Bibliotherapy is a Mumbai-based book club for mental health related books, articles, micro-fiction and poems. Incorporating elements of a support group, this is a space to share and reflect on personal experiences within a supportive community. Additionally, while such books make sense in theory, they are hard to translate into practice and contextualise to our individual lives and circumstances. To bridge this gap, there therapy-based exercises to interspersed with session and are sometimes explored independently to take things one step further.
The original founders of Bibliotherapy, Apurupa & Sneha had been on their own individual mental health journey for a while and books (among other things) had played a crucial role in their healing and growth. And so they wanted to share this underrated medium, and their professional knowledge and personal experience, with other mental health enthusiasts through Bibliotherapy.
Apurupa Vatsalya is a Postgraduate in Law from Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai, a certified Sexuality Educator and Mental Health First Aider. She works at the intersections of gender, sexuality, safety, body neutrality, and identity, and how emotional well-being and social justice are connected to those aspects. She’s also the founder of Bibliotherapy – a popular mental health book club and support group based in Mumbai.
Suhani writes about our inner worlds - the thoughts, emotions, and experiences that make us human. She is a passionate advocate for therapy, mindfulness, and self-care. She uses her Instagram page @the.unstill.mind to spark authentic conversations about our inner struggles, and in so doing, works to destigmatize mental health.
Rahat Sanghvi is a trauma-informed mental health professional. She has a master’s in psychology, clinical and currently has her own private practice. She approaches therapy through a neuropsychotherapeutic lens using a client centred eclectic approach based on the client’s needs. Being a trauma informed therapist she is cognisant of the impact of cultural structures on mental health. She believes that mental health needs to be more accessible and offers therapy on a sliding scale.
Notes: The above information may change from time to time, and is shared with you to understand the background of where the support group comes from.
Founded in April 2019, Bibliotherapy has touched the lives of over 200 people in such a short span of time. Bibliotherapy is novel in the sense that it Introduced the practice of bibliotherapy – healing through books in a community care format. We have utilized a variety of mediums to inculcate reading habits even in non-readers such as physical books, audiobooks, social media pages and articles, so that they are able to access this mental health improvement tool. We have provided and will continue to provide scholarship seats in each session to ensure that it is an inclusive space. We have conducted sessions on a variety of unique self-improvement themes ranging from optimizing one’s 20s to body neutrality.
We clarify and co-create the intentions of each session with the participants. In case someone feels triggered, we always have a mental health professional present during the session or available on call.
Setting and co-creating intentions and scope followed by a spirited discussion of a book/ article/ poem/ theory as we strongly believe in psychoeducation. This is then followed by therapy-based exercises to personalise the learnings to one’s own location and take away some actionable steps.