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Christie Tate Books In Order

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Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Christie Tate
Christie O. Tate is a Chicago-based essayist and writer. Her work’s been published in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Pithead Chapel, The Chicago Tribune, McSweeney’s, Entropy Magazine, Motherwell, A Perfect Wedding, Brain, Child, Together.com, and others.

When she was just eighteen, one thing she did not know was that happiness was one thing that she would need to work at understanding for herself and that she would need to untangle a bunch of old messages, toxic stuff from culture, about what happiness required. At this time in her life, she believed that if she was thin enough and just made good enough grades, she would be happy. She would only learn later that she had a lot to learn.

“Chronology of Water” by Lidia Yuknavitch is a book that changed her life. She was so blown away by Lidia’s storytelling, feeling like she had stuck her finger into an electrical socket. After she read the book, she was so overcome with emotion about what she gives the reader on the page that she sought her out in order to pen a fan letter.

It turns out Lidia teaches online classes through her own organization and Christie was able to study with her and meet some other writers that also loved her book. Any bravery that people see in Christie’s own writing can be traced to Lidia’s book.

Christie believes that her initial recovery from active bulimia had a lightning bolt effect. She’d been binging purging close to every day for months, and then she attended her first 12-step meeting for recovering bulimics and anorexics. It was then that she admitted to this room of strangers that she had been purging, and felt relief of the compulsion to purge. The deadly purging was lifted after she admitted what she was doing and allowed the other people in the meeting share their tales with her and help her through the beginning weeks of recovery.

Christie says that her tendency to be very rigid about processes and schedules interferes with her serenity. Thus, when something does not work for her, when it does not make her happy or it has outlived its usefulness, she has a tough time evolving. She has a tendency to cling to things that used to work for her instead of just letting herself grow into new things.

She told John, now her husband, that she was in group therapy after they had been on their fourth date. She told him that she told the group everything and that if he did not like it, they should stop right now. It was the group that knew he was the one, with one member telling her that she was completely different with this guy. Less crazy with him. And this was after they had just been on two above-average dates together, one to the opera and the other to some Italian place located on Grand Avenue.

The same day she was set to fly with John, after they had been married, she went to group to express with her very presence to her group that she was grateful for each of the gifts they had given to her. This includes the space to practice vulnerability, sort herself out, and to learn to connect with other people.

“Group”, her debut memoir, was published in 2020 was a New York Times bestseller and a Reese’s Book Club Pick.

“Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life” is Christie’s memoir that was released in the year 2020. This refreshingly original debut memoir of one over-achieving, guarded, self-lacerating young attorney that reluctantly agrees to get emotionally and psychologically naked in a room filled with six total strangers: her psychotherapy group. Through it all, she finds human connection. And herself.

Christie Tate had been named the top student in her law school and had just gotten her eating disorder under control. Why was she driving through Chicago fantasizing about her own death, then? Why would she be envisioning putting an end to all of the sadness and isolation that still plagues her in spite of her achievements?

Enter Dr. Rosen, a therapist that calmly assures her that if she joins in on one of his psychotherapy groups, he would be able to transform her life. All she must do is show up and be completely honest. About everything. Her childhood, her sexual history, and her eating habits, etc. Christie is skeptical through it all, insisting that she is defective, and therefore beyond a cure. However Dr. Rosen issues her a nine-word prescription that is going to change everything for her. “You do’nt need a cure, you need a witness”.

So starts her entry into the odd, horrifying, and ultimately life-altering world of group therapy. Christie is put off initially by Dr. Rosen’s outlandish directives, however while her defenses break down and she comes to trust Dr. Rosen and to depend on the sessions and her prescribed nightly phone calls with different members of the group, she starts understanding what it truly means to connect.

This is a deliciously addictive read, and with Christie serving as our guide, who is skeptical of her own ability for connection and intimacy, however hopeful in spite of herself. We get a front row seat to the exhilarating, painful, hilarious, and daring journey that is group therapy, which is an under-explored process that breaks you down, then reassembles you so that each of the pieces fit at long last.

Christie’s candid path to healing is quite touching, and often hilarious. Her writing positions the reader as her witness, who cheers and watches while she works her way to better psychological health. Her commitments to details help to serve this book well. As does her plain determination to present herself not as just a victorious therapy graduate (she is a group ‘lifer’, and proud of it) but also as an ordinary lady that has just been lucky enough to beat some extraordinary demons. Christie allows the reader to get an inside glimpse into the lows and highs of group therapy.

Some readers found themselves wishing they could have read this book years ago, as it would have helped them out quite a lot.

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