I have used writings (novels, poetry) as part of the therapy process but not as the whole therapy. The client needs a certain level of literacy--depending on the literature--to participate. When one relates to a book, one is in relation with oneself. One is also in relation with the author to a certain extent but not to the whole person of the author. The writer is a whole person when writing and the reader when reading.
Just like processing by thinking can be therapeutic so can processing by experiencing through reading. Whether it is sufficient for the client depends on the health of the client. A healthy author is necessary too. Good authors can be healthier than some therapists.
A good book can be hypnotic. It can calm you, stir you or touch you. It's so with any work of art. I found, for example, Buddhist literature calming and centring.
As a therapist, I would want contact with the client. Reading aloud, I can hear his/her tone and note the breathing. Later, s/he might want or be invited to share how the experience was, what touched and what did not, what was salient and what can be brought out of the background where it was barely noticed.
I'm writing this because I like to; I want a dialogue.
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