A new college course aimed at improving well-being through the power of books


The power of books and reading to improve wellbeing is about to be demonstrated through a new course offered at Exeter College.

Exeter City of Literature has partnered with Exeter College to launch a course in Bibliotherapy.

The course will provide unique skills to those working in community-oriented organisations.

Bibliotherapy is a method of improving well-being through reading. This innovative approach to literature and well-being, both from the point of view of educational and literary activity, is considered unique in the region.

A development group consisting of esteemed bibliotherapist Susan Elderkin, experienced teachers, a psychotherapist, the executive director of City of Literature and book industry professionals worked together to build the Introduction to Bibliotherapy Skills Classes. Exeter College offers this course each term as an evening course for adults.

Interns will develop bibliotherapy skills that they can use to support people in their workplaces and communities, people who would benefit from personalized book prescriptions and conversations around reading to increase their overall well-being.

Sarah Mandeno, Executive Director of Exeter City of Literature, Anna Cohn Orchard, and Head of Professional and Adult Learning Faculty at Exeter College, said:

“Exeter College and Exeter UNESCO City of Literature are dedicated to the idea that reading can change lives. We came together to create this innovative course because we have seen the impact of Susan Elderkin’s bibliotherapy sessions on families of Whipton Barton Primary School last summer, and we wanted to find a way that others could benefit from bibliotherapy in some way. We know that this course will be meaningful not only for the participants, but also for their workplaces and communities. »

The first cohort of learners to benefit from this course will be made up of organizations across the city and region such as Magic Carpet, CoLab, HMP Exeter, Devon Recovery Learning Community, Libraries Unlimited and others. The course will then be offered to adult learners each term, open to anyone interested in this area.

Associate Lecturer at Exeter College and freelancer for Exeter City of Literature, Liv Hooper said:

“It was a privilege to be part of the team that built this course, and I am extremely happy to co-teach our first cohort. As a bookseller and (self-proclaimed) literary facilitator for the better part of a decade now , I’ve witnessed the power of the right book time and time again, so I look forward to exploring the power of well-being through reading with those best placed to share it with others.

Find out more about the Bibliotherapy Competency Pathway by calling Exeter College Adult Counseling Team on 01392 400170.

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