Lori Gottlieb Documents Her Experience as Both Therapist and Patient
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.