Lori Gottlieb Documents Her Experience as Both Therapist and Patient

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone Book Cover Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
Lori Gottlieb
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
April 2, 2019

One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down. Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in whose of­fice she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but.

As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients' lives -- a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can't stop hooking up with the wrong guys -- she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell.

With startling wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is rev­olutionary in its candor, offering a deeply per­sonal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds and providing the rarest of gifts: a boldly reveal­ing portrait of what it means to be human, and a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them.

‘It’s impossible to get to know people deeply and not come to like them. Lori Gottlieb

Not since reading Harry Potter, in my younger years, has a book made me simultaneously want to keep reading while also not wanting it to end. Still, in about three days, I managed to finish Lori Gottlieb’s Maybe You Should Talk to Someone 526 page, self-help-meets-memoir e-book, while also upping my screen time by 103%. (My iPhone was right on schedule that week to shame me. I wasn’t even finished with the book yet.)

Gottlieb goes through a break-up that shifts the very foundation that her life is grounded on. As a therapist herself, she knows the benefits of seeking professional psychological help. She figures she’ll find a therapist, get through the break-up, and get on with her life. However, in her sessions, Gottlieb’s therapist helps her to realize that there’s more brewing under the surface than just the sudden separation from the man she thought she’d one day marry. It will take Gottlieb many hours on the patient’s chair to accept and come to terms with her many underlying issues.

Intermittently with her own personal experience as a patient in therapy, Gottlieb also takes us through the stories of some of her patients (keeping patient confidentiality intact at all times, of course). We meet a writer for a popular TV show who is literally a human reflector of emotions, constantly rejecting anything that might get anywhere close to his core. We meet Julie who’s been diagnosed with cancer and would like to prepare for death. Then there’s Rita, who’s 69 years old, depressed, and has confessed that if her life doesn’t change in one year, she will end her own life.

Among these and many more “characters,” Gottlieb paints us a picture of humanity as it exists today. She shows us that at our core all humans want, in one way or another, is to find happiness, inner peace, and connection. She shows us that, though they may present themselves differently, we all have the same basic needs.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone left me wishing I could go back to therapy. The connection one can make there, the growth one is able to achieve, to be able to look at one’s self and see ourselves as essentially human, is without comparison. I’ve always been an active advocate for talk therapy and the wonders that it can do for people when they are ready to seek help. Gottlieb’s cleverly written memoir is packed with the kind of wisdom that will definitely sell the benefits of seeing a therapist. Or at the very least, it will leave you with the idea that there is hope for everyone.


A self-proclaimed hermit and potential cat hoarder, Maria lives in Virginia where she writes, proofreads and copy edits as a freelancer. Her longstanding love affair with books began when her mother would fall asleep reading bedtime stories to her. (Don't worry; she was sure to wake her up so she could finish.) Now, as an adult, Maria struggles with a reading vice that has often threatened the hygiene of her home. On the few occasions that her nose isn't buried in a book, she enjoys exploring new cities, having margaritas with her sister, and curling up with a book--wait, what?

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