Dr. Jenn On The Couples Therapy Season Finale: The Measures Of Success

|

View Photo Gallery

It’s the end of yet another season of Couples Therapy and the couples’ journeys have been difficult at times, but also fulfilling and incredibly eye-opening. For some, like Ghost and Kelsey, they learned that they were better off apart, while others realized that therapy only strengthened their bond and revealed behaviors and patterns that would make or break them. In our final chat with Dr. Jenn Berman, we discussed the season as a whole and how much the show affects her patients and viewers who become invested in the process. Oh yeah, and we also talked about Farrah‘s date. That guy was something else, wasn’t he? Read on for all of Dr. Jenn’s commentary, and scroll through our gallery of favorite moments from tonight’s show.

Let’s talk about some of the big moments from tonight’s episode. Farrah’s date. That guy was – wow. What was his deal??

Oh my God, I have to tell you, one of my first thoughts was that people are not going to believe that this is not scripted! I couldn’t believe the things that came out of this man’s mouth. I was like, nobody is ever going to believe this was not set up. You can see my face as I was watching the video, I just couldn’t believe it. At the end of the day, what was most important is that it ended up being a learning tool for Farrah because I got to really observe how she interacts and I could really see areas where she improved, when she was empathic with him, asking about his grandma and really engaging with him, but it also made clear where she goes wrong in her interactions with guys, like how she loses her voice and doesn’t speak up for herself. It was really crystal clear to me.

Did you watch any of the interaction between Taylor and John while her daughter Kennedy came for the day?

I observed them quite a bit and that was very helpful. I think what Taylor does is something that a lot of parents struggle with. Taylor has it to the Nth degree, that “I don’t want my kid to be upset, I don’t want my kid to suffer,” and then you have Kennedy who has been through some tremendously painful experiences, being in a home with domestic violence, losing a father, and I think Taylor wants to make that up to her by making sure she never experiences pain again, but that’s not what equips us for life. It’s important that our children experience pain and that we help them to cope with it when we’re no longer there so they have those skills and those tools.

Is she really protecting her, or is she also spoiling her? I understand her desire to not want to upset Kennedy, but there was one thing she said about how when she asks Kennedy to set the table and Kennedy says “My nanny will do it,” Taylor lets that slide. That to me seems more spoiled than protective. Honestly it sounded very Beverly Hills to me.

But I think that it’s all the same. She’s still a parent who’s trying to prevent her kid from being upset with her and I think families with little or no money also do things like this. If this kids at school have electronic devices, the parent thinks “We can’t really afford it but I’ll go without something really important and vital so that my child can fit in with the other kids because the other kids have teased my kid and I want them to have what everyone else has.” That’s not healthy and it’s not that much different from what Taylor’s done.

It’s the same thing and it’s actually quite relatable when you realize it’s not about the money, it’s about the dynamic of “I don’t want to upset my child.”

We also saw Jon give Liz a promise ring this week, do you have any final thoughts on their relationship and how they’re doing now?

I think that Jon realizing how important it was for him to stand up for himself, and how Liz needs that from him, was really important, and I think Liz realizing that the way se talked to him was unacceptable was a huge breakthrough for them. I think it moved their relationship to a new place and I thought it was a really wonderful step for them.

Overall, what are your thoughts on working with this group of people this season?

I think that this was such an incredibly brave, courageous group of people who really just came in ready to do in-depth work. And the few people who initially came in resistant to it really opened up and I was unbelievable impressed with these brave souls. I think that people take for granted how incredibly challenging and scary it is to do therapy in general, but to do it knowing that people are going to see your most vulnerable moments is incredibly courageous and I have so much respect for every one of these people and everyone in previous seasons.

Did they ever voice there concerns about being judged while the show is airing?

A little bit. Sometimes someone would say “I’m really worried that my dad is going to be upset that I shared this information,” or something — it’s usually kind of specific people, but look, it’s a tough position to be in, but they better their own lives and they better the lives of the viewers by doing it.

I just posted on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram a bunch of things that fans had posted about how the show has changed their lives. They were posting to me, and yes, this is the work that I do, but it’s them, it’s that they were willing to open themselves up like this is healing for so many people. It’s a really beautiful thing.

The thing that I’ve always thought it was important for people to understand, and you’ve mentioned this before, is that the point of the show is not to make a couple realize how to stay together, it’s to figure out what the best version of their relationship is, whether it’s love, friendship, or to break up completely. It’s to figure out what’s healthiest for them.

Absolutely. Someone recently asked me in an interview “What has been your biggest success story from Couples Therapy?” and I said it’s hard to answer that question. What jumps out at me right away is Nik [Richie] and Shayne [Lamas] because Nik posts a lot about how the show saved his marriage and they are an amazing couple, but look, Angelina [Pivarnick] and Chris [Nirschel] were also a success story because those were two people that were not meant to be together, but she tells me she loves how much therapy changed her life. She’s in a new relationship now and she says “It’s because you gave me tools, and I’ve grown so much.” To me that’s just as much a success story. DMX, I talked to a few weeks ago, and he was saying what a great experience it was being on the show and how it healed his relationship with his mother and how much he needed that. He and Tashera might not be together anymore, but to me, that’s still success. I consider Courtney and Doug a success — they’re separated and that was the right thing for them. I have to believe that the show was a catalyst in helping her figure out what she needed and it’s like what you’re saying, it’s not about whether people stay together, it’s providing people with the healing they need to help with their relationship, or to help figure out if it’s not the right relationship for them.