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:
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:
on Prescription - Help Yourself to Health Books
on Prescription - Help Yourself to Health - Poster advertising the
on Prescription - Help Yourself to Health Information booklet for
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