The House of Healing for the Soul: Bibliotherapy and Book Clubs Within Geriatric Care




Pursley, Ella

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In a culture where healthcare and the humanities are increasingly alienated from one another, there is a great need to build bridges between hospitals and libraries. Bibliotherapy, defined in this thesis as the process of reading and discussing literature for the purpose of personal and communal development, acknowledges the potential of literature and poetry to heal personal and communal hurts. Inspired by past and current research concerning bibliotherapy, I led a book club for aging adults at a local independent living facility during the spring of 2023. Using the analytic strategy of humanistic inquiry to review the transcripts of our thirteen book club meetings, I argue that reading together has intra-personal, inter-personal, and communal benefits for those who participated. This case study shows that bibliotherapy within this small group was effective and proposes areas for future research into book club-style bibliotherapy groups among the elderly population.



Bibliotherapy., Great texts of the western tradition., Geriatrics.