Not everyone is open to the idea of being in therapy. People that we know and see everyday may even be in therapy. A bad breakup, anxiety, depression, a slump, any number of reasons can bring someone into therapy. But talking about it and actually accepting it as part of life is a different scenario. But Lori Gottlieb, an LA therapist, recently publishes a book called "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone," chronicling her journey through NBC, medical school, becoming a therapist, and the catalyst that made her seek professional help with her own personal life.
I wouldn't have picked this book up if I just saw it on the shelf. It is not typically a genre that I would find myself in but once I started, I couldn't stop. Lori's life was an incredible insight into how therapists are people too and that they need help sometimes. We are introduced to the framework of Lori's life where at 28 years old she decided to pursue medical school after working at NBC and then quit that to pursue becoming a therapist. She introduces the reader to Zach, her son that she conceived via a sperm bank donor and to several patients that she works with. When her long term boyfriend leaves after declaring he does not want to be saddle with a kid, she turns to Wendell, a cardigan-wearing veteran therapist, to begin her own therapy.
This book illuminates several things through its pages. One is that therapists are taught to read the room and answer in an appropriate way but sometimes the situation may call for something more than just a carefully worded statement. Lori meets a woman names Julie who is newlywed and dying of cancer. She asks Lori to help her plan her death and how she should set her affairs in order. In a witty and almost morbid way, Lori did exactly that for Julie and more.
We learn that therapist have a life outside of work. Lori struggles with her father's health, raising Zach, and contending with balancing her grief towards humanity. But she shows up everyday for her patients. She still gets joy in helping people like John, the crass Hollywood writer who is mourning the death of his son, and Rita, the elderly woman who vows to commit suicide by her next birthday. Through all of her anecdotes, we get a real glimpse of what it is like for Lori to reveal herself to Wendell.
Lori's relationship with Wendell also flourishes throughout the book. At first glance, Wendell does and says unpredictable things that make Lori feel off kilter. He does not prescribe to what Lori would like and keeps her on her toes every session they get. By the end, they become kindred spirit. Perhaps by letting us witness all of this, Lori is letting us into a not so secretive world. And I think more people need to take a look into it.