‘Bibliotherapy’, which can be any literary activity (writing, reading or storytelling) that helps people to assume more control of their health and wellbeing, has a long history that goes as far back as Ancient Greece. In the latter part of 2019, the Library chose to examine more closely how we could use our collections to help people.
This page, which we shall update throughout the year, collects together the Scottish Poetry Library’s resources dedicated to mindfulness, wellbeing and bibliotherapy.
Creative Words for Wellbeing in Scotland
Libraries, public organisations and practitioners across Scotland are collaborating on Creative Words for Wellbeing in Scotland, a new project using reading and writing to improve the health of the nation. Our Project Co-ordinator Ruth Stevenson will be writing about the project over the coming months.
Read her first blog here.
Prescribe Culture Pilot Project
The Library partnered with the University of Edinburgh on its ‘Prescribe Culture’ project, which aimed to tackle low-level mental health problems, social isolation and loneliness by being a place of referral for people to explore poetry as a way of supporting wellbeing.
Click here for more information.
Prescribe Culture exercises
Over November 2019, we held a Prescribe Culture exhibition. We invited the public to explore poems we had selected and displayed. Visitors could choose to use guided exercises we’d written to help people use and reflect on the poetry, make their own selection of poetry or to simply enjoy a cup of tea in a different space.
Everyone was invited to contribute to our ‘thankful tree.’ The exhibition is over now but the ‘thankful tree’ remains. Take one of the tags provided and write down something you are thankful for – this could be something ‘big’ such as recovery from illness or something small and every-day, for example ‘the colour of the leaves on my walk this morning’.
The exercises that were created to accompany our 2019 exhibition ‘Prescribe Culture’ are still available to use via our website. They are designed to aid a deep slow reading of poetry that has been shown to ease and calm the mind. You can find them here.
Poetry and Wellbeing for Teachers
Join us on Saturday, 18 January for an afternoon of workshops and talks and readings, exploring mindfulness techniques and poetry to support wellbeing in the classroom. The event runs from 1pm to 4.30pm (£25).
In association with To Learn the Future: Poems for Teachers.
If you wish to attend all the Professional Development Days for Teachers for £95, email Hannah Lavery at Hannah.Lavery@spl.org.uk to reserve a ticket. Otherwise, you can buy a ticket to this event by clicking here.
Mindfulness & Mindful Writing- Four Week Course
A series of Mindfulness Meditation and Mindful Writing days are being held at the Scottish Poetry Library, led by award-winning poet and Mindfulness teacher Colin McGuire (who is trained in Mindfulness Based Living – MBLC – by the Mindfulness Association). The course takes place over 4 Saturdays in February: the 8th, the 15th, 22nd and 29th. It costs £100 for the four sessions taken together.
To reserve a place online, click here.
To learn more about Colin McGuire’s take on Mindfulness, click here.