Developmental Bibliotherapy

Developmental Bibliotherapy can improve the Mental Health of Young Adults –
Like a Wellbeing Vitamin.

Young Adult literature which portrays mental illness realistically, with positive outcomes, and which introduces readers to the unreliable or fallible narrator and encourages them to see the world through different eyes.

Developmental Bibliotherapy is:

  • Guided Reading of Stories supported by Teachers and Librarians
  • During Class Time
  • To Give Insight & Guidance
  • To Promote Personality Growth
  • To Provide Information & Understanding
  • To Help Teens Identify & Prepare for Typical Adolescent Issues and
  • To Help Teens Thrive

Developmental Bibliotherapy improves mental health outcomes for Young People by

  • Reducing Stigmas & Stereotypes & Awakening Empathy and Compassion
  • Introducing Appropriate Language & Promoting Discussion
  • Providing Vicarious Experiences
  • Confronting Fears, Removing Feelings of Isolation & Validating Experiences
  • Increasing the Awareness of Developing Mental Health Issues and so Increasing Likelihood of Earlier Intervention

Trusted authors and authentic characters help develop an awareness of developing mental health issues so readers learn how and when to ask for help – either for themselves or on behalf of friends or family members – and by reducing stigmas and stereotypes they are less afraid to step up to the task.

Students Need School Libraries

Students need school librarians and dedicated reading programs to enhance their mental health and wellbeing.

Not only does reading fiction help adolescents navigate personal and emotional development during their teens, but developing a reading habit can help to mitigate the disruptive effects of mental health throughout their entire lives.

What’s special about stories?

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Teens Need Books

“Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.”
G. K. Chesterton

What is Developmental Bibliotherapy?

Developmental Bibliotherapy is a branch of Bibliography which usually takes place as part of a secondary school reading program using young adult fiction and designed to help young people navigate the many issues they encounter during their adolescence.

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Cultivating Core Confidence

“How can we immunize young people against the disruptive force of mental illness? ” Joseph Gold (2001)

When children read about ordinary people achieving extraordinary successes, they come to realize that the brain is flexible and adaptable, and that intelligence, like confidence, can be also be developed – they adopt a “growth mindset”.

By ignoring the potential of books in the development of Core Confidence in young people we are depriving them of the opportunity to develop this most vital aspect of their being.

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An Ounce of Prevention


Which personal qualities enable some young people to ride the rollercoaster that is adolescence and emerge confident in their ability to find their own path?

And how we can provide children and young adults with an education that enhances their own particular strengths?

Continue reading “An Ounce of Prevention”