What happens during a session?
Tomassi begins each of her sessions by asking her patients what, specifically, they would like to remedy through the practice of bibliotherapy. She requests some vague biographical information -- career, lifestyle, reading habits -- but spends the vast majority of the 45-minute block navigating her way through the nuances of the client’s specific issue. Roughly two weeks and several hours of research later, Tomassi produces a personalized list of prescribed books, each of which, she believes, will provide some solace or much-needed insight to the bibliophile at hand. Each title is listed in a PDF with a brief explanation of the text and why, exactly, it relates to the patient’s needs.
The books included in Tomassi’s standard prescriptions are not self-help books, nor are they pop psychology manuals -- they are works of fiction. “A book on dealing with debt will never be as revealing as Dickens’s Little Dorrit,” she explains. “Tolstoy is a genius at describing the many ways we love, both destructively and generously -- I truly believe stories makes us better people.” At the CFF, your assigned reading list is built purely of fiction and literary non-fiction, carefully selected with the understanding that a novel, when consumed at precisely the right time, can be life-altering.