Want something to do this weekend? Read your way to happiness!

Want something to do this weekend? Read your way to happiness!

Just a few days ago, on Thursday this week just gone, I was intereviewed by a News Ltd journalist about an interesting article in which reference was made to the role of self-help books AND the reading of fiction in therapy. The original article was published in the Independent which I thought I'd share with you here…

Self-help books – they’re a tricky one.

The enduring stereotype is of an endlessly upbeat tone, unrealistic aims, and banal to-do lists, all wrapped up with a snappy title and a multicoloured cover. Straight on to the bestseller list and hidden under the beds of neurotic types with nothing very much wrong with them in the first place. As some critics have said: if they worked, why would people keep buying them? They would have solved the problems long ago. But then, you can’t be a billion-dollar section of the beleaguered publishing industry and not attract some unflattering angles along the way, especially in a reticent culture like ours.

But self-help is different these days, and it’s starting to look like a sane and humane option in the face of economic crisis and uncertain futures. Many of us are feeling under pressure. There’s fraying round our edges. Reports of depression and anxiety are ever increasing – six million is the current estimate – and some experts say that three out of four of those affected are not getting the treatment they need.

The Government had promised to increase access to psychological therapies through a variety of initiatives, but with the new clinical commissioning groups taking over from primary care trusts later this year, many of the associations that deal with this area are doubtful that there will be much change. They’ve been waiting five years, with little to show for it.

So you can see how the idea for Books on Prescription seemed like a good one. Local surgeries and libraries will publicise the titles of 30 self-help books, all readily available in libraries across England. The Department of Health, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal College of GPs are all supportive; only two local authorities have failed to get involved. In Wales, where it has already been in use since 2005, 30,000 self-help books are borrowed every year. Everybody is a winner, right?

Just because there is a lot of dross out there shouldn’t stop us from seeing the huge benefits that can come from the right kind of books, chosen not for their ability to climb the bestseller list, but for their intelligence and insights. For the tomes chosen for the prescription are written by experts. Not motivational speakers, self-promoting “gurus” or journalists looking for an easy project, but eminent psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists and so on…

…keep reading the full and original article HERE

PS: if you'd like to check out some of my self-help books you can do so HERE