Sunday, December 29, 2019

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb (2019)

When Lori Gottlieb was blindsided by a breakup, she started seeing a therapist named Wendell to help her work through her feelings. A therapist herself, she shares her experience of being in therapy as well as the stories of some of her own patients (disguised, of course, for their privacy.)

Getting the perspective of both therapist and patient made for an excellent read, especially if you're not familiar with the inner workings on therapy. It was interesting to see Gottlieb fall into the same traps as her patients, and to see her therapist help her in ways she recognized as they were happening. Her self-awareness during the process made it all the more educational.

I really liked the stories about her patients. I'm trying not to overthink which parts are real and how the real stories are different, but at any rate they are all great character studies. One is a young newlywed named Julie who is dying of cancer and trying to make the most of the time she has left, while rejecting the uber-positive cancer culture. John is an asshole Hollywood writer who Lori finds very difficult to empathize with at first, but it turns out he's keeping a major tragedy a secret from her and it is only after he is willing to talk about it than any real growth can occur. He was probably the most interesting character. An older woman named Rita is - I'm pretty sure - the person I'm going to end up being someday. She is alone and bitter and feels that she has nothing to look forward to. She has kids, but they are estranged, and she just pushes people away and now that she is old she is isolated and unhappy. All of these people experienced positive growth through their therapy, and it was fascinating to hear the conversations that made them able to change their lives for the better.

There was also a patient she made no headway with and she stopped seeing, which kept it real. This situation highlighted the ways that therapy doesn't work for everyone, and how it only works if you actually keep an open mind and do the work. I'm glad she included this story, or else I would have been skeptical because it all went so much better for the other patients.

This was a lot of book. It was over 400 pages which seems excessive and I started to feel very eager to be done with it, while still dying to know how things turned out for everybody. Mostly it just made me want to see a therapist, since it resulted in major positive life changes for everyone in the book.

To be honest, this book was only vaguely on my radar - it's very popular and I keep seeing it around at the library but I didn't really intend to read it. But one day I saw an available copy and impulsively grabbed it, and I'm very glad I did. It was such an interesting look at the way our views of the world and people around us, and everything that goes on in our heads, affect our lives. I highly recommend it.

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