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Question
Posted by: hello | 2004/11/06

Dr Phil

What do you think of that Dr Phil on TV? He always says tell it like it is and what's the payoff for your aberrant behaviour and so on--lots of clicky phrases, but he seems to help a lot of people. I wonder though how long it lasts becaue he seems to change their behaviour first and let their minds change after- if at all.

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Our expert says:
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Frankly, I don't waste my time watching him, as I dislike his work from what I've seen of it earlier. I find him glib and phoney, sounding like he has good scriptwriters, --- as you say, lots of clicky phrases. And he always seems to go for the clever phrase, whether or not i9ts true or helpful. I don't believe that he helps a lot of people, at all. What he does is to ENTERTAIN a lot of people, and to help a lot of people with absolutely nothing wrong with them, to feel a but better about themselves.
If you choose to treat the healthy, most of them get better !
I find his methods onscreeen to be very simplistic, and in his appearances, he seems to avoid dealing with really serious problems. And what he gives is a really rich man's advice to really rich people. Ever seen him chatting to the homeless ? to those with advanced serious illnesses ? He cherry-picks the easy stuff, for entertainment value, not for therapeutic seriousness. And I have never, ever, heard him utter a word that is original, yet I rarely if ever hear him giving credit to those who invented the techniques he uses, or even imply that any of it originates outside of his own inner genius.
The point of looking for the way in which aberrant behaviour is to some extent rewarding, is ancient within psychology, and a basis of Behaviour Therapy ; The point you raise about changing behaviour first, and letting the thinking catch up with it, is also old and typical of behaviour therapy. But what he seems to be copying is mainly the developments of the 1850's and 60's, rather than the CBT principles of the 90's and 2000's.

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