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Ep 2: Talking Creativity Books and Wellbeing with BiblioTherapist Bijal Shah
Episode 230th June 2023 • The Creative Switch • Nikki Vallance
00:00:00 00:40:51

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Far from being a new therapeutic tool, bibliotherapy has its roots in Ancient Greece. In this episode Bijal Shah introduces us to the techniques of bibliotherapy, and the often surprising ways that reading can help emotions, well-being, and creativity interconnect.


Guest Bio

Bijal Shah is a bibliotherapist, counsellor and author. She is the founder of Book Therapy, which offers individual, couple’s and group bibliotherapy, literary curation and personalised reading services as well as bibliotherapy training. Bijal’s book recommendations have featured in the Guardian, Marie Claire, NBC News, Asian Voice and various other publications. She’s a member of the International Federation of Library Associations and the American Library Association. She is also the author of the non-fiction book, "The Happiness Mindset”, which has received more than 50 reviews on Amazon with a 5-star rating. 


Bijal has also completed a post-graduate diploma in counselling, in addition to a post-graduate professional accountancy qualification and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Warwick. She previously worked in Investment Banking at Deutsche Bank and Barclays Capital. She’s a mother of two and currently resides in Hampstead, London with her husband. 


● [00:06] - The Edge. Nikki shares creative news stories and explores how creativity is showing up in the world.

● [07:51] – Bijal talks about what lead her to switch from a career in banking to bibliotherapy.

● [15:53] – What happens in a bibliotherapy session? Bijal explains.

● [23:30] – Bijal discusses her own creative outlet – writing poetry.

● [29:11] – Nikki and Bijal ask, why do we feel more connected when expressing our creativity in a sensory way?

● [36.52] – Doubting Doris. Nikki share stories from people who were turned away from a creative life by their own ‘Doubting Doris’


Creative Nuggets

·       The things that we would like to invite into our lives initially come from getting in touch with our emotions and releasing them. It can open up new ways of thinking and allow new thoughts to come into our minds.

·       The language of literature can allow us to find ways to express how we’re feeling when previously we didn’t have the words to do that. Reading can allow us to connect with ourselves and what we’re going through.

·       Creativity allows us to aid our mental health in the sense that creativity allows us to explore our emotions.

·       Bibliotherapy is not a new therapy, it was used by the Ancient Greeks. During the world wars, Doctors used poetry as a way to communicate with, and treat their patients.





You can book in a Bibliotherapy session with Bijal here: or sign up for her online Bibliotherapy, Literature and Mental Health Course here: 

You can follow her on Instagram @booktherapy_by_bijal  

Lastly if you would like to reach out to Bijal, don't hesitate to email her at  

Book on Amazon for pre-order: 

Book on for pre-order: 


The Edge:  

 BBC Radio 4 - Woman's Hour, Artificial Intelligence and Women 

AI Could Help Free Human Creativity | Time 

Artificial intelligence: practical steps for members - The Society of Authors 




Up Next

I do hope you join me and my next guest, Pernille Hughes, who writes what she calls 'funny kissing books.' And remember, Why Survive When You Can Thrive?



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