If you’ve ever been in therapy—and let’s face it, who hasn’t? (but, PS, if you haven’t, you probably should)—you know what it’s like to need someone to talk to when you’re in crisis, and you know that while therapy helps, it is not painless. You have to do the work in order to get out of the box you’re in. In this captivating memoir, subtitled A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, Lori Gottlieb begins in medias res, as they say. Having just pre-ordered tickets for a movie that weekend, her longtime boyfriend suddenly grows silent. Is he regretting the choice of movie? No. He is breaking up with her.
Gottlieb, a therapist, tries to shake off the pain, but ultimately realizes she can’t handle this by herself, so she goes into therapy. This book, which is pretty funny considering the circumstances, reveals her thoughts as she leads therapy sessions with her clients and engages in her own work to figure things out. If you’ve ever wondered what your therapist is thinking while you sit there and weep uncontrollably (and who hasn’t—both wept and wondered?), this book provides some answers. It also sheds light on how people grow and change. Gottlieb’s clients—a young woman with a terminal illness, a self-absorbed Hollywood guy, and a senior citizen who is thinking about killing herself if her life doesn’t improve—help her realize some things about herself, too.
MAYBE YOU SHOULD TALK TO SOMEONE is full of wisdom, humor, and insight. One of my favorite observations is this: “Many people come to therapy seeking closure. Help me not to feel. What they eventually discover is that you can’t mute one emotion without muting the others. You want to mute the pain? You’ll also mute the joy.”
It’s work, but it’s good work.