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#122 – Lori Gottlieb: Understanding pain, therapeutic breakthroughs, and keys to enduring emotional health – Athletic Healthcare
Saturday, February 24, 2024
Mitochondrial Health Optimal Health

#122 – Lori Gottlieb: Understanding pain, therapeutic breakthroughs, and keys to enduring emotional health

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Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist and the bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. In this episode, Lori extracts important lessons from her experiences as both a therapist and a patient. The stories Lori shares has provided her the material for insights into living a more fulfilling life. In our conversation, Lori also dispels some misconceptions about therapy, explains the process of big therapeutic breakthroughs, and reveals the most important steps for enduring emotional health.

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We discuss:

  • Lori’s unique path to becoming a therapist [3:00];
  • Dissecting cadavers—a profound experience during med school [12:30];
  • The sunk cost fallacy—How Lori was able to walk away from med school [17:15];
  • Being aware of the gift of life, and other lessons from Lori’s terminally ill patient [24:00];
  • How underlying pain can manifest in obnoxious behavior [32:45];
  • Counseling versus therapy [36:15];
  • The story of John—why men hide their feelings, breaking down his shield, and uncovering his pain [38:30];
  • “Breaking open”—A shocking revelation about John that tests Lori’s resolve as a therapist [46:30];
  • Rewriting your story, the recovery process, and the most important step for lasting change [49:00];
  • The process of  many big therapeutic breakthroughs [56:00];
  • The 2 types of suicidal thoughts, and the importance of talking about it [1:01:00];
  • The most common issues that bring patients to therapy with Lori [1:02:45];
  • Clinging to the familiar—why change is so hard [1:05:15];
  • A story of shame, lack of self-compassion, and self-sabotage [1:07:00];
  • The importance of managing mental health to reduce unnecessary suffering [1:15:45];
  • Dispelling the misconceptions about therapy [1:23:15]; and
  • More.

§

Lori’s unique path to becoming a therapist [3:00]

Lori’s book: Maybe You Should Talk To Someone 

  • The book follows four seemingly very different patients going through therapy with Lori as their therapist
  • Then there’s a fifth “patient”, Lori herself, going to her own therapist
  • By the end of the book, Lori hopes everybody says, “I saw myself in every single one of these patients.

“It’s a book about how we’re all more the same than we are different and how we grow in connection with others.”

Lori’s current work

“I think that what I really love about what I do is that no matter what lens through which I’m doing it, whether it’s a column or a podcast or a Ted talk or a book or my practice, I’m really dealing with, I think what makes us most human at our core.”

Nonlinear path to becoming a therapist

  • After college, began working in network television for NBC the same year that the shows ER and Friends were debuting
  • While working on the show ER, a doctor saw the interest Lori had for medicine and encouraged her to go to medical school
  • Nobody comes to an ER because they expected something to happen. It’s always an inflection point in some way in someone’s life. . . I was really interested in those inflection points in people’s lives.

Med school

  • She eventually got into med school at Stanford
  • Pretty early on, Lori realized that what she wanted was to guide people and to have close relationships with patients — “And it seemed like the new medical model was not going to be conducive to that
  • Eventually, she left medical school to become a journalistbecause I felt like I could really delve into people’s stories and help them to tell their stories through writing”

Becoming a journalist

  • Lori became a journalist and had 10 years of success before making the next switch
  • She considered going back to med school to become a psychiatrist
  • But she came to the realization that she’d rather do the deeper therapy 

She decided to get a graduate degree in clinical psychology

Now, Lori is a psychotherapist 

“I went from telling people’s stories as a journalist, to helping people to change their stories as a therapist…I feel like I’m as much an editor as I am a therapist, because I really feel like what I’m doing is people are coming in, they’re telling me we’re all unreliable narrators. They’re telling me a faulty narrative. They’re telling me a narrative that is keeping them stuck and I’m there to help them edit this story.”

 

Dissecting cadavers—a profound experience during med school [12:30]

  • As early med students (or pre-med), you are required to dissect a human cadaver

{end of show notes preview}

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