In life, change — even positive change — is hard, and sometimes we inhibit our own healing. In those moments, it’s helpful when someone breaks us out of harmful narratives and patterns. For years, author and therapist Lori Gottlieb has done just that — helping patients access therapy to gain new understandings of their lives. In her written work, she brings readers into therapy sessions and demystifies the process for anyone who has doubts about seeking a therapist. Lori tells Claire what her first therapy experience was like and describes how she navigates writing about her own personal struggles.
Resources from the show
- Check out the Maybe You Should Talk To Someone Workbook, Lori’s latest book
- Listen to the Dear Therapist podcast with Lori and Guy Winch
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Claire Bidwell-Smith, Lori Gottlieb
Lori Gottlieb 00:00
But with our emotional health, usually people don’t come to therapy until they’re having the equivalent of an emotional heart attack. And at that point two things happen. One, it’s harder to treat because we got to get you back to baseline. And now we can do the work that got you there in the first place. But the part that breaks my heart is that you’ve suffered unnecessarily for weeks, months, and sometimes years. It can take people years before they finally say, I need to go talk to someone when if they had come in, when they first had that thought they would have saved themselves so much time of really suffering.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 00:48
Hi, I’m Claire Bidwell Smith. Welcome to NEW DAY. In the years Lori Gottlieb has worked as a therapist and author, she’s gained a valuable perspective on how people’s healing journeys develop over time. What you hear in her voice is the urgency in helping patients with their emotional health. But we also hear Lori’s compassion and understanding for people and all they’re going through in life. As long as I’ve known Laurie, those virtues have driven her work and helping people access therapy. In both her practice and written works, she helps people broaden their own perspective on life, and shift harmful narratives that may be inhibiting their healing process. We’re going to spend time with Laurie in this episode, understanding what drives her work, what her first therapy experience was like, and what it’s like to write about her own personal struggles. We’ll also hear about her new work but companion to her popular book, maybe you should talk to someone which aims to guide readers in a search for their authentic life stories. Hi, Lori.
Lori Gottlieb 01:55
Hi there. How are you?
Claire Bidwell-Smith 01:57
I’m good. I’m happy to see you.
Lori Gottlieb 01:59
I’m so happy to see you, too. Thank you for doing this.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 02:02
I start every episode of this podcast by asking my guests. How are you doing today? But how are you really doing?
Lori Gottlieb 02:07
I am really doing well. I just got back from being out of town. And I very much needed that. So I feel very refreshed.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 02:15
Oh, that’s good to hear. Well, I’m excited to have you on today. There’s so much to kind of dig into. But I wanted to start with asking you, you know, you’ve become this incredibly famous therapist now over the last years. And I’m wondering, is that what you wanted to be when you grew up?
Lori Gottlieb 02:33
I never thought I would be a therapist; it was never part of my plan. And I actually really didn’t have much of a plan. I just knew what I liked. And so I was a really big reader and still am. And I just loved human stories I loved, you know, the psychological truths that I think you could read in novels, I loved memoirs, where people were really talking about what a lot of us think or feel, but don’t really say, and there’s this, this feeling of me too. I like I really understand this person. And I feel like this person really understands me in some fundamental, universal way, even if our experiences are different. And so I was always interested in story and the human condition. And when I graduated from college, I went into a field that I thought would be great for those interests, which was the entertainment business because you get to tell stories all day long. So I worked in film development. And then I moved over to television, where I felt like you could tell stories over a longer period of time, and really get into the arcs of the characters over many, many seasons. And so I was I was at NBC. And when I got there, the two shows that we were premiering that year were two shows you may have heard of one was called friends. And the other was called ER, and it was ER actually, that set me on the course to becoming a therapist, but I didn’t realize it yet at the time. So I spent a lot of time in the real ER with our consultant on the show. And he was an ER doc. And he kept saying to me, I think you’d like it better here than you like your day job. And it was true, it was so true. Because nobody comes into an emergency room because they expected something to happen. So it’s an inflection point in people’s lives. And you’re there to witness it and to help people through it. And I was fascinated by that idea of the big plot twist in our lives. And so I ended up applying to medical school. And when I was there, I started writing about all of the experiences that I was observing. And so I fell in love with writing and I really wanted to help people to tell their story. So I became a journalist. And it was later after I had my son when I think many new parents can probably relate to this when I needed another adult human to talk to during the day, and the UPS guy would come with all our many deliveries when you have a new baby, and I would literally detain him and say things like, you know, how about those diapers? And do you have kids and what’s going on in the world and, and he would back away to his big brown truck to avoid the lonely, you know, new mom who needed someone to talk to. And so I went from helping people to tell their stories as a journalist, to helping people to edit and change their stories, as a therapist, and I feel like I’m doing both in both of these, I have this hybrid career, and I feel like I’m doing both things. And they’re very complimentary.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 05:40
Yeah, yeah, I’ve always been similar. I was a writer before I was a therapist. But it was that same draw of like, this is storytelling. You know, this is about how people tell their own stories, how they can edit them, how they can change them, how they can rewrite them, helping them to really dive into and explore those narratives that we carry around. It’s fascinating. It’s a really cool intersection.
Lori Gottlieb 06:02
Right, and that idea of all of us being unreliable narrators, I think that’s so interesting, because we’re so sure that the version of the story that we’re telling is the only version and the quote, unquote, accurate version. And it’s accurate from our perspective. But we can also broaden our perspective and see so much more to the story. And also, we can help to get rid of those faulty narratives that we’re carrying around, you know, those narratives, like I’m not lovable, or nothing’s ever going to work out for me, or I can’t trust anyone, or whatever those narratives are, that are these old stories that were told to you, by someone else. And whoever was telling you that story was telling it, again, from their faulty narrative from their being an unreliable narrator, and from their own history. So they were passing down their own skewed stories, projecting them onto you, and then you grew up internalizing those and believing those about yourself. But that story had nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the storyteller, everything to do with the person who told you that story.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 07:08
I feel like it’s so overwhelming for people to think about it that way. Sometimes, in the beginning, where they’re like, Oh, my God, wait, everything I believe was true is not true. And how am I ever going to untangle all these false, you know, stories and narratives and the whole backlog of it? And that the generational trauma of it? How am I going to ever like be okay, but it’s not so daunting as I think it can seem sometimes, you know, I think you start in small ways, right?
Lori Gottlieb 07:34
Yeah. Well, I think also, it’s quite liberating to realize that all of these stories that have left you trapped there that have left you doing self-sabotage that have kept you from reaching for things that have kept your life very small, really aren’t in the way and they never have been, but you just didn’t know it.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 07:53
What was your first experience of going to therapy?
Lori Gottlieb 07:57
My first experience of going to therapy was when I was 11 years old. So I’m pre-shrug, as they say, you know, I grew up feeling like the black sheep in my family. I did not, you know, I was not, I didn’t really fit into my family culture, I was sort of the truth teller, I was what we added in the therapy profession called the identified patient, which is, you know, that person in the family holds all of the family mishegoss, all of the family stuff. And they become problematic, because they’re saying, wait a minute, something’s wrong here. But nobody wants to hear that everything looks fine from the outside. So I was that identified patient. And it was a really interesting process when you go as a child, and you’re inside the family system, because the therapist can help you to see some of the stories that aren’t really true. But you go right back into that family system.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 09:01
Oh, that’s so hard. Do you think every family has an identified patient?
Lori Gottlieb 09:04
I don’t. I think that I think that people hold different pieces for you know, of the family, right? So certain people will hold different things. But I think that in in really healthy families, there’s not an identified patient, I think people really take responsibility for what’s theirs. And if they don’t see it, they’re open to getting feedback about that. And I do think that it’s in families where there is generational trauma, where people have not worked out something and then they pass it on to the next generation where you get these identified patients.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 09:35
So your book, maybe you should talk to someone total runaway bestseller, but not the book you were originally trying to write?
Lori Gottlieb 09:42
No, it was I like to call the accidental book. So originally, I had written a piece for The Atlantic it was a cover story called how to land your kid in therapy. Why our obsession with our kids happiness might be dooming them to unhappy adulthood and that piece went out absolutely viral. And of course, then publishers wanted me to write the book version of that. And I didn’t want to write the book version of that, because I felt like there were so many books out on overparenting, or helicopter parenting. And I felt like, at a certain point, the books make people more anxious. And I said, Listen, I want to write about adults and what’s going on with the adults. And that was really front of mind for me, because I think we’re so focused on what’s happening to the kids. But really, the adults need to take care of themselves in order to be better parents anyway, and just be better. People be better partners be better to themselves be kinder to themselves, and to understand themselves and navigate through the world differently. And so if we can’t do that, and model that, then it doesn’t matter how many parenting books there are. I think happiness as sort of the end goal is a recipe for disaster. But I think happiness going through it as a way of finding meaning purpose, fulfillment, that’s what leads to happiness. I wanted to bring people into the therapy room to see the human condition as it really is, and to see how do we get through our struggles? How do we find meaning? How do we find connection? How do we find, how can we love and be loved, all of the things that matter. And I think that we learn that most through story, again, going back to story and the human condition. And I thought, I hear stories every day in the therapy room that I think would be so useful for other people to hear top,2 I have the privilege of sitting in the room with these people, but other people don’t. And what they get instead is Instagram and sort of this curated view of life, but they don’t get what the vulnerability and the intimacy that I get to see as a therapist. And I think that so many people would feel less alone if they got to see that. And they would also learn how people actually navigate through the world and grow and change and transform, I said, I wanted to bring people into the therapy room, and I’m going to follow the lives of some of my patients. And then I’m also going to show me going to therapy with my therapist, because I say at the beginning of maybe you should talk to someone that my most significant credential is that I’m a card carrying member of the human race that I know what it’s like to struggle to be a person in the world.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 12:39
It is such a masterful job of bringing us into the room with you, both in your own therapy and with your clients. And was it hard like were there ways you needed to help yourself find your way into those stories and into those spaces when you were writing?
Lori Gottlieb 12:56
I think that the beauty of nonfiction is that the story is already written, meaning that you know exactly what happened, you just have to find a way to share the story. I think because therapy happens in the cadence of weekly sessions, that it just naturally lends itself to chapters. So sessions became chapters, you know, you could move the stories forward just in the way that a narrative moves forward organically.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 13:23
And what was it like to write about your personal story?
Lori Gottlieb 13:26
I was very open and raw and vulnerable in the book. And then when I turned it into my editor, she said, Oh my gosh, I laughed, I cried, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I gave it to everybody in house. They gave it to people. And I thought, Oh, no. Like, I might have cleaned myself up a little bit if I knew that all these people were going to be reading it.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 13:52
But that was the beauty of it was that everybody related to you and to your clients.
Lori Gottlieb 13:56
Well, right. But I so I so I think that, you know, part of it was if my clients were going to be that vulnerable notebook, I felt like it would be disingenuous if I was not going to be that vulnerable in the book. Of course, they have pseudonyms and all of that, and I don’t. But I think the other thing is, I think that the reason that so many people have resonated with the book is because I didn’t clean myself up. It’s because you really do get the rawness you do get me at not my finest moments, you do get, you know, the big gap between you know, saying that I want something and doing exactly the opposite. You see me self-sabotage, you see me not have the insight. Even as a therapist, you can see that I do the same things as a patient that my patients do with me. And I think that just makes us all human. I think that we’re far more the same than we are different and it was really important for me to show that so I was really glad that I did not clean myself up.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 14:51
No, I agree. I think you know; I write a fair amount about my personal life and my struggles and the things I moved through and there I do have a tiny voice in the knocked my head that’s like people are gonna think I’m too fucked up to be a therapist, you know if I really am honest about all the things that I go through and struggle with or have struggled with. But I think that I think that’s the beauty of it. I think that, you know, why would you want to see a therapist who hadn’t been through their own things or didn’t understand these things? How do you reckon? Do you ever get that voice in your head?
Lori Gottlieb 15:21
I, after writing, maybe you should talk to someone, I don’t. I think that, you know, once I saw that this really was healing for so many people to be able to relate to all five of us in the book. And so when I say there are four patients in the book, there really five patients in the book because I’m the fifth patient. And I think that there’s something so healing about that for everybody, for me, included, you know, to not have to hide, to be able to say, This is who I am. And to feel comfortable with that. And not feel like as a therapist, you have to be a paragon of equanimity. But that you are a person who’s figuring things out and learning and growing.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 15:57
Yeah, absolutely. What do you think, are some of the myths people have about therapists? What do they think therapists are supposed to be or who they are?
Lori Gottlieb 16:07
Oh, so many. You know, it’s interesting, because we’re doing a TV series of the book. And one of the things that’s so important to me, is to dispel some of these myths that the media has put out over all these years about, you know, how therapists are, I think one of the big myths is that you’re going to come to therapy, and your therapist is like this brick wall, right? Who doesn’t really say anything, therapy is so active, you know, I hope that your therapist is being active in the room with you, and that you’re not feeling like you’re coming and just, you know, downloading the problem of the week and leaving, I think another big myth is that you’re going to come in, you’re going to talk about your childhood ad nauseam, and you’re never going to leave therapy. And that’s just not true. You know, I think that therapy is much more focused on the present and the future than the past. And what I mean by that, is that we’re working actively with, what is it from the past that is impacting you in the present? And how can we look at changing the present? Because that will impact what your future looks like. And so we’re very much working with that we’re working with what’s happening in the room between the therapist and the client? And what are some of these old stories that are getting in the way. So we look at the past, and it’s certainly there, but we’re trying to make sense of the past in a way that you haven’t before. We’re trying to kind of look at the other threads of the narrative there. And I think another myth about therapy is that therapy only happens in the room. And it doesn’t, I always like to say, and I say this, and maybe you should talk to someone that insight is the booby prize of therapy, you can have all the insight in the world. But if you don’t make changes between sessions out in the world, the Insight is useless. So someone might come in and say, oh, you know, I got into that fight with my partner over the weekend. And I totally understood why. And I’ll say, okay, but did you do something different? Well, no, but I understood why. Okay, well, that’s the first step. But then the next step is, now that you understand it, let’s talk about what you can do differently. How can you respond differently, when you start to feel that you when you start to feel yourself dis regulating in that moment, or you feel so you feel yourself triggered by something. So I always say to people that you need to do work between sessions, most of the therapy happens between sessions, when you’re putting into practice, what we talked about during the session.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 18:31
what do you do with clients who come in? And they say they want to do the work? And they don’t they don’t do in between the therapy sessions; they don’t even do it in the room. What do you do there?
Lori Gottlieb 18:41
I would get very curious about why that is. And I would explore that with them. You know, why do I seem to care more about your well-being than you do? Why am I more invested in this in you changing than you are? That something’s off here? So let’s talk about that. Let’s understand that. And I think partly, it’s because change is hard. I think people don’t realize that, that you know, why change is so hard, even really positive change, because they think this is a good thing. So why is it hard for me to do the thing that I know will be make my life easier. And it’s because change means that we have to you know, change and loss travel together. So when we change, we are losing something and what we’re losing is the familiar. The familiar is very comforting, even if we don’t like the familiar so why do people stay in relationships too long, they’re making them miserable jobs that they’re not happy with, situations that they know are not good for them are just patterns, addictions, patterns, ways of being, because it’s comfortable, it feels like home. And if and if your home was chaotic or dysfunctional, that’s comfort to you in a weird way.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 19:53
How does someone know if they’ve found the right therapist?
Lori Gottlieb 19:56
I think so many times people don’t realize that that The relationship with your therapist is the most important factor in the success of your therapy is very different from say, going to your internist or your cardiologist or whatever it might be, where you see them infrequently, you’re not telling them your most vulnerable, you’re not revealing the most vulnerable parts of yourself. And the kind of care you get is pretty standard, right? Like, I’m having heart palpitations, let’s run this test. There’s so much about the chemistry in the relationship with your therapist, that’s going to be important. And so yes, there are years of experience or theoretical orientation, all that matters, but not as much as the relationship. And so I always say to people, when you go in for a first session, that it’s a consultation, it’s a chance for you to sit with this person, and just see what it feels like. And if at the end of the session, you can answer these two questions first, did I feel like this person understood me in the way that a stranger who doesn’t know you yet can understand you? But did you feel like there was something where you felt like, yeah, I felt good, I felt understood. And the other one, which is really important for people to ask is, did the therapist say something that just made me stop for a second and think about something differently? So we’re not going to challenge people too much in the first session, we’re just trying to get to know them. But we might ask a question like, oh, when? And how did you come to think of that? Or what do you think the other person would say, if they were sitting here right now? How would they tell me this story, you know, just something very gentle, but just something that they might not have considered before. I think that’s important, because a lot of people think I’m going to come to therapy, and the therapist is just going to validate me and it’s going to feel really delicious, because validation does. But you’re not going to learn a lot. If you’re just getting validated, you want to get we’re sort of we’re a witness and a guide. So the witness is the validation part. And the guide is the let’s help you see something that you haven’t already been able to see. It’s like the difference between what I talked about in the book, the difference between idiot compassion and wise compassion. So our friends off, they tend to offer us idiot compassion. And idiot compassion is what we do. Because we love our friends very much. And we it’s hard to see them suffer. And so they tell us this story. Look, what my partner, my mother, my boss, my child, you know, my siblings did. And we say, yeah, you’re right. They were wrong. That’s terrible. You deserve better. You know, we say all those things, you go girl. Well, the problem is that often, if we listen to ourselves, or our friends, we were telling sort of the same story, maybe different characters, different person. But we’re not really learning anything about our role in it. In wise compassion, what we do is we hold up a mirror to you, and we help you to see something about yourself that maybe you haven’t been willing or able to see. So yes, you might be dealing with a difficult person, we always say before diagnosing someone with depression, make sure they aren’t surrounded by assholes. Right? So because you know, there are so many difficult people out there. So we’re not denying that there are difficult people. But what is your response? And are you doing something that intensifies the difficulty in the tension? Or is there another way.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 23:24
you write so beautifully about grief at boss in all of your work? And, you know, I specialize in grief. And yet, I always think about how we all see grief, we all see loss and everything at all, all throughout our lifetimes. I think all therapists see it with all kinds of clients and all kinds of stories. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Lori Gottlieb 23:42
Yeah, I think people don’t talk enough about it. And I think partly, it’s because people don’t know how to respond or offer support to somebody, you know, often they try to talk them out of their feelings. They don’t let them sit with the pain. They don’t acknowledge the pain. People are afraid of the pain. So they kind of maybe even don’t check in with you because of it. And I think that loss looks like so many different things. It’s very unique to the person. And there are so many different kinds of loss. I think people understand more a physical loss, their loss, it’s tangible to them, like someone died. But there are so many kinds of losses on I have a podcast called dear therapist where we do sessions with people. And this week, we did a follow up with a woman we talked to last year in her session about she was having recurrent pregnancy loss. And it was, she felt so invisible, and nobody could understand the profound grief every time she lost a pregnancy. Because it was kind of like nobody acknowledged that there even really been a loss. You know, you lose your eight year old child. People say, oh, the child was here, the child is gone. You lose your pregnancy, that nobody even really knew she was pregnant. And then you know, she tries to talk about it and people say oh, You’ll get pregnant again, you know, just the things that they say, you know, it’s isolating anyway, to deal with a loss. It’s incredibly lonely. But it’s even more lonely when people don’t even acknowledge the depth of the loss that you’re experiencing. And there are even losses, like being single people who are like, really wanting a partner, and they have that profound sense of loss for the person they haven’t yet met, and the loss of the life that they expected to have, there’s so much grief in that and people don’t understand all the different shades of grief. And I think that it ends up leaving a lot of people in much more pain than they need to be.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 25:40
That’s beautiful. I appreciate that. I think you’re right; I think that there’s just so much that we don’t allow ourselves to feel and don’t allow ourselves to recognize, and it’s always a disservice, and it always spills out, and all these other places, and just helping give people permission to grieve some of these losses that they haven’t previously recognized for themselves or had recognized, you know, in their supporting environment. How is it going being a famous therapist? Like? Do you feel like are you just hit up on every side for advice? And I mean, even like myself, I mean, I feel like I’m constantly getting asked, from every single person I’ve ever known, you know, where can I find a therapist? Or how can I do this? Or how do you manage that for yourself?
Lori Gottlieb 26:50
Well, I think what I’m really trying to do is to make emotional health accessible to people. And so I think when you say famous, I think what you and I are doing is we’re just bringing it out of the therapy room and making it accessible to everybody. Because it’s so important, the quality of our lives and the quality of the lives around us, all the people around us, if we aren’t really functioning in the way that we could function, then that’s going to impact the people around us too. Because I think therapy had been just this thing that happened behind closed doors. And I really want people to see, first of all, you asked about misconceptions. I want them to see what it actually is. So when they hear a session on dear therapists, and they actually see oh, that’s what therapy sounds like, or they read my book, and they see oh, that’s what therapy looks like. I think it might help them to even question whether they might want to explore therapy.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 27:39
Yeah, I’ve been trying to just make grief work more accessible as possible and make it as accessible as possible in my world? And how do you do that? And how can you do it even small ways that feel like something people can understand or, you know, utilize in little bits and pieces. I have seen so many changes in the last couple of years with the pandemic in terms of the way people have been understanding grief in the ways that people have been thinking about mental health and the ways they’ve been looking for help with mental health. What kinds of changes have you seen?
Lori Gottlieb 28:12
I think one of the big things is that I write about in the book, this idea that there’s no hierarchy of pain, that Pain is pain. And so you know, it’s not a contest about whose pain is more or worse or worthy of being talked about. And I think during the pandemic, that kind of broke down in a good way that people were like, I need to talk about this. And so it used to be I think, and I think it’s sometimes it still is, but I think the pandemic again, was a small step in breaking this down, that, you know, we had this difference between how we treated physical health and how we treat emotional health. So in physical health, you fall down, you break your arm, you don’t say, Well, I’m not going to go to the doctor and get an x ray and get a cast because somebody else has stage four cancer. And so they are the ones who needs to go who needs to go to the doctor, I don’t want to take up their space, their right, or mine isn’t really that bad compared to it. That’s the hierarchy. You know, we don’t do that. But with our emotional health, usually people don’t come to therapy until they’re having the equivalent of an emotional heart attack. And at that point, two things happen. One, it’s harder to treat, because we’ve got to get you back to baseline. And now we can do the work that got you there in the first place. But the part that breaks my heart is that you’ve suffered unnecessarily for weeks, months, and sometimes years. It can take people years before they finally say I need to go talk to someone when if they had come in when they first had that thought they would have saved themselves so much time of really suffering. So I want people to just get rid of that hierarchy of pain. There is no hierarchy of pain, and your emotional health is incredibly important.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 29:54
How do you take care of yourself during this work? Is it ever hard for you?
Lori Gottlieb 29:57
I think that the hardest thing is What I think is hardest for my clients too, which is being kind to myself. So I think all the kinds of things like making sure that you eat well and take walks and have some downtime, that part’s a little easier for me, I’m really good about that. I think the part that’s hard is, is this idea of just that voice in my head of you should be doing this or, or just being really hard on myself about what I ever am not doing. And you know, it’s funny, because pre-pandemic, and now more where we are now in the pandemic, I’m back on stages. And often I’ll save from the stage, you know, I’ll say show of hands, who’s the person that you talk to most in the course of your life? Is it your partner? Lots of hands. Is it your parent? Is it your sister, is it your best friend, lots of hands for all of those. But the person that we talk to most in the course of our lives is ourselves. And what we say to ourselves isn’t always kind or true or useful. And those three criteria are really important. And so I had this therapy client, and she was so self-critical. And she didn’t see it. I kept pointing it out. But I was not getting through to her. And I said, Listen, I want you to go home. And I want you to really listen for this voice. And I want you to write down everything this voice says to you in the course of the week, and then come back and we’ll talk about it, but really listen. And so she was very skeptical. And she came back the next week, and she whips out her phone where she had written everything down. And she starts reading and she starts to cry. And she said, I am such a bully to myself. And they were things that she had written down like, she was typing an email, and she had misspelled a word. And she said the voice in her head when you’re so stupid, how many of us do things like that where we just, you’re so stupid. If her friend had made the same typo, she would not have thought that her friend was stupid, she never would have said it, she wouldn’t have even the thought would never have crossed her mind. So I think that the part that I find difficult is what my clients find difficult, which is, is it kind is it true? Is it useful? And I really have to work on that on a daily basis.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 32:06
Last question, How has being a therapist kind of just changed the way that you view humanity? You know, we’re going through a lot of hard times right now, a lot of things going on in the world? How do you view just kind of humanity at large?
Lori Gottlieb 32:20
I think that one of the things we see as a therapist is that there’s a difference between how someone presents and who they are underneath that. And so many times someone’s behavior is indicative of something else, that we interpret their behavior as, oh, that person is being a jerk, or that person’s insensitive or that person doesn’t have empathy. But really, it’s their defense. It’s their way, it’s their armor. It’s their way of protecting themselves. And I think when you get to when people show you the truth of who they are, when they disarm themselves, I think that humans are so beautiful. I think we’re I think we’re so complex, I think we’re so ridiculous. And in a way where we can laugh at ourselves. People think therapy is very serious. But when I do therapy, we laugh a lot in the room too. Because I think there’s that gap between, you know, what we say we want and what we do, and all the ways that we tie ourselves up in knots that we don’t mean to. And just like all the all the sort of complexities of relationship. So I just think that human beings are endlessly fascinating that we need to be kinder to ourselves, and we need to be kinder to each other. And when we have more compassion for ourselves, like a domino effect, we have more compassion for others.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 33:39
I love that. Thank you so much. I’m so grateful for the work you’re doing. It’s I think that you are, you know, really breaking down barriers to therapy. I think you’re, you know, dispelling myths, and you’re helping people get help. So I’m really so grateful to everything you’re doing.
Lori Gottlieb 33:55
Well, thank you so much. And back at Yeah, because you’re, you’re doing similar work. And I just think the more of us out there who are talking about these things, and the more people in general, who are starting to talk about this, I think it’s really going to change the way that we live.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 34:10
Thank you so much, Lori.
Lori Gottlieb 34:12
Thank you so much, Claire.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 34:20
I really appreciate how vulnerable Laurie was about her own doubts and anxieties around providing therapy to people even as she navigates her own healing process. But I think that’s the invaluable perspective. She’s offering us that there’s power in our honesty, and that harmful narratives only have strength if we buy into them. In short, she’s someone who’s demystifying therapy, helping people move beyond barriers to healing and sharing her own struggles so that people don’t feel like their experiences are solitary. Having someone like that in your corner or on the therapist chair with that kind of empathy can be transformative for your health. Before I go, our world needs more grief support than Ever. If you’ve ever considered working in the field of grief and loss, I’d love for you to join me for my upcoming grief certification training course. This program is designed to help deepen your understanding of grief and end of life work. And it’s open to students, counselors, therapists, nurses, even yoga and art teachers. Anyone working in a professional setting, use code NewDay15 for 15% off registration, and visit my website Claire Bidwell smith.com to learn more. That’s it for today. Make sure you subscribe to the show so that you never miss an episode because there are three episodes every week now. Have a great weekend and see you Monday.
Claire Bidwell-Smith 35:37
NEW DAY is a Lemonada Media Original. The show is produced by Kryssy Pease and Erianna Jiles. Kat Yore is our engineer. Music is by Hannis Brown. Our VP of weekly content is Steve Nelson. And our executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and me, Claire Bidwell Smith. NEW DAY is produced in partnership with the Well Being Trust, The Jed Foundation and Education Development Center. Help others find our show by leaving us a rating and writing a review. Follow us at @LemonadaMedia across all social platforms, or find me at clairebidwellsmith.com. Join our Facebook group to connect with me and fellow NEW DAY listeners at facebook.com/groups/newdaypod. You can also get bonus content and behind the scenes material by subscribing to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcasts. Thanks for listening. See you next week.