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, Vienna had a breakthrough of her own, and everyone got a good look at how they really behave when they fight.
How do you feel about Vienna’s realization of the fact that she lacks a certain amount of empathy for people?
I’m really proud of her for having her insights. I think it will become clearer to viewers why she struggles with that as time goes on. As I’ve said before, she’s new to couples therapy and people don’t always realize that what’s good for one person in the couple is good for everyone in the couple and one person’s movement in therapy affects the whole couple in a positive way. It’s not uncommon for people to feel the way she felt though, especially coming from a competitive background. She and Kasey came from a competition show, and this is a therapy show.
Chris and Angelina are really struggling in this episode as well, she won’t have sex with him, he says something fairly misogynistic to her and it upsets her, but as you’ve said before, a fight isn’t usually about what it’s about. If their argument wasn’t about sex, what was it about?
His reaction to her, and saying what he said, revealed problems in their relationship in terms of him being compassionate toward her and understanding her perspective. I think he is a young guy who is still learning how to treat women and his response came from a place of hurt. It hurt his ego to be rejected, and I think it was hard for him to want something from her and then feel that she was withholding it. That was hurtful to him, and as a result he said things he shouldn’t have said that, of course, made her want to have sex with him even less.
They seem like the most immature couple in the house, is that fair to say?
Yes, they’re the youngest, most impulsive couple in the way they behave toward one another.
Throughout this episode, Reichen maintained this feeling that Rodiney really hurt him and they didn’t have a foundation of trust at all. Each exercise this week seemed to bring out a lot of their issues.
I think between being in the house, talking about relationships and phones, it was really the perfect storm of events for those feelings to surface for Rodiney and Reichen. This was a big breakthrough episode for them. The exercise they did with Dr. Mike, who, by the way, is a wonderfully skilled clinician, was a big breakthrough for them to see the video of their fights played back. After that, they were able to talk to each other in a meaningful way. There was so much resentment and anger from their history together that hadn’t been talked through, and prior to living in the house, they didn’t have the tools to know how to even begin a conversation. This marked a really important turning point in their relationship.
Everyone seemed very surprised by their own actions when they watched to footage of themselves back, in a way, this exercise is perfect for TV.
Unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of doing this type of thing normally. One of the most wonderful things about doing a show like this is having resources that I wish I had in the real world. Being able to play back a fight to a couple, that’s one of the great things about doing a show like this. In the regular world, as a therapist, sometimes you’re sitting there thinking “If only I could bring in his cousin who he had that conflict with…” and on a show like this, you can, and you can play back fights, that’s one of the wonderful things about doing a show like this.