As one of the top-rated daytime TV hosts in the country, Dr. Phil McGraw has reached millions of people through his namesake talk show. He's had a ton of wild guests on Dr. Phil but many of his visitors are normal people with average problems.
However, if you dig a little beneath the surface, it's not hard to unearth some truly disturbing things about the doctor and his televised legacy. The revelations in the following stories question all the good deeds the show claims to have done. One even begins to doubt McGraw's credentials and efficacy as a clinician. Not only is there a possibility that going on Dr. Phil might not help you, it could actually leave you further damaged.
As lawsuits against McGraw become more and more prevalent, it's apparent that something is seriously amiss in the House of Phil. Admittedly, going on a television program to talk about your most intimate problems isn't going to be a cakewalk, but all signs suggest that the behind-the-scenes occurrences of Dr. Phil are more scandalous, more disturbed, and more dangerous than any guest that's ever been on the show's stage.
Dr. Phil gives the impression that he wants to help addicts achieve sobriety. Indeed, the frequency of addicted guests' appearances on his show illustrates either McGraw's interest in this field or his interest in the ratings that such stories provide. Whatever the reason, multiple guests claim they were given drugs and alcohol by Dr. Phil employees.
Todd Herzog, the winner of Survivor: China and a recovering alcoholic, says that he was given vodka and Xanax during the taping of his show segment. Another guest, Jordan Smith, struggled with heroin addiction but was allegedly taken to LA's skid row by show producers to find a fix. Smith was also pregnant at the time.
Leah Rothman was a longtime segment director for the Dr. Phil show, and in 2016, she filed a lawsuit against McGraw for false imprisonment and emotional distress. Allegedly, McGraw called employees to the office outside of normal working hours, locked about 300 of them in a guarded room, and yelled at them for leaking info to the press.
While the show vehemently denied the accusations, Rothman had compelling evidence - a brief video clip from the show's archives showing the behavior in question. There was just one problem. A judge refused to let the video be entered into evidence, citing a copyright issue as the cause of the ban. Phil McGraw won the case.
Dr. Phil gives advice and attempts to share insight on difficult situations. A lot of talk show hosts do the same things. But are McGraw's insights psychologically sound? According to some experts in the field, the answer is a resounding no. In fact, McGraw's guidance could be detrimental to the people he claims to help.
Dr. Laurie Essig cites McGraw's rigid worldviews and questionable parenting advice as evidence of his lack of skill. "Good thing we have Dr. Phil to keep us trapped in the way things are rather than help us imagine the way things could be," she writes. Dr. Essig also yearns for the day when "not very many people would feel desperate enough to get child rearing advice from TV personalities like Dr. Phil." Her comments were made in regard to a Dr. Phil excerpt when the host told a mom not to support her young son when he wanted to play with Barbies.
Dr. Phil treated Sara Morrison when he was still in private practice. He then hired her to work in his office (a highly unethical decision), and that's when the trouble began. In 2009, Morrison went public with allegations that McGraw sexually abused her during her employment. She said:
"Phil would pull me down to sit in his lap while he talked on the phone to patients, other doctors, even his wife. He’d be running his hand up and down the inside of my thigh all the way up to my panties."
Morrison reported the incident, and though the state found issue with the unethical hiring of a patient, they found no evidence of sexual assault.