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, Dr. Jenn was moved by Kasey Kahl‘s breakthrough at the end of the show, and talks about the genuine support the cast showed one another.
This was my big session with him, that was very meaningful for both of us. There were some things that Kasey had been carrying around from his childhood that were really affecting how he felt about himself, how he saw himself and how he related in all his relationships. He didn’t realize how much this experience he had had affected him until we started talking about it. It was very emotional for me because it was such a painful experience that he described that it touched me to the core to hear he had such a horrible, painful experience and was carrying it around for so long. It pained me.
Will we see Kasey confront either his mother or this boyfriend eventually on the show?
What I can tell you is that many of the people within the couples have the opportunity to do therapy with a person who has harmed them, or that they have unresolved issues with, and Kasey is one of them.
What was your take when you saw Vienna relating Kasey‘s experience back to herself, and she was saying that she didn’t get anything out of the session because it wasn’t focused on her?
I have a few thoughts about it. First, Vienna is very new to therapy and couples therapy, and a lot of the time, people who haven’t had a lot of therapy think that in each session, each person is supposed to have a big breakthrough, but sometimes part of getting good couples therapy is what we call being an empathic witness. And that was really what her job was in that situation and I don’t think she realized it at the time. What she also didn’t realize was that when one person in a couple has a breakthrough, it affects everyone in the couple, when one person moved to a better place, it shifts the whole relationship.
Do you think she just didn’t realize that?
Yes, she wasn’t thinking that way, which is understandable, but also, she talked about how she has trouble feeling empathy, and that’s something that really goes back to her childhood and we’ll explain that later on.
She and Kasey also had an issue where she was receiving texts from another man she was seeing, what’s your general rule regarding phones in the house?
The couples had their phones taken away from them but they were allowed to have access to them from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. so that they could tend to business or connect with whoever they needed to connect with. It was limited cell phone time.
Linda had a big problem with Charlie’s Facebook use this week, do you think she handled the situation appropriately and did it all stem from jealousy?
It definitely stemmed from jealousy and I think it’s important when you have a conflict with your partner that you talk about it together. Even if it’s not necessarily warranted, it appeared that there was nothing suspicious going on and Carlie wasn’t really trying to hide anything from her, but one of the themes of the show is how our past affects our present relationships, and Linda went through a very public experience where she was allegedly cheated on and it very much affects her ability to trust men and to trust Charlie.
She got great advice from Reichen and Rodiney, why do you think they were able to offer her such good advice?
I think they are two really compassionate, insightful guys who have a lot of experience themselves with issues of jealousy and were able to share their own experience and wisdom. I think it’s so beautiful when the couples in the house actually get to help each other. It’s one of the wonderful benefits of in-patient work and of group work.
DMX really resisted his group session this week, and yet he let Tashera convince him to stay, which is surprising.
I think the bottom line was that I knew DMX had it in him to do this work. I knew it would be beneficial to him and I knew that Tashera not only needed to do this work, but she wanted to do it and that they would benefit from it. When I found out later what their conversation was, I was thrilled that he was willing to participate and I think you’ll see that this episode marks a turning point for him with regard to his resistance. It’s a slow shift, but he started to open himself up to the process and it benefited their family tremendously.