Ella Berthoud
Ella is a bibliotherapist at The School of Life


is the art of prescribing fiction for life’s ailments.

Bibliotherapy is the art of prescribing fiction to cure life’s ills.

The idea behind bibliotherapy is that reading is a healing experience. This idea dates back to Plato, but it is becoming increasingly popular as a way of dealing with pain of all descriptions. As bibliotherapists, we choose fiction that has relevance to the client’s life situation, in order to help, heal or provoke.

When you book a bibliotherapy session, you will be sent a questionnaire asking you about your reading habits, loves and dislikes. We ask why you read, what you read, when and where you read – who with, or whether you always read alone. Do you ever read aloud, or listen to audiobooks? All your reading habits are explored. We also ask what is going  on in your life at the moment – are any major issues coming up? Are you in the middle of a career-change, about to have a baby, moving home, experiencing a break-up, or beginning a new relationship? Are you perhaps retiring, or living alone for the first time? All life situations, whether serious or frivolous, can be illuminated by a good book. We believe that reading the right book at the right time can change your life. Our job is to help you find that book.

Once we have received your questionnaire, we then meet face to face, over Skype, or on the phone. We have a 40 minute conversation, which sheds more light on the ideas that have come up in the questionnaire. The bibliotherapist will then mull over the books that will be most ideal for the client, and sends a ‘prescription’ of the 8 best books for the client to read over the next few weeks or months. Each title comes with a description of why it will work well for the client to read at this time.

A few weeks later, we follow up and see if the client would like to come for more sessions.

Book a bibliotherapy session with Ella here