Group by Christie Tate
The refreshingly original debut memoir of a guarded, over-achieving, self-lacerating young lawyer who reluctantly agrees to get psychologically and emotionally naked in a room of six complete strangers—her psychotherapy group—and in turn finds human connection, and herself.
Christie Tate had just been named the top student in her law school class and finally had her eating disorder under control. Why then was she driving through Chicago fantasizing about her own death? Why was she envisioning putting an end to the isolation and sadness that still plagued her despite her achievements?
Enter Dr. Rosen, a therapist who calmly assures her that if she joins one of his psychotherapy groups, he can transform her life. All she has to do is show up and be honest. About everything—her eating habits, childhood, sexual history, etc. Christie is skeptical, insisting that she is defective, beyond cure. But Dr. Rosen issues a nine-word prescription that will change everything: “You don’t need a cure. You need a witness.”
So begins her entry into the strange, terrifying, and ultimately life-changing world of group therapy. Christie is initially put off by Dr. Rosen’s outlandish directives, but as her defenses break down and she comes to trust Dr. Rosen and to depend on the sessions and the prescribed nightly phone calls with various group members, she begins to understand what it means to connect.
Group is a deliciously addictive read, and with Christie as our guide—skeptical of her own capacity for connection and intimacy, but hopeful in spite of herself—we are given a front-row seat to the daring, exhilarating, painful, and hilarious journey that is group therapy—an under-explored process that breaks you down, and then reassembles you so that all the pieces finally fit.
October 27th, 2020
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As someone who has had therapy as a part of my life for as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by what it is like for other people. I am so grateful that especially during this last decade, mental health and therapy have been normalized so much.
I started attending therapy when I was just a child. While it was something that was monumental in my ability to process many hard encounters and feelings, it was also a very isolating experience, because, in the 90s, NO ONE talked about therapy.
I don’t think I told my friends I went to therapy even when I was in college in the early 2000s. There was a taboo about it for so long, and in some ways there definitely still is…so that is why I try and talk about it, both online, and in my everyday life.
Group dives in and gives you a deeply personal look at Christie Tate’s experiences with a fairly unconventional style of group therapy. Told through memoir style, Tate writes openly and honestly and the balance of humor and heartbreak made this one engrossing from the very beginning.
I loved how Tate shares that therapy of any kind is not a linear path and often things feel harder before they feel easier. This book made me uncomfortable at times due to the lack of ethics (mostly that there are no requirements for confidentiality among members) but it was also a great reminder for me to address my own discomforts about the spectrum of therapy and supports that are available. There isn’t a one size fits all answer and Group is a wonderful example of just that.
Thank you to Avid Reader Press for a gifted copy in exchange for my honest review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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