Abnormal Psychology: Mental Health and Mental Illness

Popular Psychology

Who is Dr. Phil?

Phillip McGraw (1950—) is a widely known television personality, best known as Dr. Phil. He received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of North Texas in 1979. Dr. Phil was licensed in Texas and opened a practice for a short while, but moved out of the business of psychotherapy into both popular and forensic psychology. In the mid-1990s, he met the famous talk show host Oprah Winfrey through his work in forensic psychology, a branch of psychology involved with the legal system. He was hired to help with her defense against a lawsuit by cattlemen who claimed she defamed the beef industry on one of her shows. Soon he was appearing regularly on her television show. In 2002 he started his own talk show, which was named Dr. Phil. While still living in Texas, Dr. Phil allowed his psychology license to lapse. When he moved to California to pursue his television career, he did not obtain a license in California as the state licensing board determined that his show was more entertainment than psychology and, therefore, his current practice did not require that he be licensed.


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