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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is Therapy Stigmatic for African Americans?

This is my second time watching TV One's new show, Love Addiction.  My first reaction was: "Can women be this stupid?! No. Seriously.  I need answers."  But then after watching further, I see what the producers are trying to accomplish as well as the potential of the show altogether.

Each week the show focuses on a couple (all of which have been black to date), exposing the glaring faults in the relationships.  Friends and family members share their concern for the unhealthy characteristics they have noticed and stage a love intervention to help their loved ones finally see the light.

Now, for reasons stated above, I have a love/hate type relationship with this new reality series.  Ironically though, the things that make me hate it make me love it.

In my experience it seems that therapy among black people was somewhat taboo.  I find that with the current influx and popularity of relationship experts that we are starting to catch on.  Even I was under the impression that therapy sessions were solely for white people with deeply rooted psychological issues, as if blacks don't have the same problems.  Hell, we probably need it more given the many different issues and complexes we have to battle daily.

One of the biggest issues with black people, in my opinion, lie in successful relationships.  There are a lot of us who just don't know how to have one, what it takes to keep one or how to even get out of a not so good one.  The fact that these women (for the few episodes that I've seen, they're the "victims" in the situation) are forced to see what they choose to ignore is good.  Whether or not they are truly receiving what is being said is another show in itself.  Both men and women who grew up without their father in the home run the same risk of suffering from some form of abandonment issues.  Instead of seeking help to work through their complexities, they seek out a quick fix, almost always losing themselves in sex, bad relationships and/or other unhealthy activities.

As a young woman who was raised by my mother, I see and have seen instances where I could have fallen into the trap, trying to fill voids left by my parents' decision to split.  I could have easily been the girl who craves attention from men, thinking sex was the way to achieve that.  Thankfully, I have my mom and Jesus on my side.

I'm a firm believer that fathers are supposed to be their daughters' first love, showing them the game.  In some instances, my dad has shown me what I should look for and what I should tolerate when it comes to the man I choose to be in a relationship with.  I absolutely melt when I see a girl who is head over heels for her daddy and often wish i had that same luxury but instead of being bitter about the situation, I play the cards I've been dealt, in an attempt to make the most out of my situation.  Unfortunately, most girls don't possess that ability to compartmentalize what they're feeling long enough to function in a healthy manner.  This leaves them susceptible to a cycle of bad men and decision making.

Love Addiction is an enlightening series that I think everyone should check out at least once.  Aside from the seemingly ignorant fools they choose to showcase week after week, I vouch for the show and I hope that it helps people, especially black people, that we're not too good for therapy.  We all need someone to vent to and, in turn, we need good, sound and unbiased feedback.

Have you watched Love Addiction? What're your thoughts?  Are you against therapy?  Why or why not?  Feel free to check out the clip below if you aren't familiar with the show.

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