The first Books on Prescription Scheme was set up in Cardiff, in 2003, based on the work of psychologist Dr Neil Frude. It makes use of bibliotherapy, “an alternative way of making psychotherapy available to people with mild to moderate mental health problems”.
Talking about the establishment of the scheme throughout Wales, and then across the rest of the UK, Professor Frude wrote:
There is good positive evidence for the use of bibliotherapy employing high-quality books. The results of several studies have demonstrated powerful bibliotherapeutic effects, and there is little doubt that such an approach is likely to be cost-effective.
Bibliotherapy also has certain advantages over medication, including:
Higher patient acceptability
More immediate effects than some (particularly antidepressant) medication
No rebound effect when treatment comes to an end
Tendency to continued improvement over time
Lower relapse rates
No appreciable adverse side effects
No adverse reaction with medication or other forms of treatment
No danger of overdose
Frude NJ (2004) Bibliotherapy as a means of delivering psychological therapy.
Clinical Psychology, (39) 8-10