist
    Psychological Services, The Beeches, Penn Hospital Site, Penn Road, Wolverhampton WV4 5HN
    Tel: 01902 445715
  • Eddie Azu, Team Manager
    Primary Care Mental Health Team, Sunbeam Studios, Sunbeam Street, Blakenhall, Wolverhampton, WV2 4PF
    Tel: 01902 711104

pdf Books on Prescription - Help Yourself to Health
pdf Books on Prescription - Help Yourself to Health - Poster advertising the service
pdf Books on Prescription - Help Yourself to Health Information booklet for professionals