What goes on in Bahay Ni Kuya? It’s not for the faint of heart, says resident psychologist

8/8/2016 12:09 AM | Updated as of 8/8/2016 9:33 AM
by: Gerry Plaza

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How is it entering Bahay ni Kuya?

We can all praise or bash the housemates as they go through this challenge of being isolated from the outside world for about 100 days, ditch any form of privacy with cameras zoomed into their every move, being pried on by millions of onlookers on TV, undergo tough tasks, deal with sometimes difficult co-housemates, and become stressed with meeting Kuya’s measures and guidelines in the house.

It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

The fact is, even though people perceive it a talent factory or worse a fake, scripted show, nothing is assured, much less predetermined in choosing who goes into the house, who gets evicted or not, or who emerges as the Big Winner.

Pinoy Big Brother’s resident psychologist Dr. Randy Dellosa, who has been with the show for its entire 11-year run, stresses that point.

“It’s so real, unpredictable, and unscripted that the MTRCB won’t take its eagle eye off the show,” he said.


What it takes to succeed

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Succeeding in PBB is more about managing one’s own journey and handling all those stressful situations inside the house. And that takes grit, strength of character, and resolve, while imbibing a good deal of openness, social skills, and a great amount of smarts and take on a revealing path to self-discovery.

But does it take an emotional and psychological toll on the housemates?

“PBB is an emotional roller coaster ride for all the housemates. Inside Bahay ni Kuya, the housemates are surely going to experience the whole spectrum of intense emotions,” Doc Randy said.

“As in previous PBB editions, Kuya’s tasks are designed to break down the housemates’ psychological defenses so that their true character can emerge. Kuya’s ultimate goal is to hopefully make better people out of the housemates,” he added.

As such, what would housemates need to do as they enter Bahay Ni Kuya?

“I have two tips in preparing to become a housemate,” Doc Randy said. “The first tip in becoming a housemate is to develop self-awareness. You need to take stock of your strengths and weaknesses. If you know what your good traits are, then that’s what you showcase when you’re inside the house. If you know what your weaknesses and bad traits are, then overcome them even before auditioning for the show.”

Doc Randy’s second tip is all too real, especially for those housemates already inside.

‘The second tip is to thicken your skin. Be prepared to be bashed by co-housemates and viewers who might not like you. Remember that the viewers can be extremely critical and will telescope more on your character flaws than on your strengths.”


Special qualities?

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In this regard, are there special qualities for people entering the house, whether they are celebrities, teens, or regular housemates?

“The housemates represent the various types of people we encounter in everyday life. Housemates do not need to have any special traits. They just need to be comfortable in being who they are,” Doc Randy stressed.

But there are some extreme tendencies he considers inappropriate.

“As the psychologist for the show, I have to make sure that the people who enter Bahay ni Kuya have no suicidal tendencies, violent attitudes, or psychiatric symptoms,” Doc Randy added.

He also distinguishes celebrities from regular housemates.

“They share the same quirks and foibles which ordinary human beings have,” he said. “(But), celebrities are more comfortable with cameras inside the house that are following them (and) are more self-conscious and protective of the image they project inside Kuya’s house. And…the celebrities apparently are using their PBB exposure as leverage for furthering their showbiz career.


Psychological exhibitionists

In our exclusive interview with Doc Randy, he revealed the psychological makeup of past and present housemates and those striking cases he handled.

“Most people who want to enter PBB, are what we call ‘psychological exhibitionists’,” Doc Randy noted. “They have a strong psychological need to exhibit the private aspects of their personalities and lives to the public. They also have a strong need to prove their worth and value to others and they have a strong wish to be accepted for who they are.” “People become psychological exhibitionists usually because of some emotional deprivation or trauma they experienced in their childhood past,” he added.


Memorable case

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A memorable case he handled was one from the first Celebrity Edition, which really became the most controversial and widely talked about incident within the confines of the house. A case that really needed his expertise to support the concerned housemate.

“As the PBB psychologist throughout the years, one of my most memorable tasks was helping Rustom Padilla cope during his “coming out” period,” Doc Randy reveals. “Although it was a big relief for him to come out as a gay person, he was nevertheless plagued with struggles, worries and insecurities. It was a privilege for me to offer him some psychological support during that period in his life.”

And this kind of psychological support is direly needed when stressful impediments affect them.

“Homesickness is a common struggle which most housemates experience. In fact, if the homesickness gets too much, the housemate may sink into a depression or choose to voluntarily exit. A second source of stress is personality differences among the housemates which result in annoyance and arguments,” Doc Randy said.

A third nerve-wracking struggle has something to do with the tense format.

“(It’s) the nominations (for eviction). The housemates dislike nominating each other because they feel that they are betraying co-housemates whom they already consider to be like family,” he said.


Telling factor

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But one telling factor that adds to the tension is quite obvious even to this day.

“(It’s) falling in love with a co-housemate, especially when they have a boyfriend or girlfriend outside the PBB house who is watching the show,” Doc Randy said.

To remain in Bahay Ni Kuya until the Big Night comes, housemates must “overcome their struggles,” he said.

“(They need) to keep their composure and solve their problems pro-actively. Rather than being bogged down and defeated by their emotions, the housemates need to use their emotions as a driving force to overcome their struggles,” he noted.

And, for Doc Randy, the Big Winner is determined from a level playing field yet distinguished by very salient qualities. “PBB offers no specific standards for becoming a Big Winner. For instance, in the past editions of PBB, some housemates won because they gained sympathy votes for being poor, or because they were part of a love team formed inside the house, or for the superficial reason that they looked cute,” he said.

“All housemates are given equal chances to become one for the Big Four. The Big Winner of PBB, however, will be the housemate who can emotionally captivate the viewers’ hearts and serve as an inspirational role model for them,” he added.


New twist

If given the chance to suggest a new twist to the immensely successful, longest running reality show, Doc Randy was very specific. “I would transform PBB into a psycho-educational reality TV show wherein psychologically relevant topics are discussed extensively as they arise in real time. After all, each housemate is a psychological case study in personality and Bahay ni Kuya is one big social and psychological laboratory. There is so much to learn from the way housemates interact with each other,” he said.

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