Dr. Jenn Berman has been counseling people and offering advice to people in need for some twenty years now, but on VH1?s Couples Therapy, this marks her first time working with a group of ten celebrities whose relationships are in desperate need of repair. We’ll be checking in with Dr. Jenn each week to chat about the progress of her patients on the show, and what she really thinks of their behavior. This week on the show, Reichen and Rodiney were introduced to the group, and we learned more about DMX‘s past.
When it comes to Reichen and Rodiney, they’ve been separated the longest of all the couples; they had been broken up for seven months before they were reunited on the show. How much of a toll does that kind of distance take on a relationship?
I think in their case it was a good breather and they needed it. They had come from such a volatile situation with The A-List and how things unraveled on that show, that their time apart was really good. I don’t think they were capable of getting resolution to what happened when it was so fresh and raw, so that distance was actually really good.
Angelina got really upset with Chris in the episode for leaving her to go made some ribs…It felt like she made a mountain out of a molehill, but to her this was clearly a big deal. She even admitted to that argument being one of her darkest moments.
It wasn’t about what it appeared to be about. As with most couples, the fight isn’t necessarily about the fight. I think with her, she wanted to feel important and like his priority, and I think the ribs were irrelevant, where it became problematic was the level of hostility and aggression that was sent his way. As you see each episode unfold, when we have such strong reactions to things, I always say this, when we react that strongly today, it tends to be from something from yesterday. It has to do more with something from our past, from our childhood, rather than what’s happening in the moment.
I don’t know how Tashera had the patience to deal with DMX for so long because all I see him do is make excuses for his behavior, and Tashera goes along with the excuses, but he claims he can’t really control his impulse. Do you think of him as a sex addict?
I think when you act out compulsively, it can be very difficult to stop that cycle. I don’t like calling people sex addicts, just as a therapist I don’t think it’s a good idea to pin diagnoses or titles on people, but when you’re someone who acts out compulsively, when it comes to sex, it’s very difficult to stop.
And is his acting out a result of his past, or is it a power thing?
I think it has to do with a combination of things, including childhood wounds. You’ll see on the show that X talks a lot about what he went through in his childhood, and that’s true of everyone on the show, everyone really opened up about their childhood. One of the things that’s particularly valuable about this show is that you can look at X, or you can look at Angelina yelling at Chris, or Kasey pushing Vienna with his foot or Reichen cheating on Rodiney, and say whoa, that’s terrible, but when you hear what each of these people have been through, what their childhood trauma was, it helps you understand, and it helps you have more compassion for them, and it helps them to heal. Talking about it and helping them understand the relationship between your past and your present makes a huge difference.
Editing, and the claim of unfair editing, is always something reality stars bring up, and something a lot of these people had to deal with on their old shows. Do you worry about how your patients will look on camera and will the thought of being judged by the public yet again hinder their progress?
All of the participants who have been on reality TV prior to this show have been unfairly judged because they were edited in ways that brought out the worst in them. This is a show where they will get to be seen really for who they are. Like it or hate it, you will understand why every one of these people is the way they are. I think you have to have a pretty cold heart when you find out what these people have been through to not have compassion for them.