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'We Can Change The Conversation When We Own Our Shame': Christie Tate On Book 'Group: How One Therapist And A Circle Of Strangers Saved My Life'

(CBS Local)-- Sometimes what life looks like on the outside for someone isn't indicative of what is going on inside. When people looked at Christie Tate's life her first year after law school, it looked she had it all going in her favor. Tate finished her first year of law school with a 4.0 GPA and was number one in her class. However, internally, Tate was struggling because she had no idea how to cultivate and maintain relationships.


Tate was lost when it came to building friendships and romantic relationships and she had a revelation that she was going to have a great career and no one to share it with. The disparity between Tate's personal life and professional life led her to seek guidance and that's how she ended up in group therapy. The author documents how group therapy changed her life in her new Simon & Schuster book "Group: How One Therapist And A Circle Of Strangers Saved My Life."

"I couldn't do it on my own and I didn't know what to do," said Tate, in an interview with CBS Local's DJ Sixsmith. "Luckily someone suggested her therapist and people suggested therapy to me before, but therapy is expensive and time consuming and it's scary. I was willing to do it because I was in that much pain. I remember the physical feeling of tremors in my belly. It's like the same feeling you get when you get on a rollercoaster and the safety bar comes down and it's too late to get out."

While Tate was scared when she first started group therapy, she was also excited that she was taking a new action. The author knew she was going to go somewhere different in her life, but she didn't know where that would be.

"The first moment I did something radical for myself was when I showed other people my mess and the things I worked so hard to hide," said Tate. "I was invited to share what I had eaten the day before with my group. I never told anybody what I ate, how much, at what time and what speed. I felt so resistant and I knew that resistance would be so important to break through. The eating was a problem in my life. The invitation to share was going to lessen it. I didn't know it then, but it was going to take away a lot of the shame."

Tate and her group have continued to meet throughout the pandemic thanks to Zoom. The author's book has been extremely well received since it was released, as it cracked the top 10 of the New York Time's Best Seller list for hardcover non-fiction and was selected for Reese Witherspoon's book club. Tate hopes her book can help people see the power of therapy.

"I feel really concerned about the way people are weaponizing shame and judgment. It seems like it's getting even worse," said Tate. "When I think about what I can do about that and what my commitment is to sharing my own shame, I surround myself with people who believe in the power of telling the truth and of showing the good, the bad and the ugly. I don't participate in shaming other people and it's really pervasive right now and I think we can start to change the conversation when we own our own shame."

Tate's book is available now wherever books are sold and watch all of DJ Sixsmith's interviews from "The Sit-Down" series here.

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