Monday 12 November 2012

The key to happy ever after

F.R.Tallis, clinical psychologist and novelist, wrote an extremely interesting article for The Times
(6th August 2012).  Tallis writes that while we all know that reading is good for us there is a crucial fact often overlooked which is the importance of reading fiction: fiction, like non-fiction, transmits information, but it's of a different kind. Stories provide insight into human behaviour, a vocabulary for emotions….exposure to fiction in childhood, he writes, has an enormous impact on the development of social awareness and emotional intelligence…..The first person fully to recognise that exposure to stories was essential for good mental health was the Austrian psychiatrist Bruno Bettelheim who argues that fairy stories are a safe place in which to learn about monsters…
Brain scans show that when reading a book people simulate the narrative in their heads. In other words, our brains have to put in some work…When we read we are more actively engaged in the creative process; we participate.
Fiction, Tallis concludes,  is often rubbished as escapism. But escapism has never been a problem and it might be the solution.
Now return to Give a Book.


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  3. Tallis makes a compelling case for the significance of reading fiction in developing emotional intelligence and social awareness. Bettelheim's perspective on fairy tales as tools for understanding complex emotions resonates deeply with Tallis' argument. This insight reinforces the value of storytelling in nurturing mental well-being from childhood onwards.
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