>Therapy at the ‘Jersey Shore’…

As a therapist, I’m good – but as a person, I’m screwed. I can’t just relax and watch an episode of ‘Jersey Shore… 

I’m watching the DVR’ed first episodes, (you know my obsession with reality TV) and I’m finally making sense of Ronnie and Sam! I watch them meet for the first time, and quickly become smitten with each other in a way they’ve never felt before; beyond ‘smooshing’, they want each other, and seem comforted by their closeness. We watch them become alternately wistful and enraged, but overall we get the sense that this thing between them confuses the hell out of both.

It makes sense that they don’t know how to be close in a safe, committed, way. We watch as the ‘Shore’ culture pulls at them to ‘party’ and be carefree, when these new, loving feelings are flooding their systems. No wonder why they become overwhelmed; they don’t know how to manage it! No wonder why they are so easily threatened! There is no security. They don’t have experience in creating that safety from which to develop a strong bond, and they are living in a culture that discourages bonding… as the cameras roll. Let’s not forget the cameras – no one wants to get ‘played’ in front of millions of MTV viewers!

As a therapist, I wonder where they ever would have learned in the first place to bond in that safe, committed way; even before ‘the Shore’ made them famous. Most of us put relationships together in a way that works for some time, but eventually (as in Ron and Sammi’s case) it doesn’t function so well.

We like watching these guys because there’s something familiar in that primitive longing for each other that we recognize.

We wonder how badly they can hurt each other before reaching the point of no return, because secretly we wonder what could be the breaking point in our own relationships.

We watch as Ron and Sammi literally move closer and closer to each other as they repair from their first big fight, eventually ending up in each others’ arms, clinging desperately to each other in relief. We know the anxiety a fight can cause, and feel their relief at finding each other again, in the darkness.

Ah well. I guess if ‘Jersey Shore’ gets people talking about their relationships, I’ll take it as a start.

In the meantime, I will try to relax and stop being such a geek about the whole thing.



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