Inside the World of Therapy


Article by Mary Ellin Arch

Photography by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash


Maybe You Should Talk To Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, by Lori Gottlieb

I almost picked this book as my 2020 book club selection, but it was so backed up at the libraries I figured everyone would have trouble getting a copy, so I chose something else. When I finally reserved it at my library as a desired optional read, my position on the waitlist was, as I recall, 45 of 45. I hit "Place Hold" and waited months for the book, and when it finallyfinallyfinally arrived ... drumroll ... I was not disappointed.

This is one of the best books I've ever read. Anyone who's ever had therapy - and who hasn't? - will see themselves, to some degree, in this book. You'll also see everyone you know, to some degree, in this book. And you will learn a lot about how good therapy works (file that for the next time you interview a potential therapist) and about the tightrope that therapists walk between getting close but not too close to their clients (or patients, choose your preferred term for people who go to therapists), not to mention the fact that therapists need therapists and how kinda-sorta weird that can be.

And if reading this book gets you hooked, the author, Lori Gottlieb, writes the "Dear Therapist" column in The Atlantic, so you can always get your Gottlieb fix. Not only is the book amazing, but so also is Gottlieb, whose multifaceted career took her from Hollywood to medical school, professional writing to professional counseling - man, I want her for my next therapist, just to tap into her life experience.

This book taught me the term "idiot compassion," which I'd never heard from any therapist ever, and which I went right out and Googled and realized that yes, indeed, I had done this and sometimes still did it, and resolved right then and there to stop (or at least work on stopping; isn't that the whole point of getting therapy?).

So hopefully, if you're reading this now, the book is not nearly so backed up on the hold lists, and you can get it promptly and find revelations of your own. Or, heck, just buy it. It's a book you could very well re-read, or at least refer back to. 

5 out of 5.

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