With VH1 Couples Therapy With Dr. Jenn
scoring a series high with its Season Five premiere episode, it's obvious millions of television viewers just can't get enough of the compassionate, yet candid style of famed relationship therapist Dr. Jenn Berman. When queried about its continuous ratings climb, the well-renowned marriage and family therapist, author, speaker and radio host confesses she has a pretty good idea what is behind Couples Therapy
's unremitting growth in popularity.
"I think more and more viewers are really responding to the show because there are always genuine emotions and feelings being shared on the show," the vivacious, sweet and outspoken Dr. Jenn offers. "People who tune in understand that what is going on is very real. I feel like I am very authentic, and I think both my clients and viewers can feel that. All of my cast members sense how I'm so in the trenches and so invested in them that they know I'm there to actually help. I mean, every season, everyone has seen me cry, seen me yell, and most importantly, they've seen me care. That's very important. Every couple comes to me on the show for various reasons, some of them good, some of them not so great. But, once they get in there with me, they receive real
therapy. That's a guarantee."
VH1 Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn
features five couples at a crossroads in their relationships as they undergo three weeks of intensive relationship therapy. Under the guidance of Dr. Jenn Berman, who has been working in the psychology field for 20 years, the couples participate in group and individual therapy along with relationship exercises out in the real world to see if they can rekindle the love they used to have for one another – or if it's simply time for them to move on.
This season, VH1 Couples Therapy
examines the complicated and often misunderstood world of high-profile relationships. Needless to say maintaining a meaningful and healthy relationship is hard work, but imagine the pressure of having your hook ups, bumps on the relationship road and breakups as fodder for the tabloids. In Hollywood, a discussion becomes a screaming match, showing up to a red carpet event alone equals getting a divorce and having lunch with someone who is not your spouse means you're having an affair. More and more, it seems that couples in the spotlight, whose matters of the heart play out in the public eye, are calling it quits and throwing in the towel on their relationships. Why is it so tough for these couples to stay together?
"Fame can be tough, particularly on relationships," Dr. Jenn explains. "Every couple has problems, but often times there are some very unique ones that come with living your life in front of reporters and the paparazzi. I really wanted to get to the heart of the issues that come with being under constant media scrutiny."
For Season Five, five gossip-worthy couples have come to Couples Therapy
facing very distinct problems – some of the issues are due to the fact they haven't handled being in the spotlight with much success and it has eaten away at the foundations of their relationships. The cast joining Dr. Jenn on the couch this go round include Juan Pablo Galavis (The Bachelor
) & Nikki Ferrell, adult film megastar Jenna Jameson & her boyfriend John Wood, Big Brother
alum Dick "Evel Dick" Donato & girlfriend Stephanie Rogness-Fischer, Naughty By Nature's Anthony "Treach" Criss & girlfriend Cicely Evans, and Jersey Shore
star Deena Cortese & boyfriend Chris Buckner.
While each of this new cast members are accustomed to baring their souls (and often, their bodies) in front of cameras, Dr. Jenn assures fans of the show that this season's clients wont be amping
up their public personas and disguising their true feelings in order to receive additional air time. "You are always going to see real, raw emotions exposed on Couples Therapy
," she admits. "I know people may find it real hard to believe, but all of us – myself included – forget that the cameras are even there. That's because we all get so focused on the therapy and the work. There is a culture of openness, honesty and authenticity that goes on during the Couples Therapy
experience. So, people will reveal really intimate, private things. Also, everyone sees the other clients, the other cast members, participating in such a meaningful way that everybody kind of goes, 'Oh, that's what we do here. We do real therapy.' It's contagious."
Earlier this month, fans of the no-holds-barred openness Dr. Jenn exhibits on the show were given heavy doses of reality on the special VH1 Couples Therapy Reunion
. Hosted by Dr. Jenn and taped live before a studio audience, the unique retrospective featured highlights of all the most memorable moments from the series, as well as bring viewers up to speed on all the developments, loss and personal growth with each celebrity couple since we last left them. The couples that returned to the couch to check back in with Dr. Jenn included Catelynn Lowell & Tyler Baltierra, Doug Hutchison & Courtney Stodden, Joel 'JoJo' and Tashaunda Hailey, Shayne & Nik Lamas-Richie and Farrah Abraham.
"Doing the reunion was incredible, because you never knew what was going to happen," she remembers. "The reason I wanted to do the reunion was to get to the bottom of where these past couples where, how they had been and what they are up to. On the reunion, the couples and their situations really ran the gamut. There was Nick and Shane, who have faced a life and death situation to only come out stronger because of it. They left Couples Therapy
in a really strong place. Then, there was Courtney and Doug, who have been through a lot of difficulties, and Tashaunda and JoJo having to battle with his alcoholism. We all wanted to know what had happened to all them since being on the show. So, it was great for fans of the show to see where all where in their lives. It was a really interesting reunion."
Dr. Jenn is anxious to do another reunion special at the end of Season Five since there were quite a number of past Couples Therapy
clients/cast members who didn't make it onto the first special. Berman admits she'd like to see all of her past guests back for an on-camera catch-up. "It was hard for me to chose who was going to be on the reunion, because as a therapist, I develop attachments and bonds with all my clients," she confesses. "Fans of the show may not know what has happened to a lot of them, but I am still in touch with all the cast mates and clients from each season. We form relationships, and I always say to them, 'I am always your therapist. We are never going to go out to lunch together. We are never going to hang out and shoot the shit, but I'm always your therapist. So, if you get into trouble, you can always call me or text me, and they do. I am still in touch with 95 percent of the people who have been on the show....I really am hoping that we get another reunion, because there are so many people that fans ask about that I would love to explore more with them."
A licensed therapist with a private practice in Beverly Hills, Dr. Jill Berman
works with a wide variety of issues including: relationship issues, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, parenting issues, sexual abuse, and post traumatic stress disorder. She performs individual therapy, couple’s therapy, as well as family therapy. Dr. Jenn works with clients of all ages but generally does not see children under the age of eight. Dr. Jenn has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, a Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy and a license in Marriage and Family Therapy. Before becoming Dr. Berman, Jill initially discovered she had a talent and a strong desire to help people when she became involved with the caring of women who had been abused.
"I really wanted to volunteer my time to help battered women, so I went through extensive 60 hour training," she recalls. "As soon as I started doing it, I knew I had found my calling. I decided I would go back to school and get a master's degree. I went back to school and got a doctorate. I realized being a therapist is what I was meant to do. To say I'm passionate about it would be an understatement. For me, it is a calling. It is why I am here on this planet. It's my reason for existing."
Using her broad education and years of clinical experience she adapts her treatment approach to each individual client. While she most often uses a psychodynamic approach with cognitive behavioral interventions, Dr. Jenn uses an eclectic approach to treatment in order to meet her patient's needs. Dr. Jenn recognizes that psychotherapy, or "talk therapy," is a collaborative process. The psychotherapist and client must work together to enable the client to better understand his or her behaviors in order to improve quality of life. Dr. Jenn teaches her clients compassion for themselves and how to achieve self-care. Despite her empathy, Dr. Berman doesn't hesitate to push her clients to confront their issues. Dr. Jenn is a strong believer in the differences therapy can make.
"I always tell people, regardless of whether they think they need it or not, 'Going to therapy is the bravest thing that you can do,'" Dr. Jenn confesses. "I have a radio show on Sirius XM called The Dr. Jenn Show
, it's on the Oprah (Winfrey) channel (nightly). And, I always recommend to every person I talk to that they should have at least one year of therapy. In order to become a therapist, you have to have 6,000 hours under supervision, and that cost the person getting the experience a lot of money. Consequently, therapy can be expensive. Most people in this country, though, can only get therapy based on their ability to pay, and that's unfortunate, because it is so important. Good mental health is essential, not only for you, but everyone else in your life. "
In addition to creating the highly-touted "No More Diets" app, which is currently available on iPhone & iPad, Berman is the author of three bestselling books: SuperBaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years
, The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy Confident Kids
and Rockin' Babies
, Dr. Jill is penning another. "I am in the process of writing my next book, which will focus on relationships," says the divorced mother of twins. "Obviously, I know a lot about relationships, not only those of others, but the ones I've had. And, I practice what I preach. I was married for 13 years and I have a lot of respect for my ex, he is a great father to my kids. I am very fortunate, it was as pleasant as a divorce can be. So, I speak from experience.
"Look, relationships are hard work, particularly if you want them to be successful," Dr. Jill declares. "I don't pretend to know it all, but I want help people dig deep into themselves to find their own answers. Sometimes, my clients and cast members find out things about themselves and their partners that they don't to know or hear. But, the only way to move forward, it to take a chance and work on every relationship that is important to you in your life. That's what a show Couples Therapy
is all about. It's about therapy, but more importantly, it's about teaching people how to live better lives. If I can help people do that, then I've more than done my job."
VH1 Couples Therapy With Dr. Jenn airs Wednesdays at 9:00p.m.EST/8:00p.m.CST