'Bibliotherapy' i.e Stories

As well as art therapy, participatory art, and creative play, 'bibliotherapy’ is another technique that can be used to help children deal with trauma. ‘Bibliotherapy’ is a therapy that uses certain books to aid healing. Using children’s books to address certain issues that children may have experienced can help their understanding and ability to cope. Also, using books full of illustrations can be used in successfully engaging children. Encouraging children to read can approach issues that are hard for children to talk about in turn helping them understand their feelings. “The use of visual art to depict emotional reactions has been found to benefit children" (Muller, 2015). Also illustrations, combined with colour theory, can help boost the mood of the child. “Lively colours will often give a person a feeling of generally having more energy, while darker colours can bring a sense of melancholy" (Derringer, 2013). The stories are teaching the children how to cope with things that they have no control over, and finding a positive from a negative. “The best stories to help kids cope are ones that depict resilience: ones in which pessimism or despair is turned to hope and optimism because the child finds that there can be ways of solving problems" (Begley, 2015).

 

‘How I learned Geography’ (Shulevitz, 2008) is a book for children describing the memories by Shulevitz as a child. He tells the story of him escaping his troubled homeland and living in poverty in a strange new country with no belongings. It covers the emotions and troubles of being a refugee, from despair to anger. It also offers hope and positive perspective. The father swaps their last bit of food money for a map. The little boy is angry with his father initially. He then studies the map and uses his imagination, and goes on an adventure to the different places; he makes up stories and escapes his reality. “And so I spent enchanted hours far, far from our hunger and misery" (Shulevitz, 2008). The story is illustrated in the beginning with darker, dull colours depicting the emotions, and atmosphere of the story in the beginning. As the little boy gets lost in his imagination the colours become bright, full of enchantment and escape. This is a great example of ‘bibliotherapy’, helping children to understand the situation of a refugee, and offering a method of coping with emotions and a new perspective full of hope and the future. This sparks imagination and depicts creative play. This would help children in a similar situation, understanding their emotions and sparking imagination.