For 10 years, Iyanla Vanzant has provided a type of therapy never before seen on television. Through Iyanla: Fix My Life, her guests and millions of viewers have learned the power of speaking the gut ugly truth in order to be set free and begin to live their best lives.
Vanzant’s way is viewed as non-traditional, but her followers cling to her approach. She says the shift in accepting therapy of any kind is due in part to the current generation not willing to continue living their lives at a standstill.
“One of the reasons Fix My Life works is because I grew up in a time where you don’t talk your business outside of the house, you don’t tell people what’s going on with you,” she told Shadow and Act in a recent interview. “The millennials and the Z’s and the X’s are like ‘Wait a minute, hold up.’ The work is so much easier now because we’re talking about things that we wouldn’t talk about then. In my generation, your spiritual healing came from the church, and so many youngins are like, ‘I’m not going that way.’”
Despite the show’s popularity and many successful fixes, Vanzant has endured some criticisms, with other professional therapists disagreeing with her way of doing things. Instead of sitting across from a psychologist laid out on a sofa as the psychologist takes notes with a pen and paper on their patient, Vanzant takes a more in-your-face approach.
She forces her subjects to bare their soul while calling them out on their nonsense. There are some screams and some slams on the table. Vanzant’s healing mechanisms are based on spiritual revelations rather than clinical. She’s all about breaking toxic cycles and encouraging her guests to dig deep for guidance, which oftentimes leads guests to cry their ugliest cries during an emotional breakdown. Vanzant believes a breakthrough can’t occur without one.
She makes no apologies for her work and ignores the chatter and people’s discomfort with her approaches. As she told Wendy Williams in an interview on her talk show once, “I’m here to interrupt the pattern.”
Vanzant echoed the same sentiments to Shadow and Act when asked what she thinks about criticism from viewers, as well as previous guests. Tamar Braxton, Sheree Whitfield, and Shay Johnson are just a few who’ve spoken out against Vanzant after appearing on her show. For Vanzant, she’s content in knowing she did her job.
“It’s just an unwillingness [on the guest’s end],” Vanzant said. “When you call people on their stuff, they’re going to get mad at you. There’s an African proverb that says ‘You never curse what you bless - and you never curse what blesses you.’ So, people who criticize me, they’re cursing themselves.”
As for why she’s decided to part ways with Fix My Life, she says it’s simply time for her to move onto other things but insists her work in helping others is never done.
“It’s time for me to do it differently. I’m not going anywhere, I’m just doing it differently,” she added. “Not on the screen, but in a more intimate way. Teaching people and connecting with people so that it’s not entertainment, but it’s inner-tainment.”
The final episodes of Fix My Life begin airing Saturday, April 10 at 9 p.m. EST on OWN.
Watch the full interview with Vanzant where she discusses submission in the therapy process, her favorite fixes, whether she stays in touch with her guests, and more about what to expect next from her.