I have an admission to make.
I’m not proud of it, but I need to get it off my chest.
I can’t stop watching his show. I DVR the show every day, I go to his website every day… the man’s a fricking genius.
I acknowledge that his “on-air” solutions are somewhat unsatisfying, like “we’ll be getting you professional help,” but I also acknowledge that a nutcase is not going to be changed in a one hour show.
What I do like about… nay, admire, about Dr. Phil is that he doesn’t coddle. Phil has an uncanny ability to see right through people, to see through their lies… even lies they’ve convinced themselves are true. I know this is from years of training and experience, but I still have to say… he’s good.
I’ll generally “pick a side” when I watch, to compare my perceptive abilities to his. If I were to estimate, I’d say he has about a 95% success rate at figuring out which person is the problem. My success rate is something more like 50%, which could just be random chance.
As an amateur statistician, I know that things don’t randomly occur 95% of the time…
It’s fascinating to see what finally tips Phil off to the truth. Sometimes it’s the words themselves, sometimes it’s body language, sometimes it’s just looking at the person’s eyes and knowing they’re lying. Sometimes it’s something as simple as a hand gesture.
They did a 3 part episode about a 3 year old who was accusing her father of molesting her. They had video of the girl crying and accusing him, but the video also included what looked like “coaching” on the part of the mother and grandmother. I honestly didn’t know if he was guilty… it could have gone either way.
Phil sat him down one-on-one and asked him several questions. After one of the questions, which was fairly specific, the father imitated the hand gestures that Phil had made while asking the question… I assume subconsciously. Phil’s entire demeanor and body language changed INSTANTLY. One microsecond.
At that moment, Phil knew that the father WAS molesting his 3 year old. The entire tone changed after that, and the father ultimately failed a polygraph, and Phil reported him to child protective services.
I am really intrigued by “profiling” and psychology, and I envy people who can just know when someone’s lying. It’s a skill that would be infinitely useful in every day life.
However, I doubt I’ll ever be that good at it, so I guess I’ll always be “wowed” by Dr. Phil.
If you don’t watch his show, you should give it a chance.