INdiana Systemic Thinking

January 31, 2008

“Dr. Phil Show”: How’s That Working Out For You?

According to WTHR, Dr. Phillip McGraw “regrets” discussing his “visit” with pop singer Brittany Spears.  Here is the background:

Spears, 26, was hospitalized in Los Angeles after a child custody dispute with ex-husband Kevin Federline resulted in an hours-long standoff with police January 3. Federline has sole physical and legal custody of their two sons, Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1.

McGraw said he visited the pop singer as a family friend, and rejected critics who accused him of practicing psychology without a license.

This is what Dr. Phil has to say:

“I regret making the statement. It didn’t help. It didn’t work,” the syndicated TV psychologist said Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“I did not go there to diagnose her. I did not go there to treat her,” said McGraw, who showed up at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on January 5 as Spears was about to be discharged.

McGraw said he retired his Texas license after 25 years of private practice because of the demands of his “Dr. Phil” daytime talk show.

The Spears family has accused McGraw of betraying their trust by making an “inappropriate” public statement about the singer’s hospitalization.

McGraw had told celebrity news TV shows that Spears was in “dire” need of medical and psychological help.

In an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday, McGraw said his public comments after visiting Spears were intended to prevent rumors and misinformation.

“I wanted to stop speculation about what may have gone on in there,” he said.

OK, whatever.  We all know he went there to get ratings for his pseudo-psychological show.  Anytime a person in the therapy, or psychological, field puts their needs in front of a person or family, in a professional situation, they act unethically.  Speaking of which, a formal complaint was filed in California over the incident.  The California Board of Psychology treats complaints as confidential, so we don’t know what will happen with this yet.  Interestingly, the complaint also alleges Dr. Phil violated Ms. Spears confidentiality rights under HIPA.  While the California complaint is a felony, the HIPA violation could result in federal charges.

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