Bibliotherapy Scheme - How it works

GPs and other health professionals have been sent the list of the self-help books recommended by specialists and can issue an appropriate “book recommendation” to any child and family in their care. 

The recommendation specifies the length of time for which the book can be borrowed. This will normally be between 4-8 weeks, and therefore exceeds the standard time for a library loan.  If the book is needed beyond this time, the loan may be renewed.

You will take the ‘recommendation’ to your local Branch Library and be given the book for the period recommended. You don’t have to be an existing member of the library.  If you are not a member, then you may be asked to sign a membership form when you take your book recommendation to the library. 

You may or may not wish to use this to borrow additional books. Practically all branch libraries have a copy of the recommended book. If the copy is on loan to another reader, or if that branch does not hold a copy, then the branch will obtain a copy for you from another library.

Many of the most effective books present self-help versions of the kind of therapy that would be given by a professional. In many cases they present complete step-by-step treatment programmes with exercises, self assessments and diary sheets.

Some families find a book so useful that they wish to have their own copy. All of the recommended books should be available for purchase at a good book shop, or can be ordered through them.

A self-help book can be used in addition to any medication that has been prescribed, or while the patient is waiting to see a counsellor or mental health specialist. This approach may not be suitable for everyone, and may not always be effective.  But there is now good evidence to show that books can often help.