Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed

From a New York Times best-selling author, psychotherapist, and national advice columnist, a hilarious, thought-provoking, and surprising new book that takes us behind the scenes of a therapist's world--where her patients are looking for answers (and so is she). One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes...

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Title:Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed
Author:Lori Gottlieb
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Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed Reviews

  • Jessica Jeffers

    If you've followed me here on Goodreads for any length of time, you probably know that I am incredibly passionate about mental health advocacy. It's something that we need to talk about more, so we can break down the stigma surrounding it and more people can pursue help. So it should not be a surprise that I was excited to read a memoir about a therapist pursuing therapy to help her deal with her own issues—or that I absolutely loved the book.

    These days, I'm pretty open about the fact that I see

    If you've followed me here on Goodreads for any length of time, you probably know that I am incredibly passionate about mental health advocacy. It's something that we need to talk about more, so we can break down the stigma surrounding it and more people can pursue help. So it should not be a surprise that I was excited to read a memoir about a therapist pursuing therapy to help her deal with her own issues—or that I absolutely loved the book.

    These days, I'm pretty open about the fact that I see a therapist and I love it. I have (only semi) jokingly said many times that I think everyone should give it a try at least twice—go to the initial intake appointment then go at least once more to get a feel for it. Even if you don't think you have a diagnosable condition such as anxiety or depression, just talking out your challenges and breaking down your less-than-great behavioral patterns with an unbiased third party can be an eye-opening experience. It's taken me a long while to get to the point where I feel comfortable talking about it with others, and I appreciate anything, like this book, that will help more people talk about the process.

    Lori Gottlieb pursued a career as a therapist relatively late in life. She started out as a TV writer, but her time on

    spurred her to more seriously think about a medical career. She worked as a freelance writer while attending medical school and gradually began to feel pulled in too many different directions. It was the "helping people" part of medicine that most strongly interested her, so an advisor suggested that she switch from and MD to a PhD in psychotherapy.

    And yet, she hadn't really been in therapy herself, outside of the practice sessions she was required to do as part of her training. So when her fiancee ends their relationship out of the blue and she finds that she has trouble processing her emotions about the situation, Gottlieb decides to seek out some professional help. Using some clandestine methods, she asks a friend for a recommendation and begins seeing Wendell, a therapist to whom she has no professional or personal connections (a surprising challenge!)

    Gottlieb starts out thinking that she just needs a couple of sessions to get over this hump, as it were, but her conversations with Wendell make her see that she could actually use more help than she realized. It's a jarring realization, but it's also one that seems to make her a better therapist as it makes more clear the struggle some of her patients have in connecting the dots between their pasts and their presents, their problematic behaviors and the painful consequences, and being honest about things that don't put themselves in the best light.

    The memoir is divided between recounting Gottlieb's sessions with Wendell, her sessions with her own patients (specific details of which I have to believe have been heavily obscured), and a little bit about her path toward becoming a therapist and single mother. The result is an incredibly open and honest look at the therapy process that lays it out better than any other depiction of therapy I've ever read—Gottlieb makes it clear that your therapist is not there to tell you what to do but to help you recognize how your own patterns might be causing you unnecessary pain, but she's also honest in showing how hard it is to recognize not-so-flattering sides of ourselves and how deeply ingrained our those patterns can be. She's deeply empathetic, even when her patients frustrate her. She seems deeply committed to learning how to be better as a therapist

    a patient.

    I even spent a good chunk of a session talking about this book with my own therapist, partly because I knew it was something she'd enjoy reading and I can never not recommend a book to anyone when I think they'd enjoy it, but also because reflecting on Gottlieb's experiences genuinely helped me have a breakthrough about some of the work that I've been doing for the last couple of years. This is a great memoir and I highly recommend it to all readers.

  • Schizanthus

    Do you know how difficult it is to whisper an ugly cry? I do. There I was at 3:30am, relaxed and enjoying the insight and surprising humour of this book, caught up in a ‘just one more chapter’ loop. Then, out of nowhere, I was ugly crying as quietly as possible so I didn’t wake up the sensible people in my home, those who actually sleep when it’s considered an acceptable time to do so. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly ‘out of nowhere’; I knew it was coming at some stage with that particular patient bu

    Do you know how difficult it is to whisper an ugly cry? I do. There I was at 3:30am, relaxed and enjoying the insight and surprising humour of this book, caught up in a ‘just one more chapter’ loop. Then, out of nowhere, I was ugly crying as quietly as possible so I didn’t wake up the sensible people in my home, those who actually sleep when it’s considered an acceptable time to do so. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly ‘out of nowhere’; I knew it was coming at some stage with that particular patient but I wasn’t expecting it right then.

    That wasn’t the only time I cried during this book (there may have been another four tissue grabs and some very dignified sniffling involved) and it wasn’t the only time my tears caught me off guard (who knew I’d cry about the patient I initially loved to sneer at!) but it did remind me of some of the reasons why I never formally used my psychology degree.

    : Although I don’t cry a lot about my own stuff, I am a champion crier when it comes to pretty much anything else. Movies. TV shows. Songs. Books. When you cry about your stuff. When I think about your stuff and consider how brave, resilient, [insert any number of adjectives here] you were, are or are going to be. Who wants to come to therapy and feel like they need to console their therapist about their reaction to their patient’s problems?!

    : There would be certain types of people and life experiences where I just know I couldn’t remain impartial. ‘Oh, so you’re a child molester? Allow me to introduce you to another patient of mine, the one that keeps getting imprisoned for assault. I’m sure you’ll get along just fine.’

    : The goodbyes. See

    .

    Full disclosure: I started reading this book while my own therapist was on leave. Besides confirming my decision to not actually be a therapist (you’re so welcome, all of the people whose lives would have crossed my path in this way. I hope you found a Wendell instead!) I also got a glimpse of what it’s like behind the scenes for therapists, something I’ve always been interested in, something that’s difficult to obtain because of that pesky ‘confidentiality’ thing.

    I’m not ashamed to say that I have my very own Wendell, who is awesome by the way. None of us get out of life unscathed and I think pretty much everyone could benefit from therapy at some point in their lives. One of the perks this book offers is a therapeutic ‘try before you buy’; if you’ve been considering therapy but are hesitant to schedule that initial appointment, then reading this book will give you some idea of what to expect - from the therapist, from the experience, and how it looks when it’s done right.

    I enjoyed Lori’s down to earth approach, her compassion and ability to bring truth to a situation, while still making me smile along the way. She humanises our experience of pain and even when she’s talking about her own therapy, her insight and openness had me smiling in recognition much more frequently than the narrative made me cry. Of her own therapy:

    Of her therapist:

    A quote I

    :

    And another:

    Oh, and I have to share this one too:

    I highlighted so many passages in this book that each time I started another binge read it felt like I was experiencing my very own mini therapy session. I saw myself in Lori and in her patients, even the initial ‘love to sneer at’ one, probably because I saw something of myself in them as well. I saw my own therapist in Wendell and felt probably too much pride in having found myself such an amazing ‘Wendell’ to help me navigate my presenting problem as well as the real issues behind the facade.

    From the presenting problem to the “doorknob disclosures”, “what-aboutery” and self-sabotage, all the way to the “termination” (seriously, can therapists collectively find a less aggressive way to label someone’s graduation from therapy?), I ‘just one more chaptered’ my way through this book.

    Although at times I felt voyeuristic, have some outstanding questions about Lori’s patients I’m not entitled to know but still want to (Would you please tell me John’s real name or at least the name of the TV show you kept referencing so I can binge watch it?) and had at least one ugly cry headache as a result of reading this book, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to pretty much anyone.

    Much like the way Lori talks about who therapy can’t help, I think the only people who wouldn’t benefit in some way by reading this book are those “who aren’t curious about themselves.” I’ll leave you with what’s currently my favourite quote:

    include mention of suicidal ideation, addiction, mental health, grief, chronic illness and a whole pile of other reasons people seek therapy in the first place.

  • Elyse Walters

    Audiobook…narrated by

    Brittany Pressley... ( Brittany was excellent). I can see reasons for owing a hard copy as well as the Audiobook.

    Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist who writes a “Dear Therapist” advice column. She lives in Los Angeles. She attended Yale and Stanford University. She has an impressive life/ career resume.

    We are taken into her therapy sessions with her clients. We also walk through the door with Lori for sessions with her therapist.

    This book is the real deal.... not cheesy-

    Audiobook…narrated by

    Brittany Pressley... ( Brittany was excellent). I can see reasons for owing a hard copy as well as the Audiobook.

    Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist who writes a “Dear Therapist” advice column. She lives in Los Angeles. She attended Yale and Stanford University. She has an impressive life/ career resume.

    We are taken into her therapy sessions with her clients. We also walk through the door with Lori for sessions with her therapist.

    This book is the real deal.... not cheesy- cheap advice.

    From both sides of the couch - Lori is easy to relate to. She has it terrific sense of humor. She brings out thoughts & feelings in us - that melt naturally into our skin as easy as smoothing coconut oil on.

    She’s not obnoxious- or too over the top. She’s honest - reminding us how human we all are. It’s fascinating watching the way a therapist cracks open the slippery little salamanders -that people ( all of us), don’t want exposed - especially when feeling too vulnerable or threatened.

    Loss, grief, betrayal, failure,

    depression, change, ... it’s all covered and more.

    We become clear the way good therapy works - therapist can’t change situations but they can help clients have a deeper understanding of themselves.

    Lori shares about her life experience and daily conversations being as important to bring into a session when working with a client as much as her of academic training.

    This book is seriously personal and primal!

    Absolutely outstanding- excellent - compassionate - and informative.

    Two thumbs UP!!!!!

  • Renee (itsbooktalk)

    Ever have a book that just completely blows you away? This was THAT book for me!....

    I listened to the audio which was perfection. The narrator was one of the best I’ve ever listened to but I had to have a print copy for highlighting & putting on my 5⭐ bookshelf. ⠀⠀

    The set up: LA therapist Lori Gottlieb finds herself in need of her own therapist, so we get alternating chapters with her and her wise therapist Wendell interspersed with chapters of Lori’s sessions with her clients. I was SO inve

    Ever have a book that just completely blows you away? This was THAT book for me!....

    I listened to the audio which was perfection. The narrator was one of the best I’ve ever listened to but I had to have a print copy for highlighting & putting on my 5⭐️ bookshelf. ⠀⠀

    The set up: LA therapist Lori Gottlieb finds herself in need of her own therapist, so we get alternating chapters with her and her wise therapist Wendell interspersed with chapters of Lori’s sessions with her clients. I was SO invested in every single client. I felt like I was on a journey with them and by the end I wanted more. This book is somewhat long (14 hour audio) but I flew through it and would’ve gladly read 100 more pages. PSA for you....Do not listen to the last 1/3 while driving...all the tears will most definitely cloud your vision like it did mine!

  • Olive (abookolive)

    Check out my review on Booktube:

  • JanB

    What is therapy like? The author breaks down the walls and gives us a peek behind closed doors into her sessions with clients as well as sessions with her own therapist, who she consults after a devastating break-up. We also get glimpses into the author's education, career, and her personal life.

    I felt as if I got to know her and her patients and I became invested in their lives. Details were changed for confidentiality, but the spirit of the stories remained true and the problems were real. I c

    What is therapy like? The author breaks down the walls and gives us a peek behind closed doors into her sessions with clients as well as sessions with her own therapist, who she consults after a devastating break-up. We also get glimpses into the author's education, career, and her personal life.

    I felt as if I got to know her and her patients and I became invested in their lives. Details were changed for confidentiality, but the spirit of the stories remained true and the problems were real. I cried with Julie and cheered when John and Rita made breakthroughs. The author divulges some tricks of the trade and along the way imparts bits of wisdom that we can take away to use in our own lives.

    I listened to this on audio and could have listened to more. The style is easy-going and totally engaging. I plan on getting a hard copy and putting a tin of book darts to good use.

    Highly recommended to anyone who loves ‘behind the scene’ looks, character studies, and insight into all things psychological.

  • ✨    jamieson   ✨

    I didn't really have many expectations going into this except that I had heard a few good things about it on Booktube. But it's a book I ended up telling everyone I know about as I was reading it.

    This follows Lori, a therapist who goes to therapy herself after her boyfriend breaks up with her and she finds herself unable to cope with it. What was supposed to be one or two emergency sessions leads into Lori discovering her grief over the break-up might have more root issues than she expected. To

    I didn't really have many expectations going into this except that I had heard a few good things about it on Booktube. But it's a book I ended up telling everyone I know about as I was reading it.

    This follows Lori, a therapist who goes to therapy herself after her boyfriend breaks up with her and she finds herself unable to cope with it. What was supposed to be one or two emergency sessions leads into Lori discovering her grief over the break-up might have more root issues than she expected. Told partly as Lori goes through her therapy, and partly through the therapy of her own patients, this was a really unique and human memoir.

    I saw a few reviews saying they didn't get the point of this memoir but I think it didn't necessarily need a point. For me, it was just a really nice book that demystified therapy and attempted to show how every person has similar issues, struggles and fears and how even the most difficult of clients can find something of value in therapy. I thought it was a book about humanity and all the different shades of people, but how we are all connected to eachother through human relationships and interactions. The way the experiences of Lori's clients are mirrored with her own in therapy really drove home this idea for me. I also thought this was just a really interesting book about a therapy and how it actually works and some of the psychology behind it, and utilised by, therapists.

    Anyway, overall I really liked this. I found myself super attached and invested in the stories of Lori's clients and I would genuinely describe this as illuminating. Both in how it illuminated the inner lives of people and the things all people have in common, but also in showing the process of therapy from a personal and meaningful standpoint.

  • Marina

    I'm writing this review to see if I can make sense of my experience with this book. Even though I found myself immersed in it for days, and making as much time as possible to read it, the experience ended up not being completely satisfying for a few reasons.

    My main complaint is: the stories are real but are supposedly disguised enough to protect her clients' privacy... so they aren't real. I was reading about those compelling characters and wondering what percentage of what she tells is the trut

    I'm writing this review to see if I can make sense of my experience with this book. Even though I found myself immersed in it for days, and making as much time as possible to read it, the experience ended up not being completely satisfying for a few reasons.

    My main complaint is: the stories are real but are supposedly disguised enough to protect her clients' privacy... so they aren't real. I was reading about those compelling characters and wondering what percentage of what she tells is the truth. Fifty percent truth is not the same as ten percent truth, and what's the point of detailing a therapeutic process if you've invented and mixed up the stories for literary/privacy purposes? I'm a therapist myself and I know how unique each case is, how the effect of a sentence or an intervention depends on that person's particular context, so I don't see the value on basing it in real stories unless they're a hundred percent real. Also, the dialogues can't be real either, unless she records the sessions, which she doesn't clarify. It makes me wonder if it's all a bit polished up to fit the narrative, which feels a tiny bit scammy.

    That's why think this would have worked better as a novel. Lori is a very good writer and she builds great characters (I loved John and the dialogues between the two of them). This semi-disguised format makes me feel as she's faking the honesty and the sharing, so I'd have rather read something that's completely made up and taking it for what it is: fiction.

    I also feel like Lori holds back a lot of her personal struggles, maybe for lack of physical space, since the book is already veeery long. I've read her prior book about finding a partner, Marry Him, and knowing how hard her struggle to find a partner was before Boyfriend, I'd have guessed that's what made her break up with him that painful. But she says nothing about that (maybe because she doesn't want this book and Marry Him to overlap?) and talks about everything else in her life instead. She tries so hard to make a point of her meltdown not being about her love life that she forgets to talk about her love life entirely, and it comes across as insincere if you know where she comes from.

    The Wendell character falls flat for me. I don't see the quirkiness in his way of doing therapy, maybe because I've known my share of quirky therapist and believe me: he doesn't cut it. Check out Milton Erickson or Giorgio Nardone's interventions: THAT'S quirky. Gottlieb tells but doesn't show that Wendell is a 'different' kind of therapist, but I can't tell the difference between his and her way of doing therapy, at least from the interactions she writes about.

    My last problem with the book is about her misleading explanation of what therapy is. There are a lot of ways to do therapy and some of her assertions work just for a few of them. You can do brief therapy successfully. You can do Skype therapy successfully. I am a licensed therapist too and some of her beliefs about the nature of human suffering and the right way to alleviate it are completely wrong to me, but I wouldn't write a book about my particular therapeutic orientation without disclaiming that other professionals might think and practice just the opposite. It's a disservice to the profession that can misguide people in search of help into thinking that the only way they can get it is if they spend months and months doing weekly face to face therapy with tons of silences.

    The book does have its merits. It's compelling and I didn't get bored even though it's long. The dialogues are, as I said, funny and well-constructed. It makes you reflect on yourself and what you want to do with your life. The stories are engaging, even though you can't help but wonder whether everything really ended up with such a round, Hollywood-esque ending. And I personally like Lori very much. If she didn't quite hit the spot for me with this book it's because she takes risks with her writing, and I admire that.

  • Allison

    I'm really not sure what to say about this book. The positives: I like that it is open and honest about mental health, therapy, self-love, and facing our fears (even if we're unaware what those fears are!) More books with a focus on these themes need to be written! I felt close to each character as I got to know them and truly cared about the outcome of each of their stories.

    The not-so-positives: I'm not really sure what the "point" of this book is. It seemed like a journal that the author late

    I'm really not sure what to say about this book. The positives: I like that it is open and honest about mental health, therapy, self-love, and facing our fears (even if we're unaware what those fears are!) More books with a focus on these themes need to be written! I felt close to each character as I got to know them and truly cared about the outcome of each of their stories.

    The not-so-positives: I'm not really sure what the "point" of this book is. It seemed like a journal that the author later decided to publish (which she kind of admits to at the end). It was clearly therapeutic to her to write it and make sense of what she had been through, but I'm not sure how helpful her breakup experience is to the rest of us. The structure was a bit disorganized (chronologically) and hard to follow at times; there did not seem to be a clear plot with problem and resolution. I kept finding myself thinking, "Wow, that's [emotion or reactionary adjective here], but...so what? Is this relevant to the rest of the 'story' somehow?" I would have liked there to be a bit more focus, and irrelevant details could have been left out to move the book along and help readers understand what the author wanted the message or theme to be.

    Overall, I'm glad I read this book; I connected with the characters in many ways and cared for their wellbeing. I just wish it had been more strategically written and organized so that I would be left understanding what the author was really trying to communicate. It could have been a lot more powerful.

  • j e w e l s

    AUDIO

    It's not you, it's me.

    Anne Bogel enthusiastically raved about this book on her weekly podcast What Should I Read Next. She recommended it in the same breath as

    and I am obsessed with that book. So, despite my misgivings about listening to all the therapist-speak, I used a precious Audible credit on

    .

    has had an interesting life working in Hollywood first as a tv producer

    AUDIO

    It's not you, it's me.

    Anne Bogel enthusiastically raved about this book on her weekly podcast What Should I Read Next. She recommended it in the same breath as

    and I am obsessed with that book. So, despite my misgivings about listening to all the therapist-speak, I used a precious Audible credit on

    .

    has had an interesting life working in Hollywood first as a tv producer on shows like Friends. Then, quitting that glam life to enter medical school, then quitting medical school to train as a therapist. All the while, freelance writing and selling her articles to magazines. Got all that?

    I could only listen to 3 or 4 hours of this

    before screaming and throwing in the towel. Gottlieb comes off as completely self-indulgent, self-obsessed and, weirdly--NOT FUNNY. She, seriously finds herself most amusing. Ugh.

    I returned this Audible book (did you know you can do that?) and bought another Anne Bogel recommendation. Yeah, I still trust the lady with her book suggestions. But, I'm gonna listen to my own instincts first!

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