- Thoughts for inspired living

July 9, 2008

Dr. Phil

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:56 am

I see that Dr. Phil is currently one of the areas of focus of the tabloids in the supermarket checkout lines. That’s one of the downsides to being a TV celebrity. Whether the revelations they offer about him are even a tiny bit accurate, only time will tell.

There is also lots of talk in the people helping community about Dr. Phil as well, none of which refers to any alleged peccadilloes.

It seems most of the chatter I hear is negative. I think a lot of the criticism comes from professional jealousy and some of it seems right on point. Some consider him all show. Others think he’s a bully. And many believe he preaches what he doesn’t practice. We all have an opinion. Here’s mine:

I think Dr. Phil is the Ross Perot of Psychology and he has tons of homespun relatability. I also think he is masterful at cutting through and identifying the problem situation in short order. People like Dr. Phil. I’m not a fan.

The area where he comes up short for me is in the solutions he offers. These same solutions can be gotten from any seasoned bartender or hairdresser. If you’re a struggling couch potato, “get a J-O-B!!” If you’re a philandering spouse, “Keep it in your pants!!” If you’re an excessively doting parent, “You gotta’ let them go!!”


This solutions void is not isolated to Dr. Phil. It permeates the psychological community. You are given a solution without a plan to get there.

Here is the bottom line on problems – they are yours to solve. After you have paid for the best advice you can afford, it always comes down to the same thing – it’s your problem to solve. I’m not sure that’s being fully communicated. I think the psychological community performs three admirable services:

  1. They let you know you are not alone with your difficulty. Many others have it as well.
  2. They provide an unbiased ear. It’s not their issue, it’s yours.
  3. They have the benefit of their experience to offer solutions that have worked before.

The missing link is a workable plan. They don’t have one to offer you that you haven’t already thought of and failed with yourself.

The biggest roadblock I see to implementing a plan is the area of focus. Most professional advice gets you to focus on discovering your problem by exploring the past. That is helpful to a point but it mainly gets you stuck focusing on an area that is of little help. Quoting Eckhart Tolle from A New Earth:

“There is nothing wrong with psychoanalysis or finding out about your past as long as you don’t confuse knowing about yourself with knowing yourself.”

Therein lies the crux of the ongoing difficulty. The focus has been on you and your personality – the conditioned you. It’s a false front – an imaginary you. Imagine for a moment having therapy done on a hand puppet you are holding and then you can see clearly the limitations of traditional therapy. They’re working on the part of you that you made up and got comfortable with. No lasting solution will be found there.

Quoting the late, Dr. Dave Dobson: “We are our own best therapist.” He was addressing reaching a solution.

There are many qualified people to tell you what’s wrong with you, but only one is qualified to fix it – YOU!

The fixing solution is to get the mind noise of your problem to subside, so that the part of you that has the real solution can be heard.

Mind quieting has been solving problems since the days of the ancient sleep temples. The off ramp that we got onto somewhere along the way that suggests we will solve difficulties by adding more noise (talking about them ad nauseam) has a pathetic batting average.

Investigate a method of mind quieting that makes sense for you and practice it until it becomes second nature. This plan will deliver more solutions than a season’s worth of Dr. Phil.

All the best,


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