Author Dolly Alderton on therapy

by Harley Therapy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

It seems we can’t read a book here at Harley Therapy without the protagonist wonderfully debunking therapy myths and exalting the benefits of talking to someone.

I spent this weekend devouring Dolly Alderton’s ‘Everything I Know About Love.’ Pacy and profound, the book charts the award winning journalist’s journey from MSN chatting teen to award winning journalist, via a series of romantic misdemeanours and life challenges. Having spent two years as the Sunday Times’ dating columnist and a stint as story producer for Made In Chelsea, Alderton knows a thing or two about love. But the book offers far more than a Carrie Bradshaw meets Mills and Boon tale of romance and redemption. It could be read as an ode to friendship, self-care and getting help.

Alderton is refreshingly open about her struggles with alcoholism, co-dependency, anxiety and low self-esteem. As true therapy evangelists we knew we were in for a treat when reaching a chapter titled - ‘My Therapist Says’. Like Robert Webb, Alderton deftly debunks misconceptions about therapy; “The big myth of therapy is that it’s all about pointing the blame at other people; but as the weeks passed, I found the opposite to be true” describes Alderton of her relationship with therapist Eleanor. Alderton talks about how therapy helps her “grow week by week” as she develops a deep connection with her therapist in London. “When a friend told me that it is the relationship between patient and therapist that brings healing, rather than the talking, I understood,” explains the author. “My incremental sense of calm and peace felt like something we were building together - like a physio who strengthened a muscle.” A poignant insight, when read in the context of Mental Health First Aid England’s open letter to government this week to put mental and physical first aid on an equal footing in the workplace.

Alderton’s therapy experience was music to our ears - reinforcing our belief everyone needs a therapist and mission to make therapy accessible for everyone via simple booking processes and democratic pricing structures. Alderton ends: “I knew the longer I spent there, the more things came together. I talked myself into some harmony. I joined the dots, I noticed the patterns. The talking started connecting with the action. The gap between how I felt inside and how I behaved got smaller . . . The drinking happened less . . . I felt steadier; I felt stronger. The doors inside me unlocked one by one.”

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