Dr. Phil Charged With Practicing Without A License in Britney Spears Stunt

Much like our own embarrassment over faux television judges, it appears that psychologists are not happy with Dr. Phil’s conversion of their field into a form of entertainment. A complaint has been filed that Dr. Phillip C. McGraw’s (his real name) rush to interject himself into the Britney Spears controversy constitutes practicing without a license. It could present an interesting question for both medical and legal personalities on television.

The complaint against Dr. Phil was filed with the California Board of Psychology. It is a felony to practicing without a license in California. Dr. Phil previously gave up his license in 2006. Notably, when they go on his show, participants sign a contract that includes a provision that he is not medically treating them. Notably, when his show began in 2002, the Board investigated whether he was practicing without a license. In what would be an insult to most true doctors, the Board found that Dr. Phil was not in violation because he was acting as an entertainer, not as a psychiatrist.

The problem of Dr. Phil began when he showed up at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after Spears was involuntarily admitted. He was reportedly asked to visit her by her visit on a confidential basis. This visit is viewed in the complaint as practicing clinical psychology as well as violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Among other things, he is accused to shattering her professional confidentiality and relationship with her treating psychiatrist.

His greatest defense is found in Section 2903 of the California Business and Professions Code, which defines “The practice of psychology is defined as rendering or offering to render for a fee … any psychological service involving the application of psychological principles, methods and procedures … [such as] the methods and procedures of interviewing, counseling, psychotherapy, behavior modification and hypnosis.” He clearly was not acting for a fee. Yet, his best defense may be his old defense: he is really not engaging in real psychology.

Spears family was publicly outraged by Dr. Phil’s disclosure of the visit to the media and violating their trust. Of course, next time they may want to hire a real psychiatrist instead of trying to have their Pop star treated by a Pop psychologist. Notably, Dr. Phil’s controversial public discussion of his visit and dire predictions of Spears’ demise could be cited (and perhaps was intended) as evidence that he was acting as an entertainer rather than a clinical psychiatrist.

This is not the first time that Dr. Phil has been in trouble on ethics.McGraw gave up his license in Texas before he completed disciplined measure meted out by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists in 1989. He was accused by a former therapy client of having an improper relationship with her. McGraw gave her a job but denied improper physical contact. He was nevertheless found guilty of violating professional rules and officially reprimanded. He then closed his practice completing the specific punishments.

It is difficult to get the full story on this earlier allegation. The Texas Board record <<a href=”a refers to a “dual relationship/violation of code of ethics” for a Phillip C. McGraw. It states here that there was a charge of a “dual relationship/violation of code of ethics” for a Phillip C. McGraw. It states the punishment as “Supervised Practice (1 yr); 01/27/89, Violation of Code of Ethics Satisfactory Completion of Professional Ethics Course and Board’s, Board’s Jurisprudence Exam; Physical and Psychological Evaluations.”

The act of visiting a hospital is clearly different from the show itself since it was not filmed or done for public consumption. For McGraw, however, he might have to admit that he did not care a wink about Spears and was doing this (despite the understanding of the family) solely for ratings. Notably, unless there are criminal charges, it is unclear that the Board has any jurisdiction to punish McGraw even if he were found in violation.

Ironically, if he caused harm to Spears, he could be sued in tort. Under the common law standard, even if you are not a doctor, you are held to the same professional standard if you hold yourself out as a doctor. Obviously, McGraw is a trained but not licensed doctor. Once again, his saving grace is that Spears was already a car wreck and he merely came to gawk.

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25 thoughts on “Dr. Phil Charged With Practicing Without A License in Britney Spears Stunt

  1. The world has BIGGER problems and MORE to be concerned about besides wasting time trying to pick apart Dr. Phil’s motives and a television show… GET A LIFE, PEOPLE, OTHER THAN JUDGING SOMEBODY ELSE. Matthew 7:3-5 “Why do you look at the speck that is in you brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take that speck out of your own eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye”.. John 8:7 “When He straightened up, and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone.’ “.. I suggest that you ALL mind your own damn business and worry about how YOU, PERSONALLY, can help another person in WHATEVER WAY POSSIBLE and stop concerning yourselves with what another person’s actions are… Does anybody want to disagree with MY comment or try to argue about MY comment while insulting me and calling me degrading names (like “bible thumper” for instance)??? If so, game on because this aint my 1st rodeo… I live for this stuff.. Let the games begin🙂

    • It is obvious, yes, that enjoy such games. I must say, I have never read, heard or known a self-professed “bible thumper,” combine such a devotion along with a cursed and very angry tongue. Did you say the word, hypocrite? A tad ironic, don’t you think? To correct the situation, the original conversation began as a discussion as by a patient who had undergone pychiatric help. What was on the table in the conversation was not the man or TV show. The subject was that the medical boundaries of psychiatric matters, including safe and strategic treatment plans as according to the understanding of the brain and the VERY thin lines between various emotions, causatives, hormones, enzymes, actives and reactives; what causes the brain function and as to how it reactis to various stimuli, OBVIOUSLY DOES take a professional with upwards of 10 years of university, which encompasses first, general medicine, followed by a speciality in the brain and its working processes. That is then, followed by another 4 of internship, ending with work to prove capability and respectability when it comes to pschiatric matters. While some may find Phil entertaining; the fact is he is in fact hired as an ‘entertainer’, not as a man of psychiatric ability. All too often, the man DOES far overstep the barriers with what is really nothing more than HIS opinion and not professional consultation. We have to remember this. However, we never hear of what has transpired over time for any of these contestants. The fact is, REAL people with issues more serious than having a temper problem, do not go to Phil. They obviously, go to hospital or physicians. We are speaking of a TV show. Not life.

  2. Karen, I hate to bust your bubble but I was NOT the one who said the word, “Hypocrite” .. I actually quoted that word FROM THE HOLY BIBLE (hence my nickname “Bible Thumper”). So I guess that means JESUS IS THE ONE WHO THINKS YOU’RE BEING A “HYPOCRITE” & I was just agreeing with Him haha..In case anybody’s wondering, NO, I’ve never been a guest o the Dr Phil show. Nor have I ever been a member of his audience.. Although, I think he DOES help SOME people SOMEWAY.. I don’t think those people are NECESSARY wanting a PROFESSIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST TO PRESCRIBE THEM AFFECTIVE THERAPY… Have you ever thought that MAYBE THEY’RE ONLY LOOKING FOR A FRIEND (you do know what a FRIEND is, don’t you??? Nobody needs to graduate college or earn a degree to be FRIEND TO ANOTHER PERSON WHO IS HURTING & IN NEED OF EMOTIONAL SUPPORT).. Have you ever taken into consideration that THOSE PEOPLE NEED SOMEBODY TO TALK TO THAT WILL LISTEN TO WHAT THEIR FEELINGS ARE FROM THEIR POINT OF VIEW ABOUT WHATEVER IS TROUBLING THEM SO DR. PHILL WILL GIVE THEM ADVICE THAT’S BETTER THAN WHAT THEY’VE BEEN GETTING FROM THE OTHER SELFISH, ARROGANT, IGNORANT. OTHER PEOPLE THEY ASSOCIATE WITH. Some people just need a FRIEND TO LISTEN TO EM… None of the guests on Dr. Phil can claim, he’s committing a crime (except Britini Spears) because everybody needs to SIGN LEGAL DOCUMENTS that EXPLAIN SPECIFICALLY that dR. pHIL is NOT a licensed or practicing psychologist. They also take personal interview after interview KNOWING FULL WELL THAT THEY’RE GOING TO RECORDED TO SHOW ON NATIONAL TELEVISION. If that’s what the public wants to do, than more power to em. If Dr. Phil wants to televise when he tries to “help” somebody (EXCEPT for Britini Spears. Dr Phil crossed the line throwing that situation in the public’s eye), then more power to him..With all that being said. mothing & nobody is getting seriously injured or damaged in the process.. So what’s the big deal??? That’s all I wanna know🙂

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