Bad Boy Celebrity Antics Explained by Communications Expert and Imago Therapist

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Charlie Sheen and Chris Brown are the new poster boys for bad behavior. Imago Therapist Dr. Ben Cohen explains why anger is the acceptable emotion to express, and what underlies verbal and physical outbursts. "If people would try to understand the true and authentic feelings behind anger, there would be less reactivity, and more empathy developed in work and personal relationships," Cohen explains.

First Charlie Sheen publicly fleeces the producer of his recently cancelled hit sitcom Two and a Half Men. A few days later recording artist Chris Brown throws a chair through a dressing room window at the Good Morning America studio, allegedly angry about the way his interview went.

Imago Therapist Ben Cohen, PhD, explains these behaviors from a therapist’s point of view. “There are hidden, private and painful feelings behind anger that people don’t want others to know. Showing vulnerabilities, especially for men, is not socially acceptable. Anger is a way to cover up fear, shame, embarrassment, and anxiety,” Cohen says who adds that men are not socialized to cry in public. If Chris Brown would have cried on camera for example, his emotional response might have been met with empathy. Instead his ‘bad boy’ label was reinforced through his macho display of force and aggression.

Both men and women often match anger with anger, ending up brawling, fighting, or arguing. “If people would try to understand the true and authentic feelings behind anger, there would be less reactivity, and more empathy with interpersonal relationships and the workplace. That concept is a key component to what we tirelessly advocate and teach through our Imago relationship workshops and individual couples counseling,” says Cohen.

Cohen is a relationship therapist specializing in teaching couples how to connect through communication. “The key to developing authentic emotional connections is to teach couples how to feel safe in their relationship so they can express their vulnerabilities—which leads to emotional intimacy. That closeness is the glue for making and keeping relationships strong,” explains Cohen.

Ben Cohen, Ph.D., is a Licensed Psychologist and has been a certified Imago Relationship Therapist for over 15 years. He has presented over 60 “Getting The Love You Want” Couples Workshops, and is a Certified Instructor on the Faculty of the Imago Institute. Ben was recently featured with Dr. Harville Hendrix on a DVD entitled “Imago Connects: From Conflict to Connection”.

Ben has been in private practice in Boulder and Denver since 1992, specializing in couples counseling and relationship issues with individuals. He has extensive experience teaching and training, including 10 years as Adjunct Faculty at the Naropa University, and Training Director at the University of Colorado. Contact Dr. Cohen at

Imago Relationships International helps couples restore connection. Weekend couples workshops are available worldwide. Imago has certified over 2,000 licensed therapists to guide couples to learn communication and connection, which was developed by co-founders Harville Hendrix, PhD and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD. Imago first came to public attention through the New York Times best seller, "Getting the Love You Want." Oprah Winfrey dubbed Hendrix "The Marriage Whisperer". Calling him "Her favorite therapist" Oprah has invited him on her show 17 times. Couples can start learning how Imago creates a better relationship for free, by visiting for online tools and learning experiences.


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|Diane Dennis
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