Talk show guest excoriated for classic ADHD traits
Dear ADHD friends,
Did anyone else wince when Dr. Phil humiliated a guest with what appears to be a debilitating case of undiagnosed ADHD?
Phil McGraw, who at one time was a practicing psychologist, has posted a written summary and video excerpts of the case of the “Mama’s Boy Moocher,” a 28-year-old man who lives with his parents and can’t be made to thrive on his own. You can find it here: http://drphil.com/shows/show/2065
Steven is chronically unemployed, stuck in neutral, deep in debt, trailed by patently foolish life decisions.
McGraw scolds Steven relentlessly, telling him he’s a dependent, lazy, unfocused, immature, obese, out-of-shape spendthrift with no foresight.
Likewise, McGraw lambastes the parents for crippling Steven by indulging his enduring wish to evade responsibility.
I, however, am struck by the intensity of Steven’s desire to become independent and competent. As you can see, he proves his motivation by subjecting himself to the full Dr. Phil treatment in exchange for practical help turning his life around. In addition to enduring a fusillade of McGraw’s exclamations of indignation and disgust, Steven faces the withering disdain of the financial drill sergeant McGraw has assigned to whip him into shape.
I predict McGraw’s approach will fail, as have all the extraordinary methods attempted by Steven’s loving but exasperated family. I think Steven’s genuine motivation will be undermined, as always, by his ignorance of his ADHD.
If you’re curious, I’ve posted a letter to Dr. Phil laying out my hypothesis: http://jamesononeal.com/?p=825
I’ve also posted a letter offering Steven a bit of empathy and support: http://jamesononeal.com/?p=845
If you’d like to augment my advice to McGraw, he welcomes feedback: http://drphil.com/plugger/respond/?plugID=9164
With respect and gratitude,
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