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Mental health advocates blast Dr. Phil

Posted - Oct. 1, 2004 at 5:20 p.m.



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NEW YORK, Oct 01, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.S. mental health advocates criticized Dr. Phil McGraw for telling parents on TV their son had nine characteristics of a serial killer.

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill officials suggested McGraw, a licensed psychologist, may be guilty of malpractice for his diagnosis of a 9-year-old who exhibited violent behavior shown in his Sept. 22 CBS primetime special, the Washington Post reported Friday.

McGraw told the boy's parents the family's dysfunctional behavior contributed to their son's actions rather than a mental health condition.

"Dr. Phil's conduct is serious enough to warrant investigation by a relevant board of licensure," the organization said.

Hundreds of families also contacted Families Together in New York State to complain about the TV program, with the organization issuing a news release to counter McGraw's advice.

"This child clearly needs a thorough evaluation by a trained children's mental health specialist. Never once did Dr. Phil suggest an evaluation or provide information about supports available to this family and child. Instead, he used this as an opportunity to blame and shame parents of a child in need of help," the release said.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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