Talking Couples Therapy Episode 5 With Dr. Jenn Berman


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 was the most emotional one yet. Dr. Jenn discusses DMX‘s situation with his mother and how important Tashera has been to him, and we also get into the root of childhood trauma.

Episode five is really affecting, with DMX’s breakdown and Jonah coming in to show his video to the group.

It’s very emotional, very emotional. I had tweeted about the episode, saying “If you don’t shed a tear, you probably don’t have a heart.” It’s pretty intense, even after having been there and seen it, I cried while I was watching it.

What’s the difference between actually having lived through the experience and watching it back?

Wow, hmm…The experience of being in the bubble of intensive in-patient work keeps you so focused and entrenched in the experience and the emotions and the clinical aspect of it, it’s like having blinders on. And to see it again, it kind of brings you right back there, emotionally, viscerally. Doing this show was such a powerful, meaningful experience, and seeing it again is just further validation of that. I’ve had a lot of people ask me, this seems really real, was it real? And this was SO real, there was nothing scripted about this, it was so authentic and raw.

One of the things that happened in episode five — there was so much going on — was Reichen saying that when he came out after being bullied through his childhood, admitting he was gay was like validating his bullies and admitting that they were right. Is that a common sentiment in therapy or when you deal with people who have come out or had a similar experience?

I think that was, sort of, his own struggle with being a gay man in a pretty homophobic society, and I think that’s a normal, natural experience and feeling, and I wish we lived in a different kind of world, but I think it’s something a lot of gay youths can identify with.

You also talked to this group about not letting childhood run their lives anymore, is that common advice for people in any kind of therapy?

For the vast majority of people, the first pain stems from childhood. It may not necessarily be mom or dad, sometimes it can be another message they got. And it doesn’t have to be trauma or abuse, that can be a common misconception about therapy, that unless you’ve been abused that you can’t benefit from therapy, but we all have experiences that shape who we are so we can have insight and make different choices.

Chris’ manager Nicole sent him a card in this episode which brings up the issue of whether or not they have some kind of history together. Is Nicole’s presence in his life impeding his relationship with Angelina, or do you think he’s aware of whatever her feelings for him are?

Yes, I think Chris was aware of Nicole’s feelings toward him but I think he needed to downplay her feelings to himself in order to continue their professional relationship. And I think he felt a sense of loyalty to her because she’s been his manager and he felt conflicted like, wow, she’s done so much for me, and he felt very grateful for that, and it caused him a lot of conflict.

Now that we know DMX’s situation with his mother, would you say that his relationship with Tashera endured for so long and was so important to him because she was more like a mother to him than a wife?

I think their relationship has endured because she has incredible tenderness, kindness, and patience with X. There is a certain nurturing component to it, but the truth is in all romantic relationships, there is a kind of re-parenting that takes place and certainly in the relationship between Tashera and X that’s present. I think when he broke down in his room it was really significant to me when he was saying he was saying he just wanted to hear his mommy and have her say “I love you,” and I’m so proud of him for saying that. He broke the man code when he shared that, it was so brave and courageous. He spoke the words that so many men feel but they’re afraid to say. To me that showed such strength, I hope it will inspire a lot of other men. I’ve gotten a lot of emails and tweets about Kasey’s episode from men saying “Wow, that’s the first time I’ve seen a guy break down and be stronger for it. He’s a role model to me now.” I really hope other men with see X expose his pain so that they can do the same and have some healing as well.

How did X handle his own vulnerability, since he has such a tough public persona? This was such a revealing moment.

I think he struggled with it too, as I think all men do. I think our society doesn’t teach men how to handle those emotions well enough, but he knew this was his opportunity, he was in a room with a therapist he could trust and this was his chance to heal this wound. I applaud him, I have such admiration for him to be able to do that.

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  1. alady says:

    DMX needs more than therapy he needs Jesus he has alot of demons to deal with’ drugs and violence and extra marital affairs, he is a broken man and only he can change his own ways…he need to do some soul searching and his moma should apologize to him and he should forgive her and try to be a better man, Tashera needs to move on, she needs to know her worth and build self love and confidence in her self and be the great parent to her children,
    my prayers go out to them both

  2. The music on “Jonah’s War” was AMAZING! so beautiful, and moving for everyone. The way the music and the lyrics fit the video perfectly. Its fantastic that the artists in the boy band “Forgotten Aclipse” are the same age as jonah. Check them out of “Forgotten” and buy their new song “Pointless Stories and Meaningless Words” on Itunes!!!! link for the website is above.

  3. eyeconic1 says:

    I think X has always been open and honest. Its the people around him who did not want to listen. If you know him lyrically, poetically, he always speaks of God. He is a very good write. Great speaker. he always had the great spirit about him. People miss him and his music. He has a lot to deal with I do believe. Its like the battle of both worlds (good and bad). YOu can clearly see the good in him, and always have. He always been real about who he is what he likes what he doesn’t and exactly who he is. When so many people including artists that we glorify and put on pedestals. They always want to paint these picture perfect lives. When everyone in this world has issues in one way or another. This show clearly shows you X si human like you and I. he is real. he ahs a heart that breaks like ours. He wants love like you and I. More men should take a Q from his book. I applaud him in his efforts to face his demons and move forward. I am rooting for him.

  4. Ginger says:

    This is one of the best reality shows I have ever watched. To show this kinda of vulnerability in people that we think have it all going on is humbling and yet empowering. Having just gone through a nasty divorce after being married to an angry, controlling, manipulative and abusive man for 20 years, I wish I could have seen this before. I like to think that I had done all I could in the marriage but now I see that I could have done more. I don’t blame him 100% but I don’t blame me 100% either. Still couldn’t have fixed it all by myself but thanks to seeing Dr. Jenn’s techniques, I will never again be the same or make the same mistakes in any (hopefully) future relationship. I will never again be the victim or will I ever make a significant other in my life be made to feel the victim. Thank you for bringing these issues, that all couples face, to the forefront. I look forward to each episode and hope that this series continues with new couples. I have big hopes for each couple on the show now and think that each one will come through this and never be the same; never again take their loved ones for granted and kindle that love every day that they have. This is a journey. And this journey has led each one of them on a road to each other. Forget the past and make it right, make it new, make it work, make it love today and every day forward. God Bless Dr. Jenn for taking on such a powerful endeavor.

  5. Tami says:

    I empathize a lot with DMX because I too been abandon by my mom….And for many year I tried to have her love me like a mother should. I have broken down crying too many times, because It hurt so bad to know the one that bring you in the world have no love for you. To DMX, I know how you feel, and remember when our mothers and fathers forsake us God will lift us up, He will always be there for us. Remember we live in this world but we are not from it. I also think Tashera is a really great person, you said both of you met around 11yrs old. I understand the relationship you guys shares, she understand your pain and you hers. She also shows you great support. I applaud you for sharing your story with us all. I pray to God you get the peace that you need in you life and Tashera as well. God Bless

  6. karen says:

    I love the show exspecially DMX its sad that his childhood was not a great one but he needs to deal with it in therapy then trying to close it away its going to help him at all but he is a strong man and the end will be great i think his wife was right about bringing him on the show and i believe he would think so also ..DMX be encourage

  7. karen says:

    The Video Of Jonah was great they need to use it as a part of bullying its sad that kids or anyone has to be bullied because of their sexual gender or race or anything this show is really touching on a lot of issues..a great show

  8. Martha says:

    I can not believe the therapy, she wants to bring that monster back,she is not a mother,now because he has money and she’s old.She wants to say I’m sorry.If I was him that woman can
    died under a bridge.Is too late.That is the reason I don’t like Therapy they are a little slow.Give
    him a punching back with that woman face and is better them seeing that beast.