How We Achieve Our Goals, Part IV


Before, we have seen these four goals:

  1. To improve the capacity to respond by stimulating and enriching mental images and concepts and by helping the feelings about these images to surface.
  2. To increase self understanding by healing individuals value their own person-hood and become more knowledgeable and more accurate about self-perceptions.
  3. To increase awareness of interpersonal relationships.
  4. To improve reality orientation (Hynes & Hynes-Berry, 1994).

Now, let’s examine number four – To improve reality orientation.

Perhaps it sounds strange to talk about “improve our reality orientation,” but it is a real thing that everyone should do. There are some people who suffer debilitating reality orientation, then there are the rest, who can suffer from a lack of accurate perception of the world. Is everything as it seems? Do we sometimes exaggerate the severity of our circumstance or perhaps look at things too closely, causing a lack of depth perception of our surroundings?

There are two ways to help achieve this goal:

  1. Relating coherently to concrete images or information.
  2. Relating to social, psychological, and emotional realities (Hynes & Hynes-Berry, 1994).

Goal number one – relating coherently to concrete images or information:

  • Facilitators want the participants to attach themselves to the outside world, to see what is real, and to examine the text as the external reality all the discussion group will focus on. This is healing, and if everyone workshops this same reality, it becomes very grounding.

Goal number two – relating to social, psychological, and emotional realities:

  • Memories will be dredged up when talking about loaded subject matter within the texts. They can be leaned on to associate how the participants feel about the literature and then it can be attached to the larger world, the larger problems at hand. This is potentially a hard thing to do, and the group must do it together, and support each other. The individuals have to learn to deal with these existential issues:
  1. Life is at times unfair and unjust.
  2. Ultimately, there is no escape from pain and death.
  3. No matter how close I get to others, I still must face life alone.
  4. I must face the issues of my life and death, and therefore lives life more honestly and be less embroiled in trivialities.
  5. I must take the ultimate responsibility for the way I live my life, regardless of the support and guidance I get from others (Hynes & Hynes-Berry, 1994).

Participants have to grow and come to terms with these ideas. Everyone eventually faces these issues, and by navigating through prose and an idea within a text, the individuals in a bibliotherapy group may at first face the issues through those lenses, and then process it on a grander scale. All of these lead the participants into learning more about themselves, who they are, and how they cope with the outside world.


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