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This felt voyeuristic being so close watching the process of group therapy through the author. At times it feels like oversharing but it all does make sense once you’re at the end of the book. The writing is engaging and easy to fall into.

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This book’s raw and honest look at how therapy is a way to change your life will cause you to laugh, cry, and consider group therapy. Painful experiences, deep work, inspiring..I learned a lot about group therapy. So well written, funny and lighthearted even while exposing her shame.

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This book was raved about all over the place, and I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of it. It's such an eye-opening story, especially reading it as someone who goes to therapy myself. What was hard to read was about the therapist. There were so many things wrong that I think therapist did wrong and had a hard time believing it to be real. I always struggle with giving a rating of a memoir because it's as if I'm rating your life, and I could never do that. It was such an intriguing read which is why I'm giving it such a high rating, but not something I would want to read again.

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“Written with humor and brutal honesty, Group is a bracing, confrontational, and absorbing read.”

Christie Tate’s memoir Group opens with the author driving aimlessly, a bag of groceries by her side and a death wish on her mind. She wants to be dead in a matter-of-fact way, based on the depressing details of her life and the lack of better options.

Tate’s self pity sounds almost cliché for her demographic—overachieving, single, angsty professionals in their twenties. It’s the groceries that intrigue; Tate has a bag of two dozen red apples in the passenger seat.

Convinced by a friend to call a therapist and convinced by that therapist to join his group session, Tate begins a tortured journey to solve her problems. In Tate’s hands, mundane depression crackles alive with the gory details of her particular miseries, including the story behind those apples. Written with humor and brutal honesty, Group is a bracing, confrontational, and absorbing read.

From the beginning, Tate doubts her therapist, Dr. Rosen. Alarmed that she recognizes him from her eating disorder support group, Rosen reassures her that he has no secrets, and Tate soon learns that she will need to shed her own secrets to follow his path to recovery.

Rosen’s “process,” which often seems too loose and spontaneous to qualify for that label, was to feel everything and share everything. He tells Tate about group therapy, “You don’t need a cure. You need a witness.”

Her witnesses are an eclectic group of six, most of whom had been meeting on the same stained carpet with Rosen for years. They don’t hold back, telling all about their various personal dramas and expecting Tate to do the same.

The group operates by its own unorthodox rules. Most strikingly, they make no promise of confidentiality. They can socialize outside of group, and they know an unusual amount about their therapist’s personal life.

Tate initially balks at these norms, concerned about the ramifications of losing her privacy. But soon, out of a desperate wish to fix herself, she jumps in with both feet.

Tate’s vivid, engaging prose opens the door on group therapy, making it feel like one is right there in a molded plastic chair, watching as Dr. Rosen rocks Tate in his arms after one of her breakdowns. It makes for an addictively voyeuristic, often squirm-inducing read.

Regularly an emotional wreck during sessions, Tate shares everything from childhood trauma to bathroom habits and graphic sex stories. Rosen remains mostly passive. He asks Tate simple questions, lets the group weigh in with opinions, then leaves her to stew in her own misery, uncertainty, and frustration.

His prescriptions are few. Rosen has Tate tackle her unusual eating habits by calling a group member every night to report what she eats. For insomnia, Rosen prescribes a phone call from another groupmate telling her an affirmation each night before bed.

Tate’s biggest goal in therapy is finding a partner. Forward and funny, Tate isn’t shy around men and never hesitates to jump in bed. But she has the whiff of desperation on her, and relationships never stick.

She dates a handful of men after she joins the group, each one seriously flawed. As her relationships fail, Rosen lets Tate thrash and moan, often literally, as she wonders again and again how this therapy is helping her.

“There were disclosures,” Tate writes about the group process. “There was feedback. There was looking, seeing, and being seen. There were no answers. I wanted answers.”

When Tate engages in an intense emotional affair with a married man—from her therapy group—she and her groupmates question Rosen’s methods. While it’s clear by the end of the book that Tate credits Rosen with her recovery, readers may have a different takeaway.

Rosen, an elfin Jewish man who rubs his heart and smiles when Tate lashes him with vitriol, comes across as a likable but exasperating, inscrutable figure. Is he a mad genius or just mad?

Tate periodically calls Dr. Rosen to vent or accuse him of mistreatment. He rarely calls her back. Once, when she leaves a particularly nasty voicemail, Dr. Rosen invites everyone from the group into his office to listen to it. The obliteration of Tate’s privacy is complete.

As Tate forms deep and nurturing relationships with her groupmates, it seems that what she needs more than witnesses is friends—not casual, after-work buddies, but committed, caring people willing to delve into her messy, embarrassing, intractable problems. Tate’s experience in group becomes a map and a model for how to create healthy relationships in life.

Tate’s struggles, which will feel familiar to many people, suggest a failure of social connections in modern life, particularly during a pandemic, when people lack tightknit friend groups to lift them up, call them out on their crazy, and be there when they’re suffering.

Tate has to find this support through Rosen and his groups (she eventually attends multiple groups, but still continues with her first). Does Rosen simply provide her with a social support system? Or is therapy in the traditional sense actually happening in these sessions?

The answer, perhaps, is moot. Tate eventually achieves her therapy goals but keeps right on going to group. She has no plans to stop. She writes, “Our pull-yourself-up-by-boot-strap culture says therapy should get you up and out in thirty sessions or less. Dr. R offers us tenure if we want it. I do.”

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I commend the author's efforts to get her life on track. And the details about group therapy and how it works was really interesting.

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Very unorthodox therapy group setting. Fascinating to read and I’m sure patients gave permission, but I’m not sure if I was in therapy with the psychologist, I would want it written in a book!
Very addictive to read!

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Group caught my attention after I read a couple of outstanding memoirs titled Maybe You Should Talk to Someone and Good Morning Monster. These two books are both penned by psychotherapists and both landed in my top 5 reads of 2020. I find books like these fascinating—I’ve always wondered about what going to therapy is like. I also find this type of book helpful in understanding some facets of myself. Group, in contradistinction to the other two, is written by the patient; and the patient is not in one-on-one therapy, but group therapy. This gives the reader a whole different view of the psychotherapy world. Furthermore, this particular “Christie-Dr. Rosen world” is probably highly unusual in that the patients are strongly encouraged to tell the group everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) and are under no restrictions in passing what is heard in that room to the whole world. Really? Is that actually legal?

In any event, I enjoyed Christie’s journey, albeit not as much as I enjoyed the two aforementioned titles. Group, while highly engrossing (Christie lets it ALL out), is not as masterfully woven nor as profound. I did not learn as much from this book as from the others. Sometimes it seemed really over the top for a nonfiction narrative. That being said, Group is quite a story of quite a woman and her struggles to have “a normal life.” She desperately wants someone who will love her and start a family with her. I watched her go through boyfriend after boyfriend, disaster after disaster, breakdown after breakdown. Though I can see how other readers might not like Christie, I did. I appreciated her fortitude in following whatever “prescriptions” (things to do, not meds) Dr. Rosen doled out and accepting feedback and empathy from the group. She tried. She really stuck with it and tried. I admired that. I also liked the fact that she realizes that years and years of therapy does not change her hardwiring. She understands that she will always be in danger of slipping back into her ways, but because of Dr. Rosen’s and the other patients’ help over the years she has come to the point where she can both live with yet handle her hardwiring and have “a normal life.” I loved her deep connection with Dr. Rosen and her group mates.

A small criticism is that we really don’t get to know the other people in the book very well, including Dr. Rosen and her most trusty group members. I realize they aren’t the “stars” of the book, but I still would have liked to have known them better.

Overall, I’m glad I picked this one up. The ratings are all over the place so it’s tough to know who will like it and who won’t. I certainly recommend that readers who have any interest in the world of psychotherapy try it though. It’s an easy read and kept my attention throughout.

Thanks to Net Galley, Avid Reader Press (Simon and Schuster), and Ms. Christie Tate for gifting me an advanced copy. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.

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This was an interesting story about the world of group therapy. While I would never want to go to a group like this or have a similar doctor it was fun to go along on Christie’s journey.

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Reminiscent of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, I loved this book. I loved the raw emotion and how the author eventually got out of her group what she put in. The book was engaging and I couldn't put it down!

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Readers of Maybe You Should Talk to Somebody should definitely read Group!! It's relatively short, reads really quickly, and held my attention throughout. There are some trigger warnings surrounding bulimia fyi.

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Group is a fascinating, introspective memoir about Christie Tate's experience regularly attending group therapy in her twenties and thirties. The therapy is lead by Dr. Rosen, a quirky middle aged man who often has a hands-off approach, but occasionally prescribes patients act/say something out of character in order to push their boundaries. Group reminded me a lot of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, but instead of the perspective of a psychiatrist, it's in the perspective of a group therapy patient. Though it could be tedious at times, I appreciated Tate for being so open about her life and personal journey. It really made me ponder how childhood forms and stays with us, especially if we suffer trauma.

I binged the audiobook in two days. Tate excellently narrates her memoir. I think my biggest takeaways from Group was the importance of relationships that are built on vulnerability, honesty, and trust and stretching our boundaries. The people in her groups started out as strangers, but they all learn to be accountable and supportive to each other even and especially during/following personal conflict. Overall, Group was incredibly readable, sometimes heavy, and smart memoir.

Thank you Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for providing this ARC.

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Thank you for this book! I wrote about it for Thrive Global:

Women in America often ask themselves, “When will it be enough?” and perhaps more importantly, “When will I be enough?” In Christie Tate’s memoir, Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life, she shares her shift from believing she will never be enough to having her dreams come true.

At first, she believes she is not a good enough student although she is #1 in her law school class. She believes she is not allowed to say no to a friend, a family member or a sexual encounter. She does not believe in herself or her abilities.

She finds herself drawn to group therapy and there she practices being her authentic self in relation to others. She says no, she gets mad, she breaks dishes and she gets her needs met.

Life is messy and Tate describes her evolution in her eating habits, her boyfriends, as well as her work and family relationships.

We first meet Tate when she describes dreaming about dying. She tells us: “I wish someone would shoot me in the head…If I died, I wouldn’t have to fill the remaining forty-eight hours of this weekend or Wednesday’s holiday or the weekend after that. I wouldn’t have to endure the hours of hot, heavy loneliness that stretched before me—hours that would turn into days, months, years.”

She believes that she is defective and her heart is not ready for real attachment. But she meets “Dr. Rosen who issues a nine-word prescription that will change everything: “You don’t need a cure, you need a witness.” She is marginal to her Republican Texan family who are all coupled up and she is “a misfit. The deep secret I carried was that I didn’t belong.” Tate attempts to control her feelings by “obsessing about food and my body and the weird shit I did to control both, and [by] trying to outrun my loneliness with academic achievement.”

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What a fascinating peek into group therapy and the benefits of having a support system! I was surprised by the candidness and transparency of Tate’s struggles and journey. I appreciate that the dynamics of group therapy may not benefit everyone in the same way it helped Tate.

Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book.

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I liked this book, but I especially liked the ending and how things turned out for the author. I appreciated so much the story about her past trauma and how not dealing with it allowed it to fester in her life in so many negative ways. That made me think about thinks in my own past and how I possibly haven't dealt with it and how it is manifesting for me.
What I didn't particularly care for were the endless musings about her sex life and her failure to have a voice and advocate for herself. I get that it was part of what she needed to discover and bring out in herself, but I still remain a bit skeptical about her therapist and his treatment techniques. It's one thing to encourage patients to discover things for themselves, but it's another to actively encourage destructive behavior (such as dating a married man). I see that other reviewers didn't like the "no secrets" thing, but I see how keeping secrets wreaked havoc with Tate and how it could definitely be a drawback to becoming mentally healthy.
It feels kind of strange to say negative things about someone's personal story, but overall it's not a bad book, I just couldn't really relate to it for the most part. Not awful, just not the best book about therapy that I've read.

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I was eager to read this book when I saw Reese Witherspoon recommend it for her book club. The subject of mental health and therapy is a huge interest for me, and I was excited when I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
And I enjoyed this book for the main part, Christie is a very talented writer. I enjoyed her honesty and frankness. However, after repeatedly sabotaging her relationships and constantly playing the victim I started to lose sympathy and respect for her. And the therapist should look at another career, what a sadist.
The book starts to get repetitive after chapter twenty, she really seems to enjoy her misery. The last two chapters (the epilogue) felt so rushed, she honestly should have expanded upon her next chapter a bit. Give the reader some payoff for sitting with her through her constant self made dramas.

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My main critique of this book (it is a memoir) was that I really struggled with ethical issues throughout the book. While I think some of the narration is tongue-in-cheek, as a first-year therapy student, I am learning a lot about the importance of ethics and boundaries regarding therapy. Having been in therapy myself for the last 4 years, it is very difficult for me to wrap my head around some of the lines crossed by the therapist and clients.

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This wasn't about an ethical therapy group so that was really off putting to me. I couldn't really over look it. It was so unhealthy.

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This is a book I'm going to be thinking about for a long time and am still piecing my thoughts together. I do want to share how appreciative I am for Christie’s vulnerability throughout this book. It takes a lot of strength to put out anything in the world, but to write a story about your mental health journey when there is so much stigma around this topic is incredibly brave. I think people will be able to see themselves and their experiences in this memoir and I hope it makes them feel like they aren’t alone. And that’s powerful stuff! I found the writing style to be engaging and once I made it through the first third of the book I didn't want to stop reading. I am hoping this book opens the way for more memoirs focused on mental health journeys.

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Group by Christie Tate gave me conflicted emotions, as so many memoirs do.

The group “therapy” that Tate participates in is, simply put, an unethical clinical practice. BUT, it provided Tate with a support system that essentially turned into a type of family for her and seemed to be nothing but a highly positive force in her life. BUT, it made her incredibly co-dependent on a therapist who told her exact actions she should take in her life, despite the number one therapist rule being that your role is to empower others to make their own decisions. BUT, she was shamed for not making every intimate aspect of her life public not only to her group, but to whomever they wished to speak about each other to as well.

And on top of all that it was highly readable, made me genuinely look forward to what would happen next, and had me questioning why we’re all not in (ethical) group therapy. So, take that as you will and please share your opinions below!

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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 during my parent's tumultuous and quite painful divorce. 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.

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.

Books like this are so important and if you loved Good Morning, Monster, or Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, this will be right up your reading alley!

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. My full review will be posted on my website,, on Group's publication date, October 27th, 2020.

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