Lori Gottlieb is a therapist that takes us into the goings-on of her office and patient’s lives in this nonfiction book , but she is also seeing a therapist as she works through an unexpected and emotionally devastating break-up. She brings us into the room both in her own sessions and the sessions she runs with her clients—a Hollywood producer with no chill whatsoever, a young woman living with addiction, a beloved patient tackling grief and a terminal illness— and, as a result, lets her readers into the human psyche.
I, like many people in this time of constant mental health talk, am very curious about therapy. It’s something I whole-heartedly support and think most people can benefit from, though I have never been myself. This book seemed like the perfect foray into this topic, since the author takes us into the therapists room both as a client and as a psychiatrist. I absolutely loved it and have already recommended it a couple of times!
Not a light book by any means and a very large one on top of that, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone took me almost two weeks to read. The stories the author brings to the table deal with some of the most challenging parts of being a human. Grief and death are in heavy rotation, as are psychological crutches and the human tendency to stereotype and make assumptions that almost always set us back. Essentially? All the things people don’t want to talk about in day to day life. However, I found the candidness and frankness of Gotlieb’s sessions to be so cathartic and informative. For example, one of the clients the author returns to frequently is a powerful, wealthy Hollywood producer who comes off as aggressive, arrogant, and unpleasant in early sessions. Then, the sessions well underway, they have a breakthrough. It becomes apparent what has caused some of these behaviors and the man starts to see a way out. It’s so gratifying to watch this subtle shift and it made me respect even more the hard, hard work therapists do every single day.
I also found it inspired and very brave that Gottlieb shared the contents of her own sessions with a therapist, which she started seeing after a particularly difficult break-up. It takes a lot of guts to paint a less flattering image of yourself through the raw emotions brought up in a therapy session. By including her own shortcomings and the contents of her own sessions, the author brought herself down to her patient’s level and allowed me to see her as just another person.
This book is doing the hard work of normalizing exercising good mental health while also incorporating some very helpful and comforting pieces of encouragement and “therapy talk” that I personally found so insightful. For example, Gottleib makes a metaphor about a challenging turn in one of her patient’s lives being like a trip to France that is unexpectedly and suddenly sidelined to Holland. The discussion that follows and many others will stick with me as I navigate challenges in my own life. I picked up a lot of really valuable lessons from reading this book and I would happily sit down and read another 400 pages inside Lori Gottlieb’s office.
Overall? Highly recommend this emotionally intelligent, eye-opening trip behind the privacy of a therapist’s door.
This book was kindly gifted to me by the publisher. All thoughts are my own!
PUBLICATION DETAILS: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 2, 2019); 433 pp; 1328662055; Nonfiction -> Psychology