Value of Reading

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss

I grew up in a large family with very dire economic dynamics. Without going into unneccessary detail, there were zero funds for entertainment as every meager dollar was hoarded for food expenses and utilities (food was still scarce and utilities were often paid late and definitely not paid ‘in full’). To my mother’s credit, she became as resourceful as she possibly could in the summer time, when the Arizona weather was sweltering, and attitudes and moods were extremely restless. Once a week, my mother would take all eight kids (which would eventually become all of her eleven kids) to the library once a week to pick out each child’s own book selection. It was through this weekly outing that my love for reading was sparked and my world that once seemed small, limiting, and overwhelmingly claustrophobic, became enlightening and full of possibilities. In the words of famous American Behavior psychologist, B.F. Skinner, “We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading.” I will forever be indebted to my Mother for instilling this pricessless gift to me in my life.

Presently, in almost every corner in my home that I frequent, you can find a stack of books similar to the one pictured below:

As a clinical therapist, I have found that my clients that come in for therapy treatment that are willing to read and dive into various books applicable to the issues they are facing, in conjunction with therapy interventions, do better overall in their individual therapy progress and their ability to maintain their progress long term. Also, I have seen that there is a distinct difference in the effectiveness of my colleages who are continually reading vs. my colleagues that force themselves to only complete the 30 continuing education credit hours that are required of therapists for continued licensure over the course of two years.

A close colleague and I have run therapy support groups for women over the course of the last four years. We have seen the women who participated learn and grow in immense ways with the support of peers and individuals as well as the therapists guidance and mentoring. However, two years ago, my colleague and I decided to add a BOOK CLUB section to our original group routine and curriculum. During this segment of group time, each group member is encouraged to share an ‘insight’ or thought from an excerpt of the assigned chapter for the week. My colleague and I were astounded at how the addition of the BOOK CLUB portion to the group increased the overall investment and understanding of each participant in regards to their personal trauma recovery journey and their understanding of introduced concepts as a whole.

In the video below, I love how Jordan Peterson describes how the importance of reading and education translates into attaining your overall potential. Although he is addressing a collegiate audience, I feel that his passionate plea is applicable to all beings and translates across all life situations and populations.

“Reading is the way out of ignorance, and the road to achievement.”

– Ben Carson