Farrah Abraham has been carrying around a secret since day one of Couples Therapy, a secret so big it’s alienated her from her co-stars. This week, while we didn’t actually learn what the secret was, we learned that it’s a burden she carries with her that affects her life and her relationships in many ways. During our conversation with Dr. Jenn Berman this week, we discussed how Farrah’s acknowledgement that she had lied to the group affected her relationships in the house, and why she didn’t just come clean earlier in the process, as well as Dr. Jenn’s thoughts on the Ghostface-Kelsey-Latrice love triangle. Our chat is below.
Is there a way that Farrah could have told her housemates about this big secret she has, which she can’t talk about, any earlier in the process so they wouldn’t have resented her so much or assumed she was lying? Or did it have to happen when she reached a breaking point and opened up to you?
That’s a tough question. I honestly don’t know the answer. I think that one of the things that brought her to this point where she could reveal it to me was how much this secret was affecting her relationships with everyone in the house and the mounting tension. It was the perfect storm of events. Sure, in an ideal world she could have revealed that sooner but I think that all of these things brought her to a breaking point so that she was able to reveal it.
Some of the cast was more sympathetic than others, did this reveal improve her relationships with the rest of the cast going forward?
I felt bad that people in the group were so stuck in their anger that they weren’t more receptive. All these people had been saying is “All I’m asking is that you tell the truth about this tape,” and when she comes forward and tells the truth without going into detail, she admits that she had been lying and tried to explain why and a lot of the people in the group were stuck in their anger. I think it helped a little bit, but not as much as I would have liked. Regardless, it was important for her own growth and it was a breakthrough moment for her.
Was she affected at all by John saying that his issues with her had nothing to do with her sex tape, but rather that he felt she existed in a bubble? Did she take that criticism to heart?
I think she did. Her first reaction was defensive but in later conversations with her, one of the things that I saw over the course of our work together was her willingness to look at her stuff and take feedback from other people, even if it didn’t happen in that immediate moment in the group.
Farrah seemed really hesitant to do the private one-on-one session with you at first. Was it difficult for you to earn her trust and assure her that everything she said would remain confidential?
I thought that her concerns were totally valid and I wanted to make her feel comfortable which is why I offered for her to search the room, search me, search whatever she wanted. Look, it’s my professional reputation at stake and there is doctor-patient confidentiality. Her concerns were that of someone who’s been screwed over and misled, who has been hurt over and over again. She’s had so many people who have used her and hurt her and tricked her, it makes sense that those were her concerns.
I felt for Kelsey this week and if I were her, I would have walked out the door at the end of the episode and never come back. You were clearly frustrated with Ghost too, calling him out for disrespecting her, how hard is it to not go overboard in that moment and maintain your professional composure when he’s being, basically, such a jerk?
To me, as a therapist it’s not about being a jerk, I know it’s hard for Ghost to have empathy for Kelsey because he never had empathy given to him growing up. At the same time, it’s my responsibility as a therapist to call him out on his s—. So when he says something that contradicts his behavior and his words, it’s my job to call him out in whatever way will get his attention and sometimes that means raising my voice.
When Ghost was in group, he was defending his actions by saying that 90% of men do what he does and mess around. What do you say to that, since that’s his justification for his behavior?
A few things I say to that. First, birds of a feather flock together. We tend to hang out with people that co-sign the same bad behavior. If you’re a drug addict you hang out with other addicts because it feels like the norm. If you are a philanderer and hang out with other people who are philanderers, it will feel like the norm. While I get what he’s saying about urges and testosterone and passion and sex, at the same time, what delineates us from animals is that we have free will and the ability to make choices that are not hurtful to other people. F—ing everything that walks around, and lying to people who care about you are not what helps us evolve and become better human beings. And an important party if therapy is challenging our beliefs and pushing ourselves to grow in different ways.