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    the story behind the book | kate tuttle

    A therapist talks about her own therapy

    david wilson for the boston globe

    After a devastating breakup, Lori Gottlieb found a new therapist. Nothing unusual there, but for Gottlieb, who is herself both a therapist and a writer, the work she did with Wendell (a pseudonym) led not only to insight but also to a new book. In “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone,” Gottlieb describes therapy from both sides — as a patient with Wendell, and as a practitioner with a parade of patients of her own, including an angry man in midlife, a young woman dying of cancer, and an old woman confronting life’s regrets.

    Gottlieb, who writes a weekly advice column in the Atlantic, hopes her book can demystify therapy, which she wishes more people could benefit from. “It almost sounds like a cliche at this point, but I really do think we have a mental health crisis in this country,” she said. “We’re very on it with our physical health, but we don’t value our emotional health. And so I hope this book really helps people to see that there are a lot of benefits to going and having this rich human experience with another person who’s trained to help you.”

    Even readers who don’t pursue therapy, she added, might benefit from reading about it. “Part of it is so that people will feel less alone in their experiences,” said Gottlieb. “They might not relate to these particular people in the specifics of their situation, but I think that they will relate to, ‘Oh yeah, I shoot myself in the foot the same way.’ I think that there will be things in here that help people to see themselves more clearly, or to see people that they care about more clearly.”


    Gottlieb will read at 7 p.m. Friday, April 5, at Brookline Booksmith.

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    Kate Tuttle, president of the National Book Critics Circle, can be reached at