Home England Course Spotlight: Bibliotherapy in London

Course Spotlight: Bibliotherapy in London

by AIFS Abroad
Bibliotherapy theme: Young woman happily reading a book in front of the streets of London, England

Last Updated on October 27, 2023 by AIFS Abroad

Here’s a question we bet you never thought to ask: What is Bibliotherapy? If we break the word down, we can understand that the concept is a combination of books and therapy — and it actually dates back to Ancient Greece when libraries were seen as sacred places of answers and healing. Bibliotherapy is a way for us to cope with life’s challenges and opportunities through the safe place of literature.

College students interested in learning more about this topic will love a humanities course we offer at our Global Education Center during fall, spring and summer semesters to our study abroad participants in London, England called Bibliotherapy: The Art of Reading. 

If you’re interested in studying abroad in London or are generally interested in literature and its impact, read on to learn more our Bibliotherapy course. 


AIFS Abroad students in London who take this course dig deep into how fiction and non-fiction can grab you emotionally and spark your imagination, boosting both your resilience and empathy. The goal is to make you truly appreciate the life-changing impact of reading throughout your life. We also look at how reading for fun affects your brain, and explore successful programs like The Reading Agency and The Shannon Trust.

Here’s the cool part: you get a say in what we read! We’ll check out bits from fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays, and essays from different time periods. You’ll also share your own experiences, like how reading has influenced you, and examine its impact on specific groups of people like children, hospital patients, and those who have been incarcerated.

During this Bibliotherapy course, you’ll learn how to express your thoughts about what you’re reading, listen actively, think critically, and figure out how literature can be a force for good in people’s lives. We’ll mix things up with seminars, discussions, and hands-on activities, plus we’ll explore some neat spots in London, like the British Library and local literature festivals, to make it all come alive. Sounds pretty great, right?

Instructional Format

The core of the course is our weekly seminars, where we dive deep into the material and have lively discussions. You’ll also have learning tasks to keep things interesting. We’re all about self-reflection, teamwork, healthy debates, staying objective, and being open-minded.

But here’s where it gets fun — we go on field trips! Students go on experiential learning opportunities, like visiting a London charity that’s all about how reading can change lives. We’ll check out some historic book collections, like King George III’s collection at the British Library, and we’ll explore various bookstores and libraries that cater to specific tastes. It’s an exciting adventure!


Bibliotherapy is such an interesting subject, and there are endless themes our study abroad students in London could dive into. Ultimately, we end up exploring modules like: 

  • Introduction to the History of Reading and Bibliotherapy
  • Reading for Personal Development
  • The Library Beyond the Book
  • Book Censorship
  • Literature and Cultural Appropriation
  • Welfare Reading
  • Reading for Self-Care and Self-Development

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of bibliotherapy, both historically and within their social context
  • Formulate coherent critical analysis relating to the experiences embedded within the course. This will include a high level of personal, self-reflective work based on questioning ones own responses to a variety of different reading experiences
  • Critically analyze the degree of interrelatedness between the responses of the group and one’s own to explore and help co-create a class value-system regarding reading
  • Assess and evaluate key questions that underpin the experience of using literature as a form of remedy and self-help

Impact of our Bibliotherapy Course in London

Professor Nicole Moody, who has been the esteemed teacher of this course, loves exploring this topic with students. She shares, “I love teaching ‘Bibliotherapy/The Art of Reading for Wellbeing’ because I believe that we are ‘storied beings’ and that this course can teach students lifelong transferable skills that will help nourish and sustain them throughout their future. I am always genuinely moved by student engagement, and the self-discovery that comes from approaching books from a new perspective. But while this course is a natural fit for bibliophiles, and for students who love nothing more than the idea of exploring London bookshops and libraries as part of their course learning, it also draws students who are curious about art therapies and protecting their mental health and that of others. And what better place to start this exciting new chapter than London…?”

Anastasia, an AIFS Abroad in London alum, shared, “While I was on the Spring 2023 London program with AIFS, I had the opportunity to take Bibliotherapy: The Art of Reading with Professor Moody. I can’t recommend this program and this class enough! Bibliotherapy focuses on how reading can provide well-being. This course was personalized to allow us to explore what we were interested in reading and find ways to promote self-care and healing. I found this class to be one of my favorites as we explored bookstores and libraries. (And we even got to picked out two books to be paid for by the class for our enjoyment!).”

Additional student feedback has been incredible sentiments like, “I have never had a class that was so applicable to my life. It was so open, honest and freeing. 10/10 recommend,” and “I knew what I was signing up for, but it turned out to be even better.”

Take humanities courses like Bibliotherapy when you study abroad in London, and so much more.

AIFS Abroad is proud to offer high-impact and meaningful course options in a variety of fields at our Global Education Center in London.

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