Reality TV- A healing society.

March 18, 2018



On Sunday morning and I was enjoying a soak in the bath, whilst watching Marriage Boot Camp Season 10  (the family edition).  I had meditated, done some housework and now I was indulging in an emotional outburst courtesy of Renee (from Mob wives), whilst feeling relaxed. I have grown to like Rennes character and the way in which she cries, shouts and speaks her mind when she has to. I was left wondering what does watching this say about me and the world I live in?


Televising a reality


In the past going the theatre to see dramatic and controversial story lines play out was considered as a form of entertainment. Now we need to look no further than our television or mobile device screens to get accesses to someone else’s life. There are moments when I question the integrity of television producers especially where issues between individuals become violent. Nonetheless it is somewhat reassuring to see individuals trying to work through their thoughts and feelings.


Cathartic release


Being open and expressing ones feelings is a big part of reality television, and individuals who participate in these shows often boast of being “real”. After all what could be more real than opening yourself up to the people around you-for all to see? These shows are a highly edited version of ones reality but it offers viewers the chance to ‘take a look behind closed doors’ or get ‘personal’ access to an individual of interest. I won’t go into the aspects that scream ‘attention seeking fame w£@%*’ or ‘narcissism at its finest’- but many of those who chose to be on reality television also chose to be vulnerable and open themselves up to the world, irrespective of how he or she might be judged. There is something admirable about someone who is able to do that.


Emotions and the expression of them are very much a necessity of life- they help us to notice how we are feeling, celebrate our joy, let go of troublesome thoughts and bond with others. By participating in a reality show the individual is bravely choosing to bare their emotions, let it all hang out and hopefully to be more emotionally available to their loved ones.




Displaying emotional availability


So I admit it I like reality T.V! More recently I have found it fascinating how therapy is televised in shows like ‘Marriage Bootcamp’ and ‘Iyanla: Fix My Life’. These shows are making a personal and intimate journey quite public, giving the audience the chance to see how one might work at personal development. I think it might also be creating a greater awareness of what counselling and psychotherapy looks like, making it less of a taboo and just a necessary exercise for those who have been diagnosed as mentally ill. Self-expression is a powerful thing, watching others let off steam reminds me that I too need to continue to find ways to express myself emotionally and artistically.


In my role as an Applied Behavioural Analyst when working with individuals with autism I often have to detach how I feel in the moment, to avoid reinforcing any negative behaviour. This is not an easy thing to do especially when working with someone who is non compliant, challenging and or aggressive. What is more as a psychotherapeutic counsellor I am continuously trying to be non-judgemental yet authentic when working one on one with a client. This is not easy! It takes a lot of self-awareness and self care to be able to empathically support others. I have to make time to release my thoughts and feelings. I do so by spending time with family, friends and doing things that I enjoy-including downtime with a bit of reality television.


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