In the United States, the majority of the population suffers from some form of trauma. There are many ways that an individual can cope and accept their trauma, but two practices stand out as an inexpensive, flexible option for many. Bibliotherapy is the use of reading literature as a way to learn more about and understand one’s trauma through the perspective of others. Expressive writing is the practice of writing and reflecting about one’s own traumatic experiences, as well as the emotions that are tethered to it. In this paper, I explore the fields of bibliotherapy and expressive writing as forms of therapy by reviewing the history, use, goals, and effects of each in the context of mental and emotional well-being. Intertwined with the scholarship is my own self-guided bibliotherapy of reading memoirs and poetry collections related to my trauma and self-guided expressive writing in which I wrote a short collection of personal essays and poetry, finding that both fields, separately and used together, are effective avenues for trauma healing.
- Burial Grounds: An Exploration of Trauma Healing Through Bibliotherapy and Expressive Writing