Teen Mom's Maci Bookout Defends Putting Son Bentley's Therapy On TV - Exclusive

"Teen Mom: The Next Chapter" stars fan-favorite cast members from the franchise — like Catelynn Baltierra, Cheyenne Floyd, and Maci Bookout McKinney — as they move forward into new periods of their lives. The series gives fans a chance to see how the "Teen Mom" stars they've followed for years have grown and how their friendship and family dynamics have changed. Viewers can watch cast members go through both happy and hard times as they take on new challenges and face unexpected hurdles — and Season 2 of "Teen Mom: The Next Chapter" doesn't shy away from serious and sensitive topics. The cast has been especially open about their personal journeys with mental health, with many of them opening up about their experiences in therapy.

McKinney has always been authentic on screen, and part of that has been sharing her journey with therapy. Her son, Bentley, has also spoken on the show about going to therapy. During an exclusive interview with The List, McKinney explained why she thinks Bentley sharing his experience is a valuable opportunity to fight the negative conceptions about therapy and responded to criticism about discussing it on the show.

Breaking the stigma around therapy

As her son Bentley grows up, it has been important to Maci Bookout McKinney that he can be open with her about his feelings, so she has supported him in going to therapy. In "Teen Mom OG," Bentley even encouraged his father (McKinney's ex), Ryan Edwards, to go to counseling with him; McKinney and her husband, Taylor, were very supportive of the two going to counseling to work on their relationship together.

Some viewers were unsure about McKinney being that public about Bentley's therapy journey, but for McKinney, it's an important part of decreasing the stigma around mental health. "Some of the audience feels a type of way about Bentley sharing his experience with therapy," she said. "But I know for Bentley, it's important, especially being a young male, for him to be able to show other kids."

She hopes that by seeing how open Bentley is about therapy and what a positive experience it's been for him, the show can help other families be open to the idea of counseling. "Some kid might see him talking about how he goes to therapy and how much it helps, and how much he enjoys it. They might not be afraid to then bring that up to their parents," McKinney said.

Watch new episodes of "Teen Mom: The Next Chapter" Wednesdays 8:00 ET on MTV.