Reality TV Has Been Quietly Normalizing Therapy


Quietly, discreetly, more and more reality shows have been showing stars regularly attending therapy. But unlike earlier iterations of therapy on TV, these sessions feel like a normal part of life, like going to meet your girlfriend for lunch at, say, SURto work through your relationship drama. And with a recent American Psychological Association pollshowing that nearly half of respondents say the stigma toward seeking mental health services has decreased in recent years, it’s no surprise therapy on reality TV has become a more accepted, normal part of a show.

Jamie Otis, one of the success stories of A&E’s “Married At First Sight,” will proudly attest to that. Otis sat through couples counseling and therapy during that show as well as the spinoff “Married At First Sight: The First Year.”

“I mean, everyone knew 10, 20 years ago, therapy had such a stigma to it. That means you’re flawed,” Otis said. “Now, people are able to come out a bit more and share their stories.”

According to Otis, reality TV shows might not have set out to destigmatize therapy, but that has certainly been one result ― even if the road was bumpy getting there.

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