Dr. Phil Isn't The Standard

I hate TV! It is filled with more nonsense than beneficial content. Television distracts instead of educate. My wife compelled me to watch one of her stay at home wife programs, Dr. Phil. The showed featured a young man by the name of Dominick, his mother and grandmother. The mother indicated that she didn’t know how to help her son stop smoking weed and ruining his life. You can see a clip of the show at the end of this thread. For the entire program visit the Dr. Phil's website.

Here are my takeaways:

  • I am not sure what waivers the guest signed but television therapy is full of shit!

  • When removing weeds from a garden bed, attack the root instead of the sprout

  • Since when do they use what a client says to threaten incrimination or coerce treatment??? That non-clinical tactic strengthened the stigma of why counseling isn’t safe for many in communities that need it the most. This show perpetuated the assumption that what you share with a mental health professional will turn around to bite you in the ass. THAT ISN’T HOW REAL MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT WORKS! Sure there are limits to confidentiality but what Dominick shared wasn’t in that ballpark. A true mental health professional would use your circumstance to create a metaphorical mirror in order to help you see if you are where you want to be in life. Are your actions working for you? Are you getting what you want? It is a gentle confrontation for the purposes of helping you realize the hypnotic trance of your emotional pain points and not to incriminate you. SMH!!!!!

  • Dominick was the one labelled as the problem. I disagree. The family system is the problem!

  • Using clinical research has its benefits but not as a multicultural approach with a young man like this. He has an 11th grade education and the expert psychiatrist called in with a great explanation about the research on marijuana but he loaded it with clinical jargon that would lose non-academia folks. That explanation was good for nothing in this case. Good Clinicians know how to convert the data into language that an elementary student can comprehend. The psychiatrist’s explanation reminded me of “experts” who string together a series of extended vocabulary terms that lose people instead of bring them in. The person listening to this shit is like, what the fuck did he say three sentences ago? Is longitudinal a word? Folks without an extended vocabulary just nod their head in agreement because it sounds like it made sense. This is how the word game is used to weaponize intellect and increase the power differential in a clinical relationship. This tactic can reinforce the status of the therapist being the expert. To each his own… but I empower my client to be the expert of their life. They make the executive decisions to get what they want. My goal is to help them realize whether it is working or not. All of these program experts with lofty titles but none of that shit helped the young man on the program. SMH!!!!

  • Then they brought in the young lady whose lung collapsed to scare tactic the kid who has probably seen and lived through hella worse tragedies than a collapsed lung from smoking vapes. As I knew he would, he discredited her plight with who she purchased her oils from. One thing about young dudes like Dominick is that they have a tendency to figure out how to break the law better. Ofcourse this doesn’t work, but it is their way of establishing power and control over their nightmare of an existence. In their fantasy, jail isn’t as bad as it truly is, until they experience it. The very thing that causes them to run to drugs (not having a sense of power and control) is what causes them to return to (a system where they don’t have power and control. Prison. It is a double negative where no power exists, only the allusion of power. If you don’t know how to manage your freedom correctly, then someone else will manage it for you. Again this is the manifestation of never having freedom in one’s childhood due to controlling parents, and then the child grows up to make poor decisions.

  • You cannot discredit what works for people who are suffering from pain. Their actions must be validated because it is their best attempt at solving their problems. The only person on that episode with some damn sense was the Director of the adolescent clinic in Florida where they wanted to send Dominick. He validated Dominick, which none of the others did. The reason Dr. Phil’s referral to that clinical treatment center may not have worked is because of how he and the mother went about setting Dominick up to “get help.” Collectively, they probably retriggered the lack of power and control that he had been deprived of in his youth. Hence, reinforcing the belief born out of that perceived trauma creates more harm than good.

  • Dominick is the classical black male misunderstood. It is clear he is not about the life he is choosing to live. Dominick is coping with the emotional pain he doesn’t know how to manage. Weed is the medication…He said he smokes to deal with anxiety…where did that anxiety come from? His choices are a rebellious act to the power structure that failed to meet him where he was at during his youth.


Kareem Puranda is a former cop turned Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist. He is based out of Charlotte NC. Please visit www.selftalkcounseling.com to learn more.