Maybe You Should Talk To Someone
I’m pretty sure we should all talk to a professional counselor or social worker at some point. Lori Gottlieb has masterfully captured life from both sides of the therapist’s couch in her award-winning book, Maybe You Should Talk To Someone. As “a card-carrying member of the human race” and a Marriage and Family Therapist, Lori understands the complexities of the human experience. She shares about her role in therapy as helping her clients edit their story, which she further explains in her Million+ View TEDTalk, “How Changing Your Story Can Change Your Life“.
In This Episode
In this episode, John sits down to talk with psychotherapist and author of the NYT Bestseller Maybe You Should Talk to Someone— Lori Gottlieb about her book, her experiences as a therapist, and how therapists truly feel about their clients.
TED Talk: What if the stories we tell ourselves are wrong?
We all carry around a narrative about how we appear in the world and why things are the way they are. When people get to therapy, they start to see that there is more to the story. In a lot of ways, we are unreliable narrators—we emphasize some things and minimize others.
What are some of the stories we tell ourselves?
- I’m unlovable
- I can’t trust anyone
- Nothing will ever work out for me
When we have those stories running in the background, it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. As a therapist, my job is to act like an “editor” to help people see parts in their story that may need a re-write. This is a very human tendency—we all do it—we exaggerate the negative and can be so unkind to ourselves. We say things to ourselves that we would never say to others—“You’re such an idiot” or “You look awful.” We need to have more compassion toward ourselves.
The Therapeutic Relationship
The most important factor of successful therapy is having a strong relationship with your therapist
Therapists have feelings too!
What are some themes that you see in mental health across the country?
Loneliness, or lack of connection with others (even when they are surrounded by people). Phones and technology are constantly distracting us.
People are not truly connecting with each other.
The book explores situations where therapy was tremendously helpful and leads to change; however, it also shows cases where therapy didn’t work. Sometimes the therapist is not the right fit and can’t help the client in the way that they need.
Building rapport with clients
Timing and Dosage—when am I going to say what I need to say? How much should I say? If you say too much, too soon, their walls will go up. We want to alleviate suffering, but sometimes that takes patience until the timing is right
Analogy of boundaries: Not a fishbowl (too restrictive), not the ocean (too much), we need to provide an aquarium (just right)—for our clients as well as for our kids
Therapists should ask themselves: Am I the right person to help this person with their goals?
Clients should ask themselves: Do I feel understood with this therapist? Comfortable? Is my therapist capable?
Rupture and Repair
Somebody feels misunderstood, hurt, or upset by another person
Some people will flee at the first sign of rupture. Some will become enraged. Usually there is a sense of deep hurt.
We all experience ruptures beginning in childhood. They are a fact of life, even in therapy. Many of us may not know how to deal with it—how to repair.
Repair: I don’t think you’re understanding me, can we talk about it?
It’s important to learn that they can repair, even if they don’t agree. You can’t disagree with somebody’s feelings. You can have a different opinion about the situation. But they feel how they feel.
TV Show based on Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
The book is being adapted to a TV show by Eva Longoria’s company, and the creators of the show The Americans are writing the pilot
Hopefully, the show will normalize the human condition and demystify what therapy is and what therapy isn’t
It’s a show about therapists and their therapy and their lives—the human condition
It allows people to have the conversations that they need to have but may have been hesitant about
Lori is serving as a producer and consultant on the show
The book is non-fiction (names and identifying details changed), but the TV show is totally fiction—inspired by true stories—but completely fiction.
Meet Lori Gottlieb
Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, which is being adapted as a television series with Eva Longoria. In addition to her clinical practice, she writes The Atlantic’s weekly “Dear Therapist” advice column and contributes regularly to The New York Times and many other publications. She is also a TED speaker, a member of the Advisory Council for Bring Change to Mind and advisor to the Aspen Institute. A contributing writer for the Atlantic, she has written hundreds of articles related to psychology and culture, many of which have become viral sensations. She is a sought-after expert in media such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, CNN, and NPR’s “Fresh Air.” Learn more at LoriGottlieb.com or by following her @LoriGottlieb1 on Twitter.
Meet John Dennis
John is a licensed professional counselor with over 14 years of experience who specializes in counseling for individuals, couples, children, and adolescents. He focuses on working with anxious teens and adults, couples who are struggling to connect with one another, and those dealing with grief and loss.