Journal of Poetry Therapy

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 135–148 | Cite as

The Value of Fiction as Therapeutic Recreation and Developmental Mediator: A Theoretical Framework

  • Joseph Gold


Fiction has developed as a human medium of expression to assist people in adapting to the complexities of social organization. Fiction extracts readers from their immersion in personal confusion and decontextualizes them to permit the reformation of responses. Fiction uses narrative to engage the reader emotionally, while generating new and newly arranged information so that cognitive shift can take place. The results of this are improved problem-solving skills, a greater sense of normality, a breakup of rigid and confusing cognitive frameworks, improved socialization, and increased self-actualization. Given these benefits, fiction reading should be generally encouraged and consciously directed. More specifically such reading can be regarded as an exceptionally useful tool in the treatment of developmental blocks, periods of stress and life crisis, and in certain cognitive dysfunctions involving self-concept, self-esteem, and interpersonal relations.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Gold
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of EnglishUniversity of WaterlooOntarioCanada

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