The INSIDER Summary:
- Last night on “The Bachelorette,” a contestant brought up the fact that he went to therapy.
- “Bachelorette” star Rachel Lindsay revealed that she had been to therapy, too.
- The conversation resonated with many, including me.
- More and varied conversations about mental health treatment need to happen more frequently on TV and in the media.
Let’s be real, most of us don’t watch “The Bachelorette” for its hard-hitting social commentary. It’s really a fun escape to watch some hot guys compete over a hot woman — who this season is way too good for them — in silly challenges and cheesy dates.
But, with such a large audience, when important conversations do happen they need to be done well. And though the franchise has stumbled when trying grasp big issues in the past, this week they hit a home run courtesy of one contestant named Peter who revealed he’d been going to therapy.
On his date, Peter praised the effect that going to relationship therapy has had on him following a failed relationship and how it is still helping him in the “Bachelor” mansion.
“It actually helped me a lot and I think it’s helping me a lot now to be more calm in my thoughts,” he said.
This season’s “Bachelorette” star Rachel Lindsay, in turn, gushed about her own relationship with therapy after she decided to see someone after the end of a long-term relationship affected her.
“I was like there is so much that I need to work on with myself, I’m just not getting it,” she said. “So, I went to a therapist. And it was the best decision that I made that entire year.”
Following that conversation, there was no judgment and no implication that someone’s therapy is a relationship red flag. In fact, Peter got a rose directly after that conversation! The two smiled and shared their experiences with therapy as if it was just another thing they have in common, like their love of dogs or both having gaps in their teeth.
This is a sigh of relief that anyone who has gone to therapy can relate to. The only thing more stressful than going to your first ever appointment is having to tell others in your life that you’re seeking help — or worse, having them find out on their own. But, when they take it well or (even better) reveal that they’ve been to therapy too, it’s a really wonderful feeling.
Having that conversation on a show that is watched by so many people of different demographics is really important. It shows that not only is it great to seek help if you want to, but that you can have these conversations in whatever light you choose. And fans immediately reacted to the scene.
wow Peter goes to therapy AND loves dogs can someone sign me up for The Bachelorette https://t.co/K4tbHDh0ii
— Kristin Harris (@KristinHarris) May 30, 2017
I love the Bachelorette but I am more in love with the fact that they openly talked about therapy in a positive way. #talkaboutit
— Alexia Polachek (@AlexiaPolachek) May 30, 2017
Such an unexpected surprise to here a positive conversation about therapy and it’s virtues on #Bachelorette
— Jordan Gunning (@isthatjg) May 30, 2017
Shout out reppin going to therapy. It’s not something anyone should ever be ashamed of for any reason #Bachelorette
— Love will prevail (@spacesintheam) May 30, 2017
Your relationship with therapy might be a fraught and sensitive one, so it may look more like a serious conversation, later into your relationship. But it can also be a positive thing and something that you reveal as a matter-of-fact on your first date. Whatever you’re comfortable with — that’s the right way to have that talk with a partner or date.
As someone who brags about her therapist to everyone who will listen, this moment was extremely gratifying to me. I wasted too much of my life being terrified of therapy, and even more terrified that someone would find out I was going to therapy and get the wrong idea about me. I was horrified someone would see me as broken, crazy, high-maintenance, and not worth their time.
Now that I am in treatment, I know that’s total BS. First off, therapy is so incredibly common — in 2014, 44.7% of the 43.6 million American adults who have experienced mental illness sought treatment, according to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). You probably know someone who is in therapy whether they’ve told you so or not. Secondly, therapy is not how you see it in the movies. While I do sometimes have deep talks that leave me crying on the subway ride home, I also just sometimes complain about the idiot who catcalled me on the street that morning and my therapist and I make our “Bachelor” predictions for that season as I walk out the door.
Therapy gives me a sense of calm that no conversation with my girlfriends, as much as I love them, can. My therapist is totally unbiased and a sounding board for all of the thoughts too vulnerable to share with someone who is not paid to listen to me. It helps me turn the negative into positive and let go of the things I just can’t shake.
If I would have seen such a positive conversation about therapy on TV when I was a bit younger, I may have sought help long ago. Not only that, when I did seek therapy, I would have been more open about it at the start. Much like Rachel and Peter’s conversation, most of my conversations went well, with a few people even asking me for my therapist’s contact info — which I gave them happily.
Seeing someone like Rachel, who seems to have her life totally together, speak freely and positively about therapy means so much to those who have found help through therapy, and for those who may have never considered it. It can help empower those who sneak away to their sessions to tell their partners and families where they’re going.
Hopefully, this conversation can set the tone, not only for other shows to tackle conversations about mental health and therapy in a positive way, but also for “The Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” to consider taking on tough topics in a way that shows how real and healthy relationships do.
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