Book Review: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
by
Lori Gottlieb

Rating:

Lori Gottlieb, a writer and psychotherapist, felt crushed when the long-term relationship with her boyfriend ended abruptly. She was certain she’d been wronged and wanted to find a way out of her pain. So she found her own therapist (Wendell) and, while he was helping her, she was helping her patients with many of the same issues, all of which come from being human.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is the story of four of Gottlieb’s patients and of her own journey to better self-understanding. She explains the similarity and why she wrote the book: “Our training has taught us theories and tools and techniques, but whirring beneath our hard-earned expertise is the fact that we know just how hard it is to be a person.”

Gottlieb introduces us to her patients: John, a highly successful television writer who thinks everyone is an idiot; Charlotte, a twenty-five-year-old with anxiety and relationship issues; Julie, a thirty-something newlywed with a cancer diagnosis; and Rita, nearly seventy and considering suicide.

In chapters that connect Gottlieb’s progress with her patients’, we get to know them all. The author describes how it feels to be both patient and doctor. “Does my therapist like me?” she hopes. “Are my problems boring?” she worries. She talks about the relationships with her patients and how invested she becomes in their progress and happiness. And how they see her. What would they think if they knew that she, too, was in therapy?

As we learn more about them, we begin to see that the problems John, Charlotte, Julie, Rita and Lori have are variations of our own and based on a search for meaning in life.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is both anecdotally funny and informative about theories and methods. Gottlieb gives us insight into her own therapy by laughing at her initial awkwardness with Wendell. She shares her insecurities and obsessions over the “Boyfriend” who broke it off. And as a therapist, she describes the many professional decisions she must make, such as how to honor the confidentiality contract with patients when your paths cross, in person and through referrals. As she discusses their sessions, she shows what methods she uses to see what’s really underneath John’s anger, to show Charlotte how to break her self-destructive habits, to help Julie with a grim diagnosis and to teach Rita how to find a reason to live.

She encourages her patients to acknowledge their pain because “feeling your sadness or anxiety can also give you essential information about yourself and your world.” She emphasizes recognizing sadness and breaking free from “stepping in the same puddle,” pointing out that “most big transformations come about from the hundreds of tiny, almost imperceptible, steps we take along the way.” I like that.

I found this book highly readable and informative. By sharing her problems and relating them to her patients’, Gottlieb erases the stigma of going to therapy. Her message? We all need someone to talk to.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

18 thoughts on “Book Review: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

  1. Relating to this, I have written of my own struggle, titled it “Dog Days and Other Miserable Days.” Would you be interested to read it and post it? How I dealt with serious problems? Talking to someone…

    1. Hi Giselle. Thank you for reading and commenting. My reading schedule is full and I’m unable to accept requests to read and review. I know how difficult it is to find readers and I wish you the best.

  2. I’ve seen the cover pop up on “recommended” lists, but hadn’t looked into it, so I really appreciate your review! This sounds fascinating. I don’t tend to read a lot of non-fiction, but I think I’d really be interested in checking this one out.

    1. Hi Lisa, I thought it was very good. Easy to read and down to earth. The simplicity of it was helpful, but she backs up a lot of what she says with established theories, so it’s not a fluffy book. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I knew you’d love this book. I don’t know why I picked it up – for my Audibles ‘reading in the car’ time. Sometimes I laughed and/or cried so much I had to stop driving. This is one of those books I’d read again.

      1. I’m finishing (finally!) The Great Alone on Audibles. Finding it so difficult to listen to – one of the most depressing novels I’ve read in a long time. :–(

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