How Bibliotherapy can complement an Arts Therapy practice

By Keisha, Art Therapist

Here’s what a participant had to say about the recent Building Bibliotherapy Skills course they attended.

I’m Keisha and I am a registered art therapist and artist from Melbourne. In my work as an art therapist I have had the privilege of working in hospitals, community mental health services and private practice. I primarily work with children and young adults, facilitating individual art therapy sessions as a way to support mental health, emotional expression, foster growth and to find personal meaning. Through being an art therapist I have been able to witness how different creative modalities can be harnessed for wellbeing and supporting our mental health.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Building Bibliotherapy Skills Course Melbourne in February 2024. I have long been interested in the therapeutic aspects of picture books and poems; hoping to find a way to incorporate literature into my art therapy sessions but I had not realised yet that Bibliotherapy was a field of practice in of itself. After looking around to see if there were any professional development workshops or training on bibliotherapy I found Bibliotherapy Australia and the Melbourne February training. I was particularly drawn to this training course as it shares many values that I hold as an art therapist and found many similarities between the two therapeutic practices; while also breaking down a comprehensive overview of what the course would entail.

Before starting the course my understanding of bibliotherapy was limited, I had a guess that it would be using literature as a tool for growth and wellbeing but beyond a surface level understanding I had not heard alot about bibliotherapy before. What I enjoyed most about this course was how comprehensive and accessible it was to each person regardless of what their background or profession was. You come away from the course with a great understanding of how literature can be used to maintain good mental health and a therapeutic tool for wellbeing. It weaved theory, anecdotes from bibliotherapists, excerpts of literature and time for deep reflection. I particularly enjoyed discovering different examples of literature that could be used in bibliotherapy sessions with different populations and the confidence to be able to discern what to look for in selecting texts for bibliotherapy sessions.

This course gave me the space to reflect on different ways I can incorporate bibliotherapy into my current and future art therapy practice. I have been collecting different children’s books and literature focused around mental health, life transitions, emotional expression and wellbeing but lacked the knowledge around how to fully incorporate and use these books therapeutically. I have always loved the lyrical and therapeutic aspects of books; I now feel confident that bibliotherapy will be able to deepen and enrich my art therapy practice. Outside of weaving in bibliotherapy into my practice I am looking forward to researching the connection between art therapy and bibliotherapy in more detail and how both can complement the other.

As an art therapist I would highly recommend the Building Bibliotherapy Skills training to any creative art therapist who is looking for a foundation to harness the benefits of literature in their sessions with more confidence, knowledge and understanding of what exactly bibliotherapy encompasses. Through poems, excerpts, picture books and other forms of literature you learn how these can be used as therapeutic tools and in turn how you could weave it into your professional practice. Bibliotherapy and art therapy hold a deep connection through using a person-centred framework, focusing on emotional expression through different mediums and providing the place for people to access mental health support in a gentle and accessible space.

To find out more about Keisha’s Art Therapy work please visit here

To read more reviews of the Building Bibliotherapy Skills course please visit here

To register for our next course in May please click here

If you would like further information on our courses or chat about your experiences with bibliotherapy please email

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