Van Lankyeld defined bibliotherapy as “the treatment of mental and physical health problems in which written material plays a central role” (1998, p. 702). Many therapists author such books to be used with or without treatment. In fact, our very own Dr. Hughes recently released his second book You, Me, and We: A Practical Guide to Marital Intimacy. Although such books are popular, how effective are they at treating sexual concerns?

A group of women with low sexual desire were asked to report their sexual desire, satisfaction, arousal, and functioning before and after reading a book on low sexual desire in women. The study showed that “women who read the book under study made greater gains in sexual desire, sexual arousal, sexual satisfaction, and overall sexual functioning than women in a wait-list control group. Among participants completing a 7-week follow-up study, gains in sexual desire and overall sexual functioning were maintained” (Mintz, Balzer, Zhao & Bush, 2012, p. 475).

Research so far has shown favorable gains from bibliotherapy for a variety of concerns including alcohol dependence, depression, and anxiety among others. It can be especially effective when combined with traditional therapy or life coaching. Dr. Hughes’ book can be a beneficial resource in your life whether you are attending therapy or not. It can be found in the BYU bookstore as a textbook, at Deseret Books, and Amazon. If you are interested in getting treatment, we are conveniently located in Utah county at three locations: Sandy, Provo, and Pleasant Grove.


Jacques J. D. M. Van Lankveld. (1998). Bibliotherapy in the treatment of sexual dysfunctions: A meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66(4), 702-708. doi:10.1037//0022-006x.66.4.702

Mintz, Balzer, Zhao, & Bush. (2012). Bibliotherapy for low sexual desire: Evidence for effectiveness. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 59(3), 471-478. doi:10.1037/a0028946