Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life by Christie Tate is an engaging and entertaining read. The author goes deep as she brings us with her to group therapy sessions and shows how the difficult process of revealing personal secrets allowed her to develop more intimate relationships.
In this memoir, Christie Tate, a lawyer with an eating disorder and overwhelming feelings of sadness, shares with us her journey as she is faced with thoughts of suicide and then takes the chance to heal by opening up to her therapist, Dr. Rosen, and some strangers in group therapy. Dr. Rosen assigns to Christie some odd tasks and after considerable resistance, she begins to trust him and complies with his unusual requests. Developing a strong sense of self and her quest for intimacy and connection are challenging goals that require continual personal effort and support from the group.
For Christie, the level of trust required to reveal her inner secrets to the other members is overwhelming and painful…
“How do I let the group in? You share with them every aspect of your life that deals with relationships, friendship, family, sex, dating, romance, all of it.”
“Wait what’s going to happen to me when I start group? You’re going to feel lonelier than you ever have in your life. If you’re serious about getting into intimate relationships, becoming a real person, as you said, you need to feel every feeling you’ve been stifling since you were a kid. The loneliness, the anxiety, the anger, the terror…”
As Christie experiences some success in her group therapy she expands participation in additional groups recommended by Dr. Rosen. Developing relationships and becomes increasingly more open, we witness Christie’s personal transformation throughout the book. With openness and humor, Tate shares the breaking down and rebuilding of her self amongst strangers who become trusted friends and her lifeline. I enjoyed Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life by Christie Tate and recommend it.
About the Author
Christie O. Tate is a Chicago-based writer and essayist. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Pithead Chapel, McSweeney’s, Motherwell, Entropy Magazine, A Perfect Wedding, Together.com, Brain, Child and others.