I loved and learned so much reading Maybe You Should Talk To Someone. Heading to therapy when life throws you a curveball may be just the thing you need to face your problems head on. It is a process, not a quick fix, and it can be a wonderfully fulfilling relationship that develops over time. Committing each week to talk with a trained professional has the potential to allow you to feel supported and understood.
Los Angeles Psychotherapist, Lori Gottlieb provides that safe space to her own clients, and after she suffered a personal crisis, she needed that kind of support, so she sought out to find a professional to talk with. In Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, Lori shares her enlightening therapeutic experiences that helped her learn more about herself and allowed her to better help others.
“We can’t have change without loss, which is why so often people say they want change but nonetheless stay exactly the same.”
Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, gives us the privilege to observe growth and change while peeking behind the scenes of therapy sessions, with Lori Gottlieb as the therapist and also as the client. She has a wonderful gift of writing dialog and connecting the reader to her characters through language and humor, causing me to become fully invested in everyone’s lives. I loved when she described one of her client’s crying as “not breaking down but breaking open”. I cried for Lori’s clients: John was having marriage problems and suffered a devastating loss, and Julie was having trouble starting a family and then was facing her imminent death. I could feel compassion through the pages and could tell how breakthroughs with patients seemed to deepen the therapist – patient relationships, increasing trust, and nourishing and feeding Lori, providing her own self awareness and validation in her field of expertise.
I loved so many things about Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, including this quote about dance therapy:
“The movement of dance allows our bodies to express our emotions in a way that words sometimes can’t. When we dance, we express our buried feelings, talking through our bodies instead of our minds – and that can help us get out of our heads and to a new level of awareness. “
It is also great to learn a new vocabulary word:
ultracrepidarianism – the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one’s knowledge or competence
Lori Gottlieb allows us to feel deeply and freely, laughing and crying as we take a therapeutic ride with her and people just like us, as they journey to a higher level of self awareness and understanding. She is suffering a loss and her clients are faced with cancer, infertility, relationship problems and all the feelings that go with it. Reading is known to make people more empathetic, and this beautiful book, Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, is a perfect place to start if you want to gain insight into emotions and behaviors of our fellow humans. I loved it and highly recommend it!
Q and A with Lori Gottlieb
Q: I imagine your job is a serious one – people come to you with problems. In your book you also had a problem and were sad and upset and there was an overall feeling of tragedy, yet your book is full of humor and is so heart warming. Are you known to be funny, were things funny in real time or did you add the humorous moments when you were writing?
A: I think life is inherently comic and tragic, sometimes at the same time. One way we manage pain is be seeing the humor in the ridiculousness of the human condition. I mean, we’re all ridiculous at times even though our pain is very real. So the humor was inherent to the narrative. I didn’t need to add anything.
Q: Do you think all that you went through has helped you become a better therapist?
A: I think that seeing Wendell made me a better therapist. As his patient, I got to see a therapist who brought his personality into the room, who was so unselfconscious and authentic while also holding appropriate boundaries. In graduate school, we’re taught to be careful in many ways and sometimes that layer of training gets in the way of being human in the room, of creating a deep, rich experience that ultimately helps the patient most. I wouldn’t be the therapist I am today had I not had that modeled for me by my own therapist. And I think you can see some of that evolution happening in real time in the book, as I leave his office and go to my own, and make different choices in the therapy room with that day’s patients.
Q: Your story was enlightening and gave me a lot to think about. One thing that struck me was the fact that therapists mourn alone due to privacy issues. Did Julie’s husband recognize you at the celebration of her life, or did you attend unnoticed?
A: He knew who I was because I saw Julie at their house for the lat few sessions when she was too sick to come into the office. So I met him then. But I was very much anonymous, by design, at her funeral to protect her privacy.
Q: You described therapy as a relationship between patient and therapist rather than one sided. When you told Wendell he wasn’t a man (meaning you didn’t see him that way, you saw him as a therapist) did you realize that is how others may see you? Is it difficult for you to be stripped of your feminine self and seen as a therapist rather than a woman?
A: I’m still my feminine self in the therapy room – I/m me, in all of the ways i present in the world. That’s the point he was making. We’re not robots, we’re human beings. And patients respond to us the way they respond to people in the world.
Q: I cried so many times while reading your book: you knew exactly how to get to my emotions. Why do you think that is the case?
A: I think the book resonated so widely because it’s real life – not the social media version of life, but just life. And that’s so relatable. Readers are deeply invested in these people because they see parts of themselves in each person I write about. They’re invested in both their hardships and their triumphs. Readers become very attached to these patients, just as I did as their therapist.
Q: What are you reading these days? What do you recommend?
A: I just read the galleys for Elizabeth Strout’s Olive, Again. It’s a follow up to Olive Kitteridge and it’s phenomenal. Can’t recommend it highly enough! I just reviewed it on Goodreads.
Q: I hear your book is going to be a drama series on TV. Can you share any details about it?
A: The TV version is both comedic and dramatic, like the book. Therapists have been portrayed in all kinds of unrealistic ways on TV, so I hope this show helps to change that. It’s about a woman who happens to be a therapist, versus a show about a therapist. And I think that distinction makes all the difference.
About the Author:
LORI GOTTLIEB is a psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author of MAYBE YOU SHOULD TALK TO SOMEONE, which is being adapted for TV with Eva Longoria. In addition to her clinical practice, she writes The Atlantic’s weekly “Dear Therapist” advice column and contributes regularly to the New York Times. She is sought-after in media such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, CNN, and NPR’s “Fresh Air.”
Learn more at LoriGottlieb.com or by following her @LoriGottlieb1 on Twitter.