Dr. Phil Responds To Critics Who Say His Show Exploits The Mentally Ill

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For many, Dr. Phil has become a staple of daytime television. The talk show, which was created by host Dr. Phil McGraw and Oprah Winfrey, was spun off as a result of McGraw’s many appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Debuting in September of 2002, Dr. Phil focuses on McGraw and his guests, whom he tries to guide and provide guidance, in an effort to help them overcome their problems. Throughout the show’s nearly 20-year run, McGraw has covered a wide range of topics, including financial planning, weight loss, autism, unhappy couples, rebellious kids and teenagers, and dysfunctional families.

Not unlike other daytime shows of a similar genre, Dr. Phil has been known to feature some questionable guests, and as a result, the show has come under fire. As reported by Buzzfeed News, both McGraw and the show have been criticized for exploiting those suffering from mental illnesses. Recently, Dr. Phil weighed in on the matter, saying that he has privately counseled a “staggering” number of celebs and public figures who have sought his help.

“I’m just out there every day putting it on the line, and people grade my paper every day and they take issue with it,” McGraw said. “So, fine. You know, it’s easy to do from the cheap seats.”

“So, you know, come down here and do better. If you don’t like what I’m doing, do better.”

While McGraw doesn’t do private, one-on-one therapy, he has provided an “emotional compass” to public figures who have reached out to him.

“I’m so glad when they do that because I’m happy to help. And, I always do it privately,” he said. “I never — you’ve never heard me say one word about one person that doesn’t come on the show.”

Over the past few years, McGraw has come under fire for interviewing a few celebrities, with some criticizing him for producing exploitive entertainment. In 2016, he interviewed actress Shelley Duvall, who is best known for her role as Wendy Torrance in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. During her appearance on Dr. Phil, Shelley alleged that Robin Williams — who had died two years prior — was, in fact, alive and that he was “shape-shifting.”

Late last year, as reported by The Inquisitr, former Disney Channel star Orlando Brown was featured on the show. During his interview with Dr. Phil, Brown had trouble remembering the ages of his children and indicated that he was, in fact, the son of the late Michael Jackson.