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March 28, 2019 42 mins

Therapy can be massively helpful, but it can also feel ridiculous and obligatory. Eager to get a sense of how to make better use of expensive sessions, Fatherly Podcast host Joshua David Stein and co-host Jason Gay reach out to Lori Gottlieb, the noted therapist and author of "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone." The ensuing session covers how to solicit help, what to do with it, and how not to feel ridiculous on that couch. Also, it was free for Joshua and Jason. So that's something.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Hello, and welcome to the Fatherly Podcast. I am your
host Joshua david Stein, joined by Jason Gay, Joshua's co host,
my co host Still Capital c R, A small, small
C capital. I don't know if you've noticed this, but recently,
I feel like there's been an explosion of really compelling
therapist content out there. Like New York Magazine has the

like Ask Your Therapist. There's that woman Esther Perell who's
a podcast. Um. But kind of like the o G
of that whole genre is this woman Laurie gottlieb Um.
She's a calumnist for The Atlantic. She has a calm
called Your Therapist. Um. She just came out with a
book called Maybe You Should talk to Someone A Therapist,

Her therapist and Our Lives Revealed. And it's dope, a
very good book. I've set up all last night reading
most of it, very cood pelling. It's like got case studies,
it's got stuff on her own life. It's always better
when the book is great, right. Have you ever had
to interview people when you didn't really care for their book? Yeah? Yes,

I know. It's so much better when you love the book,
isn't it? Or like I interviewed zach Efron after that
movie The paper Boy, which is famous only because EPs
on Nicole Kidman. Do you remember that didn't see well?
She did have like jellyfish stings. Anyway, it was a
terrible It was great. That was a good scene. But

that was like the only good scene. Yea, it's a
terrible movie. But I talked to him anyway, and it
was it was awkward. Yeah, it's it's always better when
the product is when the product shines. This product shines. Um.
You and I have both been in therapy for years
and I don't know about you, but I'm always wondering, like,
what is my therapist thinking about me? Does she like me?

Find me boring? Am I boring? Am I just spinning
my like my sneakers? Why is her Georgia O'Keefe painting crooked?
Is that like a test? She looking at the clock?
Why are there so many African masks in the lobby?
Is that a nine copy of Life magazine? Foward to

the City drop dead? Anyway, We're gonna talk to Laura
today and I could be more excited. I'm a fan
of hers. Um, I'm a fan of her writing and
a fan of her storytelling and I have a lot
of questions. Let's get started. Welcome to the Fatherly Podcast.

I hope you'll enjoy this show. Hello, Hey, Laurie. Hey, um,
my name is Joshua. That's Jason the other voice. Okay,
you guys sound like eerily alike. Yeah, well it's kind
of us, but personality. Think we got going. There's only
one of us, the interesting Yeah, this is the who.

You're already diagnosing us. Great, I'm just trying to figure
out how I'm going to tell the two of you apart.
But whatever, you'll both say interesting things and I'll answer hopefully.
I'm the sad one. Jason is a playful one. Okay,
got it. It's a good cop, bad cock, but like
depressed and happy. Yeah that's it. Okay, Um, well, congratulations

on the book. Maybe you should talk to someone um
out in April. I've been reading it. It's us. It's
like the best of Oliver Sacks mixed with the best
of Laurie Gottlie Laurie Gottleib. Yeah, exactly. Wow, that's quite
a compliment. Thank you. Run on the cover for the
blurb is already it's already in production. Um. Well, the

some title of the book is a Therapist, her therapist
and and our Lives Revealed, UM, and justin brief for
our listeners, it kind of toggles tween your experience with
your clients that you've seen in your practice, your experience
with your own therapist, a dude named Wendel, and your
experience outside of therapy in your life. So we're a

podcast about being a dad and struggles and triumphs of fatherhood.
I think Dad's face is certain like challenge or block
about therapy or going to therapy, and so we kind
of want to not Jason and I we've been in
therapy a lot for years and years combined. I have
platinum status, UM, but I wanted I was wondering if

you could talk a little bit about your experience with UM,
men's approach to therapy or you know, in securities about
going that kind of thing. That's such a great question. UM.
You know, it's interesting because often when men come to
see me, they'll say things like, I've never told anybody
this before, UM, and I'm the first person who's hearing it.

They haven't told their partners, they haven't told you friends, UM,
family members, and women will usually say something like as
I was telling my mom the other day, or you know,
as I was telling my sister or my best friends. Um,
they talk about some of these experiences, or they tend
to feel like they have more permission to do so

it's more socially acceptable. And I think that for men
talking about their emotions and talking about their struggles, UM,
they don't know how it's going to be received, and
so they just kind of keep it to themselves in general.
Do you feel like, so both men and women, people
who say I've said this to my mom yesterday and

people who say I've never told anyone, they're both on
your couch. Um, But do you see that it has
been helpful or can you have Do you ever read
on whether it's been helpful for the people who have
been able to talk to someone outside of the therapeutic
context or is it kind of sort of minimally effective. Well,

I don't think that the other person helps them to
see things the same way that a therapist would. So
you know, usually your friend will just back you up. Yeah,
you're right, your boss is terrible, you know that kind
of thing. Um, whereas a therapist will really help you
see the situation from a more macro perspective about you know,

what are you doing, what is the other person doing,
what's going on relationally with you, what's going on emotionally
with you? So it's a different experience. UM, but I
think what what it does in telling other people? Um,
it's not that you have to tell other people who
that is necessarily a good thing. It's just that women
tend to know that they have that permission and men

really keep a lot inside. And what happens is they
feel alone in their problems. They feel like maybe they're
the only one experiencing this. They don't know how universal
their experience is, even if the specifics are unique to them,
And I think that that creates a lot of shame
and isolation. And mhm. I've found in my experience this

is Jason, that my therapy experience has become more focused
and I don't want to say urgent, but just feels
very very practical and useful in this respect becoming a parent,
because you can now start to draw lines from you know,
your own behavior and anxieties and uh, you know, interest

to your children and they're very obvious sometimes. Uh. But
it feels as important now as it's ever felt. Um,
And I'm curious if that changes the dynamic. You must
have had clients along the way who have become parents,
both men and women, and what that does to a
therapist relationship. Um. I think what that does is it

really helps people to see themselves in a new way.
Kids will hold up a mirror to you in a
way that as you guys know that no one else will. Um.
And there's a great paper called Ghost in the Nursery
that I highly recommend to people. UM. Some a Frayberg
that was written, you know, decades ago, but that um,

that really talks about how we carry our own childhoods
with us into the way that we parent. Yeah, my
therapist always talks about I hate it when she does.
It's like, what would little josh say? What would you
say to little Josh? First of all, as Joshua, I
think I wouldn't say anything to him. He deserves to

be in a corner and listen to No one of
the quotes you say in your book ended that Atlantic
piece from two thousand eleven, Jason, Oh, yeah, I have
it at my fingertips, But it has one of those
titles that scared the pants off me. Candidly you know, um,
your Atlantic cover story, how kid in therapy? That Yeah,

that one, that's the one. We call that a traffic stopper,
you know, just you're walking off past the news day
and you're like, wow, I got to read that right now. Um,
but the quote is from the poet Philip Larkin. They
fuck you up your mom and dad. They may not
mean to, but they do. That's in your book too. Ironically,
my father, who I don't speak to, texted that to
me a couple of weeks ago, which I just deleted immediately. Um.

It was like, yeah, great, Um, wait where is it? Fuck?
What was I saying? He was sending you an olive branch. Yeah,
I burned it to keep warm from the cold emotional
death escape of my soul. But you were getting at
the idea of oh yeah, yeah, of that essay. Um,

My therapist gave me a book that was called Parenting
from the Inside Out. And that book changed my life
because it's so much what you were just saying that.
It's like all that all those undigested issues that you
carried with you and have carried with you, that's what
gets passed down, the things you haven't worked out. That

was a um, massive wake up call for me. Right.
And the thing is that we don't even realize it.
And I think that's that's what I think therapy can
help parents do, is to understand more about why do
I have that reaction? You know when my child does this? Um?
Why do I feel this as a parent? I wasn't
expecting that. Or I I made a vow to myself

that I would be very different from my parents. And
then look at you know, wait, I'm seeing myself in this. Um.
You know or or you or you know even if
you had you know parents that you want to emulate. Um.
You know, kids will bring up all kinds of issues, um,
and really make you look at yourself. How about I mean,
you have a son who you write about in the

book do yes? How has and he is I'm sure
older now than when you wrote the book. I don't
know how old is he now? I don't know if
you share that in the in the book he's eight
and he's now thirteen? How and so now you have
a teenager living in your house? That's right? How does

that experience? What what do you bring from that to
the couch? Um? You mean as a therapist, as a therapist.
I guess I mean armchair, not a couch. Uh. Um I, um,
you know, I I think some people say, some people
come want to know if they're if they're dealing with
parenting issues. They want to know if you have a kid.

And well, I don't think you have to have a
kid to know how to help people, just like you
don't have to be married to help couples, or you
don't have to have cancer to help a cancer patient. Um.
But I do think that, Um, there's something about you know,
when people are talking about their struggles. I really get it,

you know, as as a parent, I think I really
get I really get the experience of wanting to do
right by your kid and also all of the all
of the nuances of being a parent. I think that
those are the are you know, it's it's challenging, it's
it's challenging and it's life changing. Um. And I think

that people really need to be able to talk about it.
There's so much I think judgment out in the world
around whether people are doing things quote unquote right, and
everybody's gotten opinion, and parents need to learn to trust
themselves and to understand themselves. Um. And they think that
it's hard to do with all of the noise out there. Well,

I think that. I mean that part in your book
where you are talking you've just admitted to Wendell that
it's not just that your boyfriend left. That's problem, that's
why you're having a hard time. But you're supposed to
write this book. Uh. And the first book you're supposed
to write was going to give you a roof of
your head for years and years to come. And that
was based on the Atlantic article about parenting. And basically

what you said, which I think is um laudable, is Look,
the world doesn't need more noise is out there about
how to parent, especially because kind of if I'm understanding
it correctly, the gist of that article is, Um, you know,
the more the more you try to insulate your kid,
the more the heavier the hand you have in terms

of trying to steer them into a path of no suffering,
the more likely it is that when they do face
adversity and suffering, they won't be resilient right right. And
and you know, there are some great books out there
about that. Um, But I didn't feel like that's where
my heart was. I didn't feel like, you know, I

quote the New Yorker. In the books, there's a there
was a piece in the New Yorker saying, like another
parenting book at this point, would you be cruel? Um?
Where you know, I think parents get really anxious for
good reason. Um. But you know, and then they read
all of these books that say exactly the same thing,
which is relaxed. Let your kids make mistakes, let your relax,

but you know, don't don't try to micro manage every
aspect of your children's lives and um. And I didn't
feel like that. I didn't. You know, I could, I
could certainly eat a book out of that, but but
I didn't. I felt like there was something for me,
for me personally. It's not a comment on parenting books.
It's a comment on I didn't. I didn't feel like

I want that that would be a service to parents.
I felt like my article was a service to parents,
that it was sort of gave them something that that
you know, I would give in the therapy room that
now I could give to a wider audience. UM. But
I didn't think that an entire book about that would
would really be doing them as service. I thought it
would be doing them a disservice by sort of stoking
their anxiety and and telling them something they already know.

So I wanted to write something more about adults because
I feel like as parents, we neglect ourselves as adults,
and maybe you should talk to someone. You know, there
are parents in the book. I mean several of the
peas that I write about our parents. John and and
and Rita you know with her estranged adult children. Um.
John with his young children, and let's not give away

what we know about them, um, but there's a shock
and they are about you know, him as a parent
that I really came out of left field that I
had not seen coming. Um. That really, you know, gave
me a whole new window into who he was as
a dad. Um. And he just as a you know,
like the loveliness of his himself as a dad, which

I wasn't expecting at all, because he you know, starts
off is I think he's kind of an asshole, and
he's kind of like a narcissistic jerk and um, and
then he becomes this person that I really come to
to you know, like and admire and and really feel,
you know, this incredible warmth toward one thing that's very instructive.

Is just the idea of hearing the inner dialogue of
someone in your position. I think a lot of people,
even people have done therapy for a long time, there's
just this element of mystery, like what are they really
thinking behind the scenes? Also do they like me? Do
you do I really like me? Like falling asleep? Um?
And and how do you balance that? Because obviously, you know,

you have, you know, restrictions about how you can disclose
things and so on. But but it's incredibly helpful to
actually here is sort of the human side of your
chair in that that arrangement, right right? And I think
that you know, what I wanted to do by showing
myself in therapy at the same time that I was

providing therapy, UM, was that I wanted to show that
I I, as a patient, react very similarly to the
way that my patients react to me. So I want
my therapist to like me. When I see someone in
the waiting room when I'm leaving, like, do you know,
does he look forward to her sessions more than mine?
You know, I'm curious about the other patients, Like what

was that woman crying about when she last? You know? Um?
I asked questions, right, yeah, we all we all have
these questions because it's a very in certain ways, it's
a very one sided relationship because I know a lot
about these people's lives and they don't know a lot
about mine. But I mean, you know, on the other hand,
it's not one sided at all. It's one of the

most I think intimate relationships emotionally that a person can have. Yeah,
with your therapist, it's not it's not at all one
sided in the room in that way, I think that
there's there's such an incredible human connection happening that really
only happens in that space. But I have to say, so,
I am in like a lot of therapy for now.

I do like individual and then I have a group
DBT therapy. But in my um individual therapy, I'm really struggling.
I don't know, now that's a therapy session, it's a
therapy about theory. I'm really struggling sort of with the
idea that like, look, I really like this lady Julia.
She's my therapist. She's super good, and I do feel

like emotionally intimate with her, right, But then also at
the end of every forty five minute long session, um, well,
then I get an invoice and the two D dollars,
which is cool, um, and so it and then I
pay it and then I I don't have two hundred
dollars anymore. And it's like, uh, I'm having a hard

time with the fact that it's emotionally intimate and it
is real, but it's also within the structure of kind
of commerce commerce. It makes me feel really uncomfortable and
it and it it introduces this element which of course
it's more about me than anything else. Of like insecurity,

like is she only listening of course a performance on
her end. She is literally only listening to me because
I'm paying her two D And I don't want to
tell you why that's not true, Because we don't see
patients that we I don't think we can help and
that we don't that we don't like on some level. Um.

And so I talked about that in the book. You
know that a supervisor said to me early on, you know, like,
you know, there's something likable about everyone, And I really
doubted that. I really thought that can't be true. There
are lots of unlikable people in the world. Um. But
once you get to know somebody, um deeply, you know
when you really get to understand them who they are
as a person, if you hear their stories and you know, like,

what is the story of this person's life? You can't
help but like them, Or if they really won't reveal
their story to you, if they really won't get in
there with you, um, you know, maybe that's not the
right fit there is. There are patients and I write
about them in the book where you break up with them,
right because because you don't want to waste their time
or their money, and you want to you want them
to get help in the right place. And so you know,

people always worry, you know is my therapist board and
just listening because you know they're trying to get through
the hour. Boring patients. I talk about this too, and
maybe you should talk to someone that. Boring patients are
not the ones who are telling you what seemed like
the minutia of their life, right um. Boring patients are
the ones who keep you at bay. Boring patients are

the ones who go off on a million different tangents
and can't stay focused on something deeper where they have
their story and they're not open to any revision. Right.
They're not flexible with their story. They think that their
story is the only version of the story. And you know,
I'm a writer and a therapist, and I pretty much
do the same thing in each job, which is that

I edit people's stories. When they come into me. I
want them to really think about, you know, is the
protagonist going in circles or is the protagonist moving forward? Um?
Who are the minor characters? Who are the major characters?
And do we need to kind of switch around who
some of those people are? Um? Do the plot points
reveal a theme? And if so, let's look at that theme.

So it's really about taking someone's story and and saying,
let's look at it from these other perspectives. And so
I don't I don't think that your therapist is sitting
there going like, oh gosh, what do I have to
buy it? Trade? Or Joe's later, you know. I mean,
I think that one thing about therapy is that being
a therapist is it's hard work. It's hard work for

the patients for sure, um, but it's also hard work
for the therapist because you're so hyper focused in the
session that you know how when you're working on your computer,
you can let your thoughts drift a little bit and
you can think about Twitter, you know, whatever you want
to think about. Um, you can't do that in a
therapy session. I think about that all the time. The
idea that a therapist not only is very very focused

within the session, but then immediately jumps to another session.
It has to be focused again. I mean there requires
I imagine the requirement of mental discipline. There is is significant, right,
you know, And it depends on how you set up
your practice. But I have about ten minutes between each session,
and I'm usually writing a chart note in that ten
minutes and scarping down food and getting a drink of water, um,

checking my lipstick after the food, hot dog stand. It's
just one after the next, bum bum bum bum bum.
But I think that, you know, I think we have limits, right,
so I won't schedule more than like I would say,
my max is five in a row, um without a break. Um,
So I think you know, I think that you know,
I know there are people who just go all day

and but I need a break because they think that
I want people to have you know, I don't want
to come out of a session and think that wasn't
my finest hour. I don't want to do that you

have talked about what you've bring from being a writer
into your practice, and I wonder what you bring from
your practice into being a writer. And I asked that
because say you see five patients back to back, you're
getting five peaks into the deepest recesses of five people's
souls and the rich stories there. One of the things

I love about your book is the stories on the
surface are sort of prosaic, but when you really understand
the currents of emotion underneath them, they're so compelling and
like it's not just that you're creating stories for them,
but you're also hearing all of these narratives, right um.

And so you know, I think writing and therapy are
similar in that way because I think as a writer
you want to find an emotional truth, and I think
in the therapy room you're you're hearing emotional truth and
the beauty of it. I mean, I think that people
think of therapy too is sort of this like doom
and gloom, right, and so much so much triumph and

hope and beauty um are intermixed with if all of
the sort of meddiness and complications of the human condition. UM.
And I think that when we read a good book,
whether it's non fiction or novel. Um, you know, it
touches us in a certain way if it can, if

it can reach that emotional place. So I think that
you're right. They are they are very similar that way. Jason,
you're a writer, You're in therapy. I'm a writer, I'm
in therapy. Lawyer, you are a writer in therapy and
a therapist. I wonder do you feel like, because your
job is writing stories, that that makes it easier or
more difficult for you to create a narrative for yourself? Candidly,

I worry sometimes that I'm too I'm sorry, was this
a question for me? I find that I'm I worry
sometimes that I'm a little too clever, like that I
know how to tell a story by now, and that
I can frame a story, an anecdote, an episode that

I want to have, you know, a discussion about in
a way that is, you know, obviously told from my perspective,
but rendered very charitably towards myself. It might not be
the most accurate representation of it. And I worry a
little bit about that, Kavid, that I that I'm not
giving the full portrait that I need to give. And
this sort of devetails with a question I want to

ask Laurie, which is that I am always looking for
like comparisons to like physical and mental health. I write
about sports for a living, and I find sometimes like
there's an analog between like working at and therapy in
that you do have to do the hard work. You know,
you do have to do the heavy lifting, and you
do have to actually do the exercise as dictated. And

if you just sort of stick to the easy stuff
you know you can do, well, You're just gonna get
diminishing returns. And I'm curious if you find that to
be the case. Oh definitely, um, you know, And I
think I think tying that into the you know, your
earlier question out, Um, you know our stories and our

how accurate they are, Um, you know, we're all unreliable narrators.
And and I think that one thing therapy does is
if you're just if you're just going every week and
telling your unreliable story. Um, you know, that's like the
athlete who's who's not um, you know, who's just like
I'll just do the easy shots that I know how
to do, but I'm not gonna I'm not gonna like

stretch myself right, right, and so, but but you know
the thing about being an unreliable narrator is that is
it It's good to know that we that we are
because especially when going back to parenting, when you're you know,
parenting with someone where you're co parenting, um, you have
to remember that there's two people there and that your

version of events is you know, it's not it's not
that people are are trying to mislead other people. It's
that we really do see things through a very particular lens.
And so when person that you're trying to parent with,
you know, see things differently, you have to remember that
both of you need to have more flexibility, that both

of you need to be able to see the other
person's perspective because it is there and you're blinded to it,
and we're blinded to ourselves. We're blinded to you know.
I think you know the main thing that therapy does,
it helps you see your blind spot. It helps you see,
you know, the things that you can't see that everyone
else can see very clearly about. Yet it's interesting. Yeah,

I've been in therapy since I was like eight on
and off right, I'm thirty eight now I had I'm American,
I was raised Jewish. I don't know if that's material
or in material. I had a partner North American Northeastern
American Tri state area which includes Pennsylvania. UM. I had

a partner who was not from It was Latin American,
South American, Central Americ No, the other one South. UM
had never been in therapy, and whenever I tried to
suggest therapy, you know, a couple of therapy or individuals
should just say like why why, how is having another
person in the room going to change anything? And it

was so frustrating for me because I had grown up
just buying into the project of therapy naturally, because I'd
been raised that way. Then to be confronted with another
viewpoint that was just like, that's what is the role?
That the therapist is just another person? And I just
couldn't find a rejoinder that seemed persuasive enough. Well, with couples, often, UM,

you know, they're they're stuck. You know there's something that
there's there's stuck, there's something that's not working right, and
they need to understand it, and they're not going to
understand it by trying to slam their perspective down the
other person's throat. That just doesn't happen. Um, So having
somebody else to kind of help step back and kind

of see each other a little bit differently often can
help a great deal. I think part of it is
that I am very comfortable with people having jobs, like Jason,
you're my co host, right, and a and a person
in a full human, wonderful humanity. But you're a co host,
and like my therapist is my therapist, and like people

have their roles, whereas my partner was like much more holistic,
Like you are a person and this is another person.
So for them, a therapist is another person. And like
I can reveal my innermost secrets on air or anywhere, Um,
that wasn't her thing. That was not like it was like,

how could I betray my privacy to another person? Was like, well,
that person's job is to hear I think one thing.
And I would say this to anybody listening that therapy.
You know, you ought to think of it as like
I don't know what the equivalent is of you know,
you got as something and it's like for class free,
you know, like I always think it's worth a try,
I you know, and and and a couple of therapy

is something I've done in the past um and been
reasonably skeptical of it entering it. But just the exercise
of articulating oneself in front of a professional with your partner,
and then hearing your partner articulate themselves is very helpful.
I mean, it doesn't seem to be too much net

negative from that, even if you don't decide it's something
for you to do all the time. I think just
having that third person in the room for me was
incredibly helpful. Like, yeah, I think the main questions that
therapy helps people answer, whether they're you know, coming alone
or coming in a couple, of coming into families, you know,
it's it's who am I, what do I want? And

what's getting in my way? And apply to couple because
because a lot of times, you know, especially when they
become parents, what are there, how do their roles change?
What do they want? Who are they um? And what's
what's getting in their way? I want to get under

the hood for a second with you a question about
parenting specifically, which is that I worry sometimes that you know,
we live in a world now where everything is you know,
open to diagnosis. You know, every sort of behavior, every
sort of action, you know, is open for interpretation and diagnosis,
and we're very reluctant to kind of just say like, wow,
you know, that's what being five or being forty is

all about. Um. And so I get nervous sometimes my
wife about the idea of thinking or interpreting too much
out of a child behavior, whether it's aggression or um,
you know, something super positive, like you know, oh boy,
it's gonna be a genius or anything. And I'm just

I'm trying to like, yeah, stay arms length from any
sort of like broad interpret interpretation about child behavior. I'm
curious if that's something you encounter or pathologizing, pathologizing exactly, Yeah, definitely. UM.
I think that a lot of parents futurized too much.

Futurists as you own it, okay, Betty Davis. Um, I
feel like that, you know, they see, they see something
going on with their kid, and all of a sudden,
they've like spun it into a story about what's going
to happen when they're a teenager, and what's going to

happen in their twenties, and what's going to happen isn't
later in adulthood. UM, as opposed to just oh this
is let's let's try to understand what's going on with
my kid right now. You know, kids often will communicate
through their behaviors instead of their words because um, they
don't have the emotional vocabulary necessarily, and they don't get

a lot of modeling um. And you know out in
the world I hope they do at home about um
sort of you know, what is it that you're feeling
right now? Um. And by the way, even being you know,
the child of a therapist, I would say, you know,
the good news is that nothing gets sort of shoved
under the rug, but the bad news that you'll be
screwed up anyway. And so um. You know, even in

a in a home where people are very sort of
aware of of emotions, um, you know, kids, kids don't
really have that language all the time. And they also
have less you know, they don't have as much um
impulse control as we tend to have as adults, at
least we can in public and as opposed to the
privacy of wherever, and so um. You know, kids will

act in certain ways that may seem extreme to us
or me all of a sudden, you know, or you
know they're acting in a certain way, and say you
have depression and your child is sad. That parent will think,
oh my god, my kids afflicted with um or you know, anxiety.
A parent who you know struggles with anxiety and their

kid gets very anxious about you know something tests or
you know whatever situations. Oh my god, my kids inherited
my anxiety. Um. What about throwing rocks? Were in the
throwing rock phase? The rockets? You know, why why is
your why is your kid throwing rocks? You know, that's
the thing to say to your kid, like, you know, what,
why did you throw the rock? Um? And just see

what they say because it's fun. As usually the answer
how old your child? I have a four year old
and a six year old, so we're early days. Well
that's fun, you know, throwing a rocket science it's you know,
wait what happens if I throw the rock? But then
you know you can talk to them about well, we
want to make sure that we don't hurt anybody, and

so we want to be careful where we throw the rock,
and we want to make sure we don't take rocks
from other people's gardens because those are their gardens. So yeah,
Achilles is and my my seven year olds into punching,
and he's like and he punches me. It's like, I
really like punching. I just want to punch something. And
I was trying to explain to him that Martin Buber
wrote a book and it's about I and thou relationships,

that you shouldn't see other people as objects, but he
wasn't buying any just punched me again. Um, before you
you know that, it's like planting the seeds of you know, well,
you know, just because you know, and it's hard for
kids to sometimes differentiate between something that feels fun to
them and then it's not necessarily doesn't feel fun to
the other person. Yeah, I basically just said, don't punch things.

I have feelings you can punch. Don't like that, I
like that, I'm Gonna'm gonna steel that I wanted to
ask just for this is kind of like a public
service but for readers. But like I know, I struggled
a ton with this when I was choosing a therapist. Um,
but what would you recommend for guys who do want

to talk to someone? What kind of questions should they ask?
And maybe some guidance about funding the right, Dantist, Great, Dania,
that's a great question. Um, there's actually research out there
that shows that your relationship with your therapist is more
important to the success of the therapy than the person.

The therapist training, what they specialize in, UM and the
method that they use. Right. So, so really it's about
the relationship. It's not to say that the training doesn't
matter UM or the or the kind of you know,
the method that they use doesn't matter, but that UM
is that you have to pick someone that you're comfortable with.
And so in my therapy practice, the first session is

a consultation and I think a lot of therapists do
it that way, where you come in and you know,
it's it's an opportunity for both of you to see
is this really the right place for this person to
be UM? And and it's UM and it's really useful.
And so I think that guys when they're looking for
a therapist should really use that session and say, how
am I feeling in this session? Do I feel comfortable

with this person or do I think I you know,
it's strange that first session, but do I think I
might feel comfortable with this point? Okay, So for the record,
No one's feelings are going to be hurt if after
the consultation the patient is like, you know what, I
don't think it's a great fit. I'm gonna keep looking
right and and even if they were right, because I

can't speak for everybody, UM, even if they were, it
doesn't matter. You're It's like going to a healthcare provider.
Like if you went to if you went to like
your intern and Internet and you're like, I don't really
feel comfortable with that Internet. You get a different Internet.
You're you're the customer here. You want help, and you
need to go to a place where you feel like

you're going to be helped. You're not there to worry
about the therapist feelings. I have a sorry, no, you're
you're You're there to to figure out where you feel bad.
I have a little bit of an embarrassing admission with
regards to searching for a therapist. UM, I went to
one for a number of years that what invariably it

was far away. It was a long trip to get
to this therapist. And by the time I got to
the therapist, I was I was so mad that I
had to go to cross town, switched seven subways and
just so irritated by the time I got there that
I feel it affected my my sessions. And then my
most recent therapist is like right down the street. It's
like a two minute walk. I'm so happy to go.

And is that shallow of me or is that actually
something that could be considered that that matters a lot
because you have to you have to realize it's hard
to get somewhere once a week, right, It's it's not
like your annual physical you You actually you have to
get there and it's everybody's busy, and it's it's hard
to get there. So you need to think about whether
the logistics work for you. And if you've been sitting

in traffic for an hour, you're taking you know, various subways,
it's that can really impact how you feel. I mean,
my my thing with where my therapist is in Midtown
is in the window of this room, which is fine,
I don't need windows, but just that you have office

and office after office in like a couple of square
blocks of people just pouring out their hearts in these
anonymous office buildings in Midtown, and that to me is
both sort of what is that It's just tender and
heartbreaking but not sad, just like this is a human condition.
People in rooms telling other people there fears. You know,

that's interesting. So I'm not in New York, um, And
they think that they're sort of the stereotype of you know,
the neurotic New Yorker, right right, But there are people
all across the country, um, who are finding another person
that they can work through their uggles with. And that's

what they're doing. And I think it's you know, I
think it's beautiful. And I one thing I say in
UM in the book is if there's no hierarchy of pain.
But I think that, you know, I think that as
a therapist, that was a really important thing for me
to understand, which is that you know, in the book,
I have you know, there's a young newlywed who's who's

you know, dying of cancer, and then you know, people
come in with problems at pale in comparison, um, but
pain is pain. You know, people like a babysitter stealing
from me, Well, that's not you know, And then people
would say, oh, hashtag first world problems, um, But really
that you trusted this person with your child and that

has a relationship with your family and you have to
work to put food on the table, and so you
need a babysitter, and now you can't trust the babysitter,
and now your child is going to have to say
goodbye to the babysitter. And you know, it's a real issue.
Um so I I you know, I think that when
you imagine all these people talking to somebody, I think

it's great that they're talking to somebody. There are a
lot of really unhealthy things that they can be doing
with the way that they're struggling, and that's not one
of them. Lori Gottlieb, thank you for hanging out with
us for a little while. The book is maybe you
should talk to someone. The answer is yes, and it's
also a wonderful read. Thanks a lot, well, thank you.
This was so much fun. I'm so glad. I love

your podcast. Oh thank you. Well that's it for the
Fatherly Podcast. Thanks for listening. I'm your host, Joshua David Starn.
This show was produced by me and Anthony Roman. Executive
produced by Andrew Berman. Thank you to Jason Gay, my
lovely co host, and Jesse Schultz were being the man
at the board. If you like this podcast, please rate

and review it. If you don't like this podcast, keep
your criticism to yourself. Thanks a lot, and talk to
you next week.

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