Talking Back to Dr. Phil

Talking Back to Dr. Phil

Alternatives to Mainstream Psychology

Book - 2013
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A critique of mainstream psychology's ineffectiveness, neglect of the personal and social meaning behind people's suffering, lack of diversity-mindedness, and predisposition to shame rather than understand people. It takes Dr. Phil as a representative, a straw man, for this kind of thinking. Discussing sixteen specific episodes of the Dr. Phil show, the book provides alternative perspectives on such topics as lying, judging, labeling, dieting, anger, shame, addictions, relationships, domestic violence, race, and gender.--Publisher.
Publisher: Santa Fe, N.M. : Belly Song Press, c2013
ISBN: 9780985266707
Characteristics: xxvi, 204 p. ; 23 cm


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May 08, 2013

This book is difficult for me to review because I am trying to be open-minded to all approaches to psychology and counseling. I would also like to say that there are specific things about the author's love-based counseling approach and theory that I identify with and appreciate. The biggest piece is his view on diversity and over-diagnosis. Bedrick does a good job of explaining the logic behind how he and his colleagues view each person as unique and, therefore, our excursions away from the status quo as simply expressions of that individuality rather than indicative of some underlying pathology. Bedrick uses examples from the Dr. Phil show to illustrate this over-diagnosing and pathologizing procedure. However, the lack of an evidence-based approach makes some of his diagnoses and theories seem subjective and speculative. He uses his own experience with clients to explain his arguments, but doesn't include any qualitative study from other professionals in the counseling field. Though I agree with many of the techniques that he proposes to do different with the guests on the Dr. Phil show, it seems too easy for Bedrick to propose them hypothetically in a book and say that his interventions would be more effective.

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in counseling, but remember to take what the author says with a grain of salt. It seems like a good resource for people to better understand their own ideas, theories, and beliefs, but readers should think critically about Bedrick's theories and interventions and their practicality and efficacy. Remember that this is a collection of essays on one professional's theories and practices, not the definitive answer to all of society's psychological woes.


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