CNN Europe CNN Asia
On CNN TV Transcripts Headline News CNN International About Preferences
powered by Yahoo!
Return to Transcripts main page


Interview With Dr. Phil

Aired September 25, 2002 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: Dr. Phil is back and self-pitying psychobabble doesn't stand a chance. Oprah's tough talking relationship guru now hosts his own runaway hit show. Get ready to get real because Dr. Phil is going to take calls. Dr. Phil McGraw for the hour, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
There's nobody quite like him. In a short period of time, all you need to know is his first name. He's Dr. Phil. He's the host of the new daytime talk show "Dr. Phil." The highest debut ratings since a lady named Oprah Winfrey started in 1986. That's 16 years, folks. The newest book -- his new one is "The Self Matters Companion." There you see its cover, done very well. You can take the flap off and you get his signature under that. It's a companion book to, of course, his runaway best seller "Self Matters." That's been on the "New York Times Best Seller List" for 40 weeks.

Why do we need a companion?

DR. PHIL MCGRAW, AUTHOR, "THE SELF MATTERS COMPANION": Well, because you -- this is a very thought-provoking book. I think I said when I wrote "Self Matters" that it was one of the most transformative experiences in my life because I sat down and did everything that I was prescribing.

KING: Yes, I remember.

P. MCGRAW: And it was amazing to me the things that I found. You know I talked to the 10 defining moments, the seven critical choices, the five pivotal people that define who you are. And the book has -- I think we've got well over two million copies out in hard back and all of the mail and all the e-mail, people have just been hungry for more penetration into what these different moments mean, what the choices mean and some of the internal dialogue in internal issues that had to do with what they do with them. So this puts those dots close together and walks them through another layer of work about it. And there's a lot of tests in there that give you some real insight to kind of who you are and how you got to be there.

KING: So this is a workbook?

P. MCGRAW: It is a workbook. It's a companion to the "Self Matters" piece.

KING: Who came up with the idea to take this little front tab off and you get your signature on the actual book?

P. MCGRAW: Well, I'll take credit for it since they're not there. But actually, no, that was a book designer with Simon & Schuster, my publisher, which I thought it was a really novel way to do the book.

KING: Great job!

P. MCGRAW: It's pretty cool.

KING: We'll talk about that more later. Now -- OK, let me -- let me give you the stats, folks. Since premiering nationwide, Dr. Phil has averaged about 3.7 million homes. The average person per home is about two to three people, maybe three plus. That's just slightly -- he's only behind one person, Oprah, with 3.9 million. His program is seen in 97 percent of the country. The only proviso is he cannot -- no station can run his show opposite Oprah. What's it like?

P. MCGRAW: Well, it's just been great.

KING: It's been three weeks now.

P. MCGRAW: Well, no, we've been on the air a week. This is our second week.

KING: But you started...

P. MCGRAW: We've been taping before that, of course. And, you know, when I learned about television -- because, you know, from -- you and I talking before and when we've not been on the show talking, I had never done television until I did the "Oprah Winfrey Show." And so, I mean how good would it be if somebody came to you and said, "OK, Larry, here's the deal. We're going to let you train to do television and we're going to pick, let's see, how about the most clarion voice in daytime talk" -- and I mean Oprah Winfrey is as good as it gets. Her ability to read the audience, her ability to know the concept of the show and everything, and she has just really devoted so much time and energy to preparing me to deal with this and be a good steward of the platform, which is so important.

KING: She owns the show?

P. MCGRAW: We -- she has been involved in the show from the beginning in concept, in design, even involved in how we put the set together and helped assemble the staff. And when we got ready to do this, we took our staff to Chicago and they shadowed all of the people at the "Oprah Winfrey Show" that had been working on the shows that I did for these four years. So I mean just -- you go to Oprah University and you come up with a great, great team.

KING: Oprah's -- most of the stations "Oprah" is on are ABC affiliates. I think that's true. You're on -- you an NBC O-and-O (ph) guy, right?

P. MCGRAW: No, not at all.

KING: But you're...

P. MCGRAW: I am syndicated. So I'm on NBC in some markets. I'm on CBS in some markets. I'm on ABC in others. Fewer ABC markets than NBC and CBS and then there are a few FOX stations plugged in there as well.

KING: And you do it at Paramount?

P. MCGRAW: We do it at Paramount, right here in L.A.

KING: Now...

P. MCGRAW: You told me this was the place to do it, right?

KING: Do you like living here?

P. MCGRAW: I do. I'll tell you what now, I told you I go by and look in your gate every once in a while and hope the dogs don't get on me there.

KING: They're not -- they're dogs. My wife is not too crazy about dogs. What -- now, I know I've seen clips of it and I'm going to watch the whole thing tomorrow. And I know I'm told it's like three 20-minute segments. You go to different topics and then, I heard I was on the show as the only guest. So I don't want to get personal with this, but what -- is that going to be all form for you? Is that...

P. MCGRAW: No, actually, the show that I'm doing with you is you're on the show for the whole guest. But I mean how do you cover 45 years in broadcasting in less than all of the time you can give. We could talk about you for a week. I want people to be...

KING: Are you going to do other profile-type shows?


KING: You want people to what?

P. MCGRAW: I want people to know the man behind the suspenders. So we're going to talk about all of the things that...

KING: Yes, but you're going to -- you're going to wrack me up too much.

P. MCGRAW: Well, I'm going to -- you just show up and lean forward.

KING: What's the biggest difference between being a host and a guest?

P. MCGRAW: Well, I think when I was on the Oprah platform, you know, everything is done for you. It's like sitting in a rocking chair. She sets everything up. She introduces the show. You've got everything done for you and then you deal with the content with the guest.

And also, Oprah has -- I am very direct. I don't think I'm harsh at all. Some people might say that I am, but I don't think I'm harsh at all. But I am very direct. And sometimes we deal with very weighty, important issues, and you got to -- you got to break the tension some. You can't work an audience really hard all the time. They've got to take a deep breath and laugh some and have a good time. And so, we work on that as well. And Oprah was so great at keeping that balance.

KING: Are you, as we talked a lot before you started, and one of the things no one ever knows until they do it is I know I'm a great guest. Am I a great host? Were you comfortable with it from the get- go?

P. MCGRAW: You know I really was. And I think maybe ignorance is bliss. You know nobody told me that it was supposed to be an anxiety-provoking thing. But -- because -- look, this show is about the content, you know. I don't think it's about me. I don't think it's about...

KING: You're the dynamic. You're the driver.

P. MCGRAW: Well, but it's about -- I mean people sure aren't tuning in to look at this head. I mean I've got to say something that's meaningful for people to stay tuned in and it's about the content. And I am so passionate about the content. I am so committed to delivering the information, the stimulation, getting people thinking, get them talking, getting them moving, get them into changing in their lives that I just get absorbed into that, and I forget that we're on television. And there -- Kim say, "Hey, did you know we're supposed to take some breaks? Did you know this and that?"

KING: But you also do news things. We're going to have Lisa French here tomorrow, the grandmother of those two King boys convicted of murder in an adult trial. You did a show on that, right?

P. MCGRAW: We have. And it was...


KING: ... the prosecutor at all and members of the jury.

P. MCGRAW: Right.

KING: So you're going to be timely, too.

P. MCGRAW: I think that's important. I want to deal with all of the things that I traditionally did on Oprah. I call those the traditional issues -- marriage, family, the challenges you face in life, managing yourself, health, things of that nature. But I think people are also interested in knowing about things that impact them and their lives.

They read in the headlines things that they see going on around them that they wonder, what's really going on here? What's behind the headline? What's behind the -- I mean like this prosecutor trying these young boys down there as adults. They're wondering what's the thinking behind that. So I bring the guy on and say, how did you make that decision? What was involved in that? I talked to the jury. How did you feel about -- what was your deliberation like? How did you feel about convicting these boys? You can't just let them walk and just say, "Kids will be kids." But on the other hand, there are some important issues there. So I'm going to can the hard questions and try to get some answers.

KING: And throughout this program, we'll be showing you clips of Dr. Phil in action, hosting his own show now been on only a week. It already is setting records. We'll be taking calls for Dr. Phil at the bottom of the hour and we'll be right back.

Don't go away.


P. MCGRAW: If you -- if you pull this up, OK, all right -- now it's even worse for you, right? OK. And so -- and it's not comfortable for you either.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why I always ask for an aisle seat...

P. MCGRAW: Yes, so you can get in...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... because that I way I can lean over. I mean you'll have to be courteous.

P. MCGRAW: Yes, you do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean size is size.

P. MCGRAW: OK. You're big. And how do you feel about the plight that Phillip's in right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel he has a point. They make airline seats too small.



KING: Dr. Phil, his new book, "Self Matters: The Self Matters Companion," helping you create your life from the inside out. It's a companion to the number one best seller. It is now available in stores everywhere. And of course, he hosts the "Dr. Phil Show," syndicated. You would have to check newspapers in your area for time and station. One thing though, if you see Oprah, he won't be on against her. It's a Harpo. It's involved in the productions and they ain't going to allow that.

P. MCGRAW: Well, I'm no dummy. I mean...

KING: Why go against her?

P. MCGRAW: I mean how would you like somebody who said, "OK, hey, were going to give you your own show. We've got a great time slot for you, right opposite Oprah Winfrey." No, I think not. I think not. KING: All right, there is the down side of celebrity. You have become a celebrity, and as they say, it goes with the territory. "The National Inquirer" is talking about a female patient and sexual abuse charges and that someone got a job that you had dismissed and didn't -- what -- I don't know -- I don't like this kind of stuff, so give me the whole answer, the particulars to having the personal life, true or false, displayed.

P. MCGRAW: Well, you -- first off, it's nothing that I didn't expect. I mean, you know, I certainly talked to Oprah about it. In fact, you and I talked about it before -- that as you become recognizable, as you have some celebrity, I have found out that I've got cousins I didn't know I had. I've got nephews I didn't know I had, people that want to borrow money and people that want you to do this and that for them. And you know, of course, when you have a rag medium where people will pay money for people to make up stories and all, they're going to crop up from time to time. I've -- you know, I answered those questions and allegations three or four years ago. They were absolutely, totally false then. They're absolutely totally false now.

KING: So there's nothing to do with other women or hiring and...

P. MCGRAW: No, absolutely not. Absolutely not.

KING: So where does it come from? These are out of the woodwork kind of things?

P. MCGRAW: Sure. You know I read one the other day that I had slid into the Peninsula Hotel...

KING: Here?

P. MCGRAW: Here in -- and I didn't know we had one here -- in my Rolls Royce and somebody cut me off and we got into a big fight in the lobby and they had to call security -- never been to the Peninsula Hotel, never even ridden in a Rolls Royce and certainly, wasn't there that night. You know, you just...

KING: But you know it's going to come and you're smart enough to know it, but how does it feel in the gut?

P. MCGRAW: Well, you know, I made a decision before I got into this. You know I think even before I got into television, when I decided to get into psychology, you're dealing with a population that is, by definition, under treatment. You're going to have people that don't think in a particularly rational way and you just expect that you're going to have that kind of controversy. But, you know, my pulse doesn't go up about it one bit because you know, I know who I am, and I think people that know me know who I am. So...

KING: Does Oprah help in that regard?

P. MCGRAW: Oh sure.

KING: She's maybe the tabloid queen. P. MCGRAW: Yes, I mean she's in there more than anybody and it's always something. And if it's not this, it'll be somebody else. I kind of figure this, if they're talking about me, they're giving somebody else a rest for a week. So I'm contributing to the cause.

KING: Do you think you've become a kind of a role model, is the term? We expect things of Dr. Phil, that we put a Caesar's wife thing around you.

P. MCGRAW: Well, I think people do expect you to be what they want for you to be. I think that when people tune in to "Dr. Phil," I think they expect that you're going to get straightforward information, it's going to be commonsensical, it's going to be usable, assessable. And I think they expect it's going to have a verb in it. I don't think people want to tune in and hear me talking about psychobabble and buzzwords and a lot of that sort of thing. I think they want some good, common sense, down to earth information.

Somebody was writing something the other day and said, "You know he just talks about common sense. You know, what's the big deal? He just talks about common sense." And I thought that's probably the greatest compliment I've had, that I'm talking about common sense. So I do think they expect that and I think I need give them that.

KING: How do you react to some critics who have said, "It's not a help program. It's show business." This is --I'm trying to get a quote here -- this is, in a sense, theater, is what you're doing.

P. MCGRAW: Well, now find a quote because we certainly wouldn't want to miss one of these.

KING: "New York Times" -- "His advice is common sense but his show is entertaining mainly because he acts as the audience's ID, uttering the tactless judgments most people keep to themselves. His style is to get the quick answers." You know, but I think basically, what the critics -- what some critics -- very few, because you've got a tremendous following -- have said is that it's more the moment. You know, you're very good. You're glib. You get right at the moment, but it's not helping people.

P. MCGRAW: Well, first off, I agree with part of it, and I disagree with part of it. The part of it I agree with is that there is some entertainment. There is some theater to it. Look, if you don't make it entertaining, if people don't find it interesting, if you don't have compelling stories, then they're not going to watch it. I mean if you just put on there we're going to have Psychology 304 today, just tune in, you're not going to get people doing it. So I...

KING: If I read the encyclopedia right now, people would learn from it, but they ain't going to watch.

P. MCGRAW: Yes, you're -- maybe my mom would because nobody else would be tuned it. So you do have to have that, but that doesn't mean that you don't treat people with dignity and respect. It doesn't mean that you aren't raising the awareness of people on certain core issues because I know this about people in America -- I know that most people in America won't go pick up a book on human functioning. I know most people in America won't ever be in therapy. I know most people in America don't have any idea where to turn to get information if they're being really angry and they're afraid they're going to do something with their children or if they are fighting in their marriage and the wheels are coming off. They don't always know where to turn and here is someone that's going to deliver it to their home so they can listen to it in the privacy of their own home and it's going to be direct and it's going to be straightforward. And that's worth doing.

KING: And can they use it? And they can use it.

P. MCGRAW: Oh, I think so.

KING: I can hear you say, "Don't do this and, therefore, I won't do it."

P. MCGRAW: It's all about choices. I don't think that we're doing eight-minute cures on television. And there are so many things that people don't know about what we do.

If -- by the time a guest -- if you were a guest on a show that was coming in with a particular challenge in your life, I'd probably have a 100-page notebook on you before you ever got there from the staff that's interviewed you, information that we've gathered, all of these collateral interviews that we've done. And I'm very selective about who gets on the show. No one that is currently in therapy gets on the show unless and until their therapist has given us their permission and blessing in writing before we ever book them on the show.

KING: Great idea!

P. MCGRAW: We don't let anyone come in that's on some major psychotropic medications for some type of psychotic disorder.

KING: Are you going to cancel me then?

P. MCGRAW: That's right. Nobody that is...


P. MCGRAW: Nobody that is -- nobody that's had a hospitalization for a mental or emotional disorder at any time on their life is ever permitted on the show.

KING: And is that told to the audience? I mean have you told the viewers?

P. MCGRAW: Sure, sure, sure. And so, we're very careful about those things. There are some things that just aren't appropriate for this kind of education. But for other kinds of problems, where you can raise their awareness, you can say, "Here are five points you need to consider." The real work starts after the show. You listen to what we're doing on the show. You write those five points down and then you decide what you're going to do with it. KING: Dr. Phil, one of my favorite people and his new show has gone through the roof. His new book is "The Self Matters Companion." We'll be taking calls in a little while. He's pretty good at that too. Don't go away.


P. MCGRAW: You talk about children being targeted, children at 5 years old. When you say she started eating this food, she was not the food buyer. She was not the money handler and the food buyer. That is you.


P. MCGRAW: Isn't that correct?




P. MCGRAW: ... scared me to death.

KING: Producers will do that.

P. MCGRAW: Yes, that's right.

KING: Let's watch this clip from "Dr. Phil."


P. MCGRAW: Oh God! Oh my God! How you doing, Camille (ph)? Yes, I'll get down here with you.


KING: Scary, isn't it?

P. MCGRAW: I'll tell you he really does look like me or I look like him. I'm sure he's older than I am. So I guess I look...

KING: Yes, that's probably it. Why do people go on television? By the way, is there a waiting list to get on your show?

P. MCGRAW: We've got a great audience response, so we're booking audiences in advance and...

KING: You tape about two, three weeks in advance?

P. MCGRAW: Sometimes. Sometimes, we turn them in real short time, particularly if it's a headline-type thing; we turn it in real short order.

KING: Why would people go on television to discuss they've had feelings of wanting to hit their kids or their husband cheats on them? Why do they go on television?

P. MCGRAW: Well, you know, I think there are a couple of things that motivate people to do that. And you know, one, there are people in this world that say, "I've got problems. I've got issues just like everybody else does. I'm -- and I'm not ashamed to say so. There's nothing wrong with me because I'm facing challenges." I mean we've got a 57.7 percent divorce rate in America, for God's sakes, so are we going to pretend that there aren't marital challenges out there?

Some people say, "I don't mind doing that." And if I like that particular brand of help and input, then I'll go and do that. And I think there are some people who, you know, they're exhibitionistic in their personality, you know. They just say, "Hey, I'd love to go be on TV. I'd like to be out there." And it gives them kind of some excitement or some thrill.

But, you know, the reason I admire the people who come on as much as I do, is because they are teaching tools. I mean you'll see somebody on there that says, "I do yell at my children and I don't know how to stop." Now, they had the courage to come and do that. There are -- there might be a million mothers. We have 74 million mothers in America and if you've got a million or two out there who say, "You know, I feel that frustration. I feel that tension. I just don't want to go on TV and talk about it, but I'm sure going to listen to what he says to her because I might be able to use that in my own life."

KING: A couple of items in the news that you might help us with. Can you explain pedophilia, which might be called the story of the summer?

P. MCGRAW: Well, there has been so much of that. And yes, I saw a statistic the other day that said it's really not any more than we've had in the past.

KING: Yes, we just -- more see it.

P. MCGRAW: It's just that we're now talking about it more and we're seeing it more. And I think that we've got children that are very vulnerable because think about what's changed in the recent times. There was a time when we lived in neighborhoods and people weren't as transient as they were, so you could know if somebody was around that shouldn't be there. You knew your neighbors. You knew their children and you knew if there was a stranger on your block. Now, we're so transient, we move around in our cars. We get on the freeway. We go to dance class over here. We go to school over there. And we're not as localized as we were. And so, it's easier for these people to penetrate the fiber of our society.

KING: But what about them? Who is a pedophiliac? Why is he -- why does he do this?

P. MCGRAW: Well, it is usually...

KING: It kind of boggles my mind. P. MCGRAW: You're right to say "he" because it is almost always a male and these are people that obviously are very disturbed. A high percentage of them were in fact abused as children themselves. That's not an excuse. That's just a fact. They were abused as children themselves and almost invariably, these people are so inferior in their self-image, they're so lacking in self-esteem and confidence that they are over -- they're so totally intimidated by a peer that they have to go to a child where they don't feel that they have to be competitive.

KING: It's not just sexual then?

P. MCGRAW: It's not just sexual. It's -- there are so many approaches to dealing with this now. None of which are very good. There are drugs that you can take, which lower the testosterone in males to the point where that sex drive is almost completely gone, if not gone. And you can do those implants that last for a year at a time, if these people are paroled or pardoned or whatever. But the truth is a lot of it's about power, a lot of it's about acceptance, a lot of it's about emotion. It has nothing to do with sexuality.

KING: How about those, the rare ones who kill?

P. MCGRAW: Well -- and that's a different thing. Most pedophiles are not in the least bit violent because they are so inferior and insecure. They would never do something that would draw attention. Yes, they do, they try to get acceptance. And -- but when you do see it, the pedophilia is generally secondary to rage, the anger and rage that causes people to be violent and aggressive against others or they panic. They get in a situation where they fear they're going to be found out and they do something really stupid. So -- but we have to take them all very, very seriously. And the failure rate for the treatment of these people is tremendously high.

KING: Do they have to be put away then?

P. MCGRAW: The chance that you're going to be able to put someone out there again, that's going to maintain their control across one year, two years, three years, is not zero, but is close to it.

KING: We're going to take a break. When we come back, we're going to go to your phone calls. "The Dr. Phil Show" airs everywhere daily. Check your newspaper for time and stations. And the new book, "The Self Matters Companion," published by Free Press, is available everywhere.

Tomorrow night on LARRY KING LIVE, Lisa French. She'll be here in the studio with us. We're flying her out here. The grandmother of the two King boys convicted of killing their father. We'll be right back.


KING: Let's go to your calls for Dr. Phil, the host of "Dr. Phil" on daytime TV, the author of "Self Matters Companion."

And we start with Northport, New York, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Dr. Phil. How are you?

P. MCGRAW: Hi, how are you?

CALLER: Very nervous...

P. MCGRAW: Oh, just take a deep breath, you're all right.

CALLER: Yes, OK. This is a very long story but I'm going to make it as short as...

KING: I can't -- we can't -- it's hard to handle long calls.

Go ahead.

CALLER: OK. How do I deal with getting a divorce, of wanting a divorce from my husband after 13 years of a lot of hurt and no happiness.

KING: You mean, how do you approach getting it?

CALLER: No, just how do I start it? How do I get out of it? Because he refuses to sign papers or anything.

KING: Oh, oh. You want it and he doesn't.

P. MCGRAW: Listen, if you have done what you feel like you need to do, and I'll just take this opportunity to get on my soap box about marriage and divorce real quickly. I think we pull the trigger on divorce in America way too quickly. I think if you're going to get a divorce, you've got to earn your way out, and that means you've got to do all the work. You have to turn over every stone, investigate every avenue of rehabilitation you can before you quit.

But if you are at that place, and I'm going to assume from your statement and question that you are, then you don't have to have his participation in that to do that. You - I'm not a lawyer so I'm not giving you legal advice. I assume you've got one. But you can get a divorce by default. And don't allow yourself to be held emotional hostage by someone that just says, Well, I'm just not going to give you what you want. The truth is that's not his option. He doesn't have the ability to control you in that way. So what you have to do, go to your lawyer and get a default divorce if that's what you have to do.

But make sure you're ready to do that before you do it. I'm saying that really more to the other viewers than I am to here because she seems to be -- she's have made her mind up.

KING: Cartersville, Georgia for Dr. Phil, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Dr. Phil. Hi, Larry. My question is, with the "Self Matters" book, the seven critical choices, I answered those, and my daughter committed suicide three years ago at 15. And all my answers seem to lead up to her suicide. How do I go past that? Now what?

P. MCGRAW: Well first off, let me tell you I'm so sorry that you've lost your daughter. And as hard as it is maybe to hear this, I'm going to tell you even at 15, to take her own life is a choice that she made. That's not one of the choices that you made.

You may have done some things that you feel like contributed to that, that you feel like set it up, that you would like to redo if you had the chance, and you don't. The most important choice you'll ever make is what you do now. The most important choice you'll ever make is how you accommodate to this at this point and I'll promise you the worst possible thing we can ever do, is have suffering with no meaning and no purpose.

And sometimes when it seems like there's nowhere to go, you have to create meaning. You have to create purpose. And you know some things now about what children suffer, what challenges they face, and you should do something with that. You should offer yourself up to counsel children, work at your church, volunteer in some different ways. The most critical choice you'll ever make is the one you make about what you're going to do with this. The past is over. The future hasn't happened yet. The only time is now.

KING: Doylestown, Ohio, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Hi, Larry. Hi, Dr. Phil. My question is, How can you cope with rejection that you've had all your life since you were little?

P. MCGRAW: Well you know, sometimes, and I assume that you're an adult now and are you married and have your own family?

CALLER: I've had two divorces.

P. MCGRAW: All right, well...

KING: Have you been rejected by a lot of people around you? Is that what you're saying?

CALLER: I was rejected by my biological parents. I was adopted. Their relatives didn't accept me back then.

I was -- they spoke over my head.

KING: You feel rejected? You've been rejected?

P. MCGRAW: And here's the thing. You know Larry, when I say that sometimes I deal with the harsh realities of some of these things is, you know, if you were here, I'd give you a hug and pat you on the back and tell you that you can't let that control you for the rest of your life.

But the truth is, that no matter what I say or what I do, you are going to have to sometimes give yourself what you wish you got from someone else. I would love for every parent in America to love their children, hug them, pick them up. And as we get to adults and we grew up without that, it's a big omission. That's a hard thing to deal with. And sometimes you just have to look yourself in the mirror and say, hey, they didn't accept me, but I do. I'm going to find those things that I love about myself. I'm going to find those things that I'm proud of, and I'm going to give those things a voice and pay attention to them. So sometimes you have to give yourself what you wish you had gotten from mom or dad.

KING: Honolulu, hello.

CALLER: Yes. Hi, Larry. Hi, Dr. Phil.


P. MCGRAW: Good afternoon. How are you doing?

KING: See what he's doing? He's doing his own show.

Go ahead.

CALLER: Good thanks for asking. Thanks for taking my call.

My nephew recently committed suicide and I'm more concerned about their family now. They've told people that he died of an aneurysm and haven't faced the truth that it was a suicide. They've told their daughter, as well, to tell people he died of an aneurysm, which I disagreed with and have told her to tell the truth, that keeping family secrets won't help the healing process.

P. MCGRAW: And what's your relation to the family?

CALLER: I'm not that close to my brother.

KING: His nephew is the one. His brother's son.

CALLER: Right.

P. MCGRAW: Yes. You know, I think what -- I think what you can do in a situation like this is you can go to your brother. You can go to your sister-in-law and you can tell them what you think and what you feel and then from that point forward, you need to leave it up to them.

KING: By the way, is it a good idea, if someone dies of suicide to say that?

P. MCGRAW: Well, you know, I think every situation is different. I think it's a case-by-case basis. But I do believe this: you have to make your thoughts and your opinions known. But then you need to step out of it. It's not your child. You've not walked in those shoes. You've not been there. And I think you can say what you think, but then you need to respect their decisions and let them do what they feel is right.

KING: We'll be back with more of Dr. Phil. The book is "The Self Matters Companion." The show is everywhere. Don't go away.



ROBIN MCGRAW, WIFE OF DR. PHIL: What's it like to live with Dr. Phil? I will say as a husband, sweetest man in the world. Absolutely a precious man. Very good.

I feel very safe. He would never allow anyone to mess with me or the boys. I feel very safe, very protected.

Up here, I think he's brilliant. I do. I have known this man -- I've known this man for 30 years and I still am amazed at what he does up here.


KING: What doesn't she like?

P. MCGRAW: You cut it off just at the right place because she said, At home he hasn't got a clue. What's going on? It's like, hello!

Did you just get her? Thank you. See is -- she is gorgeous, isn't she?

KING: Oh, beautiful.

Kearny, New Jersey -- hello.

CALLER: Hi -- hi, Dr. Phil. Hi, Larry.


P. MCGRAW: How you doing?

CALLER: Good. How are you?

I have a question for you. Well, really it's advice that I'm looking for. I didn't find out who my biological father was until I was 25. I left it alone after a couple of years after I had children. I decided I wanted to contact him.

Unfortunately I didn't have the happy ending you usually see on "Oprah." He sent my letter and my picture of me and my children back to me and asked not to be harassed.

This has left me kind of at a dead end on what I should do next. I do just leave this alone? Do I try and pursue it? What kind of answers do I give my children? Another problem with this is my birth certificate says "Father unknown."

And I was angry when he sent the picture and letter back to me. And I was going to take legal action and take him to court for a paternity test just to change my birth certificate -- just so I had the satisfaction and my children had the satisfaction. But unfortunately in New Jersey the statute of limitations in New Jersey is 23.

P. MCGRAW: So tell me what you question is.

KING: What's your question?

CALLER: What should I do now? Should I leave this alone?

KING: Should she just forget about it?

CALLER: Should I forget about it?

P. MCGRAW: Well, listen. I...

KING: What's the best advice?

P. MCGRAW: I think what you have to do in that situation is give -- you've opened the door. You have said, Here I am. This is who I am, where I am. This is my life situation. And invited him into it.

You know, you can't force that. If you have anger -- you have a problem with it that you want accountability from him, then you obviously have legal remedies available to you.

But, look, here's the thing. You have to do what I call the "minimal effective response." What's that least thing you can do that will give you closure that you have stood up for yourself that you've done what you need to do. And if that's take him to court then you take him to court. Other than just that legal remedy you let him know where you are, you've asked for what you want, you've prepared your heart and opened it. The ball's in his court at this point.

KING: Orlando, Florida -- hello.

CALLER: Hello, gentlemen, how are you this evening?

KING: Fine.

P. MCGRAW: Good.

CALLER: I want to know how to treat an older daughter who graduated magna cum laude from college, but she admitted from the age 20 she started taking drugs recreationally, and now it's gotten to be a problem to the point where her personality has changed.

And, I just don't know -- should I listen to her lies and denial when she calls me on the phone or should I confront her? She's sleeping around with different people. Do I provide a home for her?

P. MCGRAW: This is your daughter?

CALLER: This is is my oldest daughter out of four. I was a single mother for many years.

P. MCGRAW: And she's how old?

CALLER: She's 25 years old.

P. MCGRAW: Well, let me tell you. I think that -- first off she's 25. And that means that she's an adult and she can do what she wants to do in terms of her legal rights and that sort of thing.

But I can tell you that I have a serious commitment that parents need to do whatever they can to protect children, sometimes from themselves. So should you live in denial and pretend that you don't know what's going on? Absolutely unequivocally not. I think you need to step up. You need to say I know what's happening here and I'm unwilling to stand by idly and watch you destroy your life.

And when you do that -- before you do it, have a plan in place. Go talk to a drug rehab center. Go talk to your pastoral counseling center. Go somewhere if she is receptive to it -- and she may be. Probably not, but she may be -- that you may have a plan in place.

It's not just a matter of telling her, Gee, I know. It's saying, Here's what I recommend you do to save and protect your life.

But, no, I wouldn't sit idly by and pretend it's not happening.

KING: Twinsburg, Ohio -- hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: How you doing, Larry and Dr. Phil?

KING: Fine.

CALLER: Hey, my question is, I'm 45 years old and I drive a tractor trailer for a living and I've been told that I'm too tall and too big and I'm a little bit too nervous to drive these things.

Now I'm kind of planning on thinking about, you know, getting thin and hauling expedited freight. Well, my problem is I'm scared, I'm afraid and I have no confidence in myself. But my wife believes in me, and every time I go to do something, my mom and dad wants to put me down saying that I can't do this.

P. MCGRAW: Well, listen. I -- first off, I'm sorry you are getting that input and feedback. But you know, there's something that I call a "litmus logic test." And it's very simple.

When you don't respond to what happens in the world, you don't respond to what people say to you. What you do is respond to what you say to yourself about what they say to you. It's all about you, it's not about them.

And I would really ask you to start asking yourself, is this true? Is this accurate? Is there a basis for this? Or is this just somebody's opinion? If you are going to trust somebody, trust yourself, not somebody that doesn't seem to have your best interest at heart.

KING: Dr. Phil McGraw is our guest. Do you ever use McGraw anymore?

P. MCGRAW: Well, you know, I bet you not very many people know my last name.

KING: You're Vegas. Phil.

P. MCGRAW: Yeah, right. I'm a Vegas kind of guy.

KING: You're a Vegas kind of guy. Dr. Phil McGraw, the new daytime talk show "Dr. Phil." The highest debut ratings since "Oprah" in 1986. The newest book, "The Self Matters Companion," the follow- up to "Self Matters" -- which was on the New York times best-seller list for only 40 weeks. We'll be back with more moments with Dr. Phil. We bumped in with his wife, we'll bump out with his wife.


R. MCGRAW: When he comes home and he comes through that door, he walks in, he's helpless. He is totally helpless.

P. MCGRAW: Helpless?

R. MCGRAW: Totally helpless. It's like, Where do we keep the ice? Where are my socks? Where do we keep my socks?

It's like, OK. Again, the ice is in the freezer, your socks are in your sock drawer. But then again I don't want him going to the sock drawer because you don't want him dressing himself.




JAY MCGRAW: What is it about your dad that hurts? I mean, why is that the thing in your life that hurts you the most?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think because every teenager should grow up with both of their parents. That's how I feel. And I feel that he's the only parent that I haven't had to grow up with, and that's why it hurts the most, is because I feel that I don't have a father.


KING: That's Phil's son. He was on this program; a terrific guest.

You use him on your show, too?

P. MCGRAW: I do. One of the things I believe is that we're in the biggest teen crisis in the history of this country. You know, we were seeing a lot of things really ramping up before 9/11, and then there was such a dramatic series of events there that I think it kind of got pushed out of our consciousness and our thinking.

But you think back to Columbine and Jonesboro, all of the different things that were going on. We're seeing alcohol and drugs, teen suicide, all these things spin out of control.

One of the things I wanted to do was to have a young voice on this show, and so Jay's kind of working as a field correspondent. He's in law school at SMU.

KING: I know.

P. MCGRAW: Best law school in the country. You know, he's really proud of his law school.

But we use him on the show to talk to young people, because they see me as like, I'm talking to the principal at school. You're not going to tell me anything.

But Jay can get in their world and deal with them and talk to them. And yes, he's a great kid.

KING: To Greensboro, North Carolina, hello.

Greensboro, turn your television down. Go ahead.

CALLER: Oh, hi.


CALLER: I have a question. I'm 24, and I have been having problems with my weight. I've exercised, I've done everything that I'm supposed to have done, and I'm still having problems with getting it down. And just recently I've been having problems with my chest, like when I'm pick up things, I'm waking up in the morning.

And I just want to know if there was a way I could start off -- some kind of guideline I need to go and start off on a diet or -- I've tried everything.

P. MCGRAW: Tell me how much you weigh.

CALLER: I am 312. I'm 24 and I'm 5'8".

P. MCGRAW: I'll tell you first off, you don't want to do anything without a physician's supervision and instruction.

If you're 5'8" and 312 pounds, then the obesity is a level that your secondary health concerns are much greater than just the simple obesity and how you think you look, and that sort of thing. You are much more at risk for heart attack and hypertension and diabetes and any number of things.

So you don't want to do anything without talking to your physician.

So my suggestion to you is that you're absolutely right to make this a priority. You're absolutely right to ask the question and want to do something with it.

But you need to go get a doctor to look at you, find out where you are on all those issues and then get on a responsible program.

KING: Long Island, New York, hello.

CALLER: Hi Larry. Hi, Dr. Phil.



CALLER: Hi. I'm in a great relationship with my soul mate, but one thing that bothers me a bit is that he likes me to be really rough with him sexually, and that's a bit difficult for me. What should I do?

P. MCGRAW: Are you married?

CALLER: No, it's my boyfriend.

P. MCGRAW: OK. And I ask that to find out what level of commitment and how long you guys may have been together.

But listen, relationships are negotiated. They're negotiated at the sexual level; they're negotiated at the division of labor level; they're negotiated on every front.

And this is just something that you guys need to talk about and negotiate. I always encourage people to make sure that they're not in a relationship that's costing them more than they can afford to lose.

So as you get into this, you've got to ask yourself: Am I comfortable with this, or am I not? And if you're not, then you need to draw a line in the sand and say, I'm not going there.

But negotiate your relationship. Don't just accept something you're not comfortable with.

KING: We've only got a minute-and-a-half left, so I won't get to any other calls. But next time we have Dr. Phil on we'll to a lot more calls. We hope to make him a regular, since he's not on "Oprah" anymore.

You don't do "Oprah" anymore, right, Tuesdays.

P. MCGRAW: No, I'm not able to do that, which was...

KING: We ought to have Thursdays with Lar. Or once a month, come by and help people.

P. MCGRAW: Let me tell you, I'm doing 175 shows a day -- a year, so that's a pretty full-time gig.

How many shows do you do?

KING: I do five live and two taped, either pre-taped or new tape -- about six shows a week.

P. MCGRAW: Yes, six shows a week. And so you're doing, what, a couple hundred shows a year.

KING: Oh, yes.

P. MCGRAW: And then you said this is easy, right?

KING: It is.


KING: No, easiest part of my day is doing this show because I control it.

P. MCGRAW: Yes, and you're good at it.

KING: Yes, but I -- well, thank you. But I wish -- I can't control the traffic.

P. MCGRAW: And you can show up on time and you can do everything exactly the way you'd like it.

You talk about people not knowing my name, I thought you were Larry Live for about 10 years. Who knows?

KING: Anyway, I'm going to be on your show. We're taping next week.

P. MCGRAW: We're taping next week and we're going to air it soon, and we're going to find out who's behind those suspenders. And I got the suspenders you sent me signed, by the way, and they're hanging in my office.

KING: I know you can't answer it in 30 seconds: Is Iraq resolvable?

What a way to get out of this.

P. MCGRAW: You know, I couldn't answer that if I had 30 days, for two reasons: It's highly complex, and I'm not even remotely qualified. So I'm going to leave that to the people who are.

KING: It is a negotiation.

P. MCGRAW: It is a negotiation, and it boils down to people.


KING: People make nations.

P. MCGRAW: That's right, it's people.

KING: Dr. Phil. He's on daily, on television. His new book is "The Self Matters Companion." he's one of the good folk.

We'll come back in a moment, tell you about tomorrow night.

Don't go away.


KING: Hope you enjoyed Dr. Phil. He's some kind of guy.

Tomorrow night, Lisa French. She's the grandmother of the King boys, the two boys convicted of killing their father down in Florida, tried as adults.

Lisa French tomorrow night.


© 2004 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.