“Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” – Lori Gottlieb (5/5 ★)

This book was everything I was hoping for and so much more! Just as its subtitle says – “A therapist, her therapist, and our lives revealed”, this book will give you an insight into the world of therapy while most importantly diving into the topic of therapists having their own therapists too. It’s extremely satisfying from a voyeristic point of view, getting insights into sessions of the author’s patients, but also a bit weird… You’re reading little bits & pieces of information that theoretically should be completely confidential… But that’s what you get when you go for a therapist who’s also a writer and at least the permission was taken from everyone.

“The relationships I write about here, between therapists and patients, require a sacred trust for any change to occur. In addition to attaining written permission, I have gone to great lengths to disguise identities and any recognizable details, and in some instances, material and scenarios from a few patients have been attributed to one.” (Author’s Note)

I instantly got drawn into the story so that I read almost half of the book in just a single sitting. The style is fluid and easy to follow, while the narrative is extremely personal and intimate. It takes a lot of courage to be so open about some of one’s darker moments in life and even more so while being a therapist who everyone expects to be a perfectly balanced human being.

“[…] Often it’s therapists who feel uncomfortable when our outside worlds collide. […] Here are some things you can’t do in public as a therapist: Cry to a friend in a restaurant; argue with your spouse; hit the building’s elevator button relentlessly like it’s a morphine pump. If you’re in a rush on your way into the office, you can’t honk at the slow car blocking the entrance to the parking garage in case your patient sees (or because the person you’re honking at is your patient).” (p. 178)

I appreciated the raw sides of the story and even felt like having gone through a therapy session to a certain extent myself when reading. There were actual little bits of psychological terms & methods skillfully woven into the story, so that you were effortlessly learning along the way.

“[…] Too often people feel pressured to forgive and then end up believing that something’s wromg with them if they can’t quite get there – that they aren’t enlightened enough or strong enough or compassionate enough.
So what I say is this: You can have compassion without forgiving. There are many ways to move on, and pretending to feel a certain way isn’t one of them.” (p. 302)

To me, so many topics that I was wondering about got covered within this book: a possible attraction forming itself towards one’s therapist, the differentce between in-person & video therapy or whether therapists make better parents to their children (spoiler alert: not necessarily 😛 ).

“[…] The upside of being a therapist’s child is that nothing gets shoved under the rug; the downside is that you’ll be totally screwed up anyway.” (p. 83)

“So much of what I’m doing to help him relies on our in-the-room interaction. Say what you will about the wonders of technology, but screen-to-screen is, a colleague once said, ‘like doing therapy with a condom on’ ” (p. 136)

I’d suggest this book to both types of people: who have or haven’t experienced therapy. To those who have never tried therapy will have their curiousity satisfied by finding out how it works like on real life examples. To those, who have already had their experience with it, I can imagine enjoying a peek into the backstage world of what goes on in the head of their therapist. In my point of view “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” is really well written, managing to keep a sense of humour, while being informative, as well as emotionally touching – to me it had the full package for a 5/5 ★ rating!

★★★★★ (5/5)

Edition: ISBN 978-1-911617-04-4
Scribe, 2019

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