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    I Went To A Bibliotherapist And I'm Ridiculously Excited For My "Prescription"

    If books can cure my fears about the future — I'm all for it.

    🚨This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and does not constitute medical or other professional advice.🚨

    Hi! My name is Clare and I'm an all-round book lover that is trying out bibliotherapy for the first time.

    I wanted to try bibliotherapy because, like most people my age, I've got a real, intense worry about the future.

    Clare Aston / BuzzFeed

    We already know that climate change, political upheaval and god knows what else are going to affect our future negatively. It's now just a question of how much.

    And because a lot of the conversations I have about my fears don't end positively, or with any course of action — I thought that bibliotherapy might help.


    My plan was to unleash my deepest fears onto my poor bibliotherapist and then review the books prescribed to see if they actually made a difference. Here's how it went!

    Getty Images / BuzzFeed

    In case you don't know, bibliotherapy is like a therapy session, but books are prescribed at the end instead. It can be used as a safe space to talk about what's on your mind, but it can also be something as simple as talking about the kind of books you like and figuring out why you're drawn to them.

    My bibliotherapist was Germaine Leece, an ex-book editor and current specialist counsellor at Sydney Women's Counselling Centre. She's the bibliotherapist for the School of Life in Sydney and describes her role as "a perfect marriage" of her two careers.

    To Germaine, "bibliotherapy is reading for emotional support," and not necessarily for intellectual and critical reading. She explained that, "we all practice bibliotherapy subconsciously, but these sessions makes choosing books a conscious decision for people."

    Getty Images / BuzzFeed

    A couple of days before the session, I returned a questionnaire Germaine had emailed me. It asked what I was worrying about and what I thought I was missing from my life.

    When I was younger, I imagined my future like thousands of little pathways — roots shooting out of my feet like branches of a tree — and all of them were possible for me to pursue. But now that I've grown up a bit, I'm missing this security that I used to be so sure of.

    "The future is full of pathways, but now I think that a lot of those pathways lead to horrible endings. Especially with climate change and the economy of the world. I just want the assurance and the confidence to know that everything is going to be okay."

    It's hard to imagine a world in 10 years time, because the one we're living in seems so much like it's on the brink of collapse.

    School Of Life
    BuzzFeed / Getty Images

    My fear of the future is what we focused on the most in my session.

    Whenever I felt overwhelmed by the future, I was always reassured by this little voice inside my head that would pipe up and tell me, "You'll be fine". Because even when I thought I'd made a colossal mistake, it all turned out alright in the end. My little voice was confident and I trusted it.

    But throughout my session, I spoke to Germaine about how my pathways seem to have ended — without my choosing — and how because of that, my inner voice was now beginning to sound shaky.

    Clare Aston / BuzzFeed

    My partner is from England and I'm an Aussie — neither of us have dual citizenship and my partner's working holiday visa ends later this year. The way the political climate is going, the way countries and people seem to be turning on each other, I worry that we won't be able to settle together in one place — that the red-tape will break us and that I'll return to Oz to while away my life alone.

    The reason I talked about all of this — the reason I'm writing it down on the page now — is because most of my friends are scared that we're not going to get a future. Our conversations go round and round in circles and none of us have any answers.

    The best thing about the session was the relief and positivity I felt saying goodbye to Germaine. It felt good to leave one of these conversations with an action plan — even with something as simple as reading to make me feel better.

    Here are the six books she prescribed to me and why — maybe it can bring you some positivity too.

    BuzzFeed / Getty Images

    All descriptions of the books were provided by Germaine.

    1. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

    2. The Girls' Guide To Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank

    3. The Versions Of Us by Laura Barnett

    Clare Aston / BuzzFeed

    "It’s a novel that tackles the ideas of chance and destiny; how society’s attitudes and culture play a part in our choices. I think you will enjoy it as it looks beyond romance and questions the influence partners and circumstances can have in our lives and careers."

    4. Notes To Self by Emilie Pine

    5. Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner

    6. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

    Now, the only thing left to do is start reading and pay attention to how the books affect me.


    Bibliotherapy doesn't require a follow up session (although you're always welcome back) and you don't have to write reviews on them or discuss it at length with the stranger on the bus. You just have to work your way through them and you're done!

    Welp, I guess it's time to start reading.

    Warner Bros

    At the end of each book, I'll report back with the results and let you know exactly how it made me feel and whether or not it changed my future outlook. If you want to book your own session, you can do so here.