I was deeply touched and impacted by “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb. The book is written by a therapist and shares stories about her patients and her own experience in therapy after a breakup. She seeks therapy to work through her feelings about the breakup, and discovers that maybe there is an underlying grief that has been brought to the surface.
We hear about a difficult client, John, who seems to unlikable and rude. It seems impossible that he’ll get anything from therapy. But through the course of the book you learn a lot about him, his past, and what is behind his actions. I loved seeing the evolution and his humanity. His story brought me to tears multiple times.
There’s also Julie, a recently married woman who learns she has a deadly form of cancer. I learned a lot about life through her outlook and grace as she chose how to spend her final time on this Earth. Her story was deeply touching and captivating. It illuminated aspects of my own life I may sometimes take for granted, and it reminded me that sometimes there is no right, positive thing to say to someone in such a tragic situation. You just need to listen and love them.
In Lori’s own journey through therapy, I was reminded that therapy is not meant to convince your therapist that a person has wronged you or to prove that they are a sociopath. It is to work through your own feelings, responses, fears and underlying stories. There’s often a hidden issue to uncover. Seeing her work through that was inspiring.
“Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” also offers a unique perspective about therapy from the therapist’s point of view. We may not think about how therapists are real people with real problems. They must navigate the line between becoming emotionally invested in their clients and staying professional and keeping their work confidential. They also get questions like, “Should I tell you about my childhood?” in response to what they do for a living, even though you wouldn’t ask a someone like a gynocologist to give you an exam just because that’s what they do for a living.
I recommend this book whether you’ve gone to therapy or not. It provides many unique insights to life.