Please see links below for the first 3 parts of this series by Aberjhani. You can start enjoying part 4 right now:
"You can't change what you don't acknowledge."
––Dr. Phillip C. McGraw (Life Strategies)
Some might consider it too far a stretch to compare differences between David Bedrick’s and Dr. Phil’s approaches to modern psychology to the differences that the acknowledged founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, and his one-time protégé Carl Jung encountered. After all, do people generally view Dr. Phil more as a psychologist or as a television personality? How relevant is such a distinction when it comes to those from whom individuals seek life-enhancing guidance in a modern world shaped nearly as much by the media––traditional, social, and otherwise–– as by governments?
In Dr. Phil’s case, it is totally relevant because his television show serves in part as a very effective advertising platform from which he promotes and sells millions of books, DVDs, and audio CDs. Therefore, many of his viewers do not just watch a broadcast of an hour’s entertainment and then dismiss its contents. They literally buy his advice––regarding relationships, body image, self-esteem, race, personal motivation, and other issues––in different formats and apply it to their lives.
They watch him as an actor in movies and as a guest on other TV shows. That makes him a beloved pop culture icon, as well as a doctor, whom many have come to innately trust when they hear him speak about, or see him respond to, a particular situation. That means he matters on levels of influence most people never attain.
If his folk brand of tough-love psychology has taken precedence over more in-depth strategies, it may be in part because viewing audiences preferred him in the role of a modern Father Knows Best type of consultant. And yet the fact that this allusion to the 1950s Father Knows Best television show zoomed just now like a meteor straight over most readers’ heads indicates a need for a more updated and substantive approach.
Democratic Vistas and Demographic Shifts
That same realization is one which entire groups of Republicans have conceded in the wake of their inability to reclaim the White House last year when economic and employment indicators all but guaranteed they would. What they now acknowledge is that they focused too little on these elements and placed too much faith in the misconception that President Barack Obama was the most hated man in America. Even more significantly, they ignored the social climate change that had taken place due to ongoing irreversible demographic shifts.
They fatally ignored such factors as: women’s increased political sophistication and empowerment; the more out-and-vocal presence of gays and those who support them; the developing political savvy of Latino voters; the powerful impact of social media on people’s sense of connectedness; and millions of progressive-thinking young adult Americans who look at the future with very different expectations from those expressed by the Republican Party in 2012. Instead of openly addressing the core issues directly affecting the reality of individuals’ changing everyday lives, they largely indulged themselves with authoritarian proclamations and guerrilla decontextualization maneuvers ––not wholly unlike the venerable Dr. Phil in some of his broadcasts––that fell short of providing lasting healing solutions.
A Psychology of Transformation
In light of the same changes stated above, it was only a matter of time before someone capable of “talking back” noticed that the beloved Dr. Phil’s famous catchphrase, "Get real," is no longer enough to deal with what it actually takes to do exactly that––to get real, as in healing sufficiently enough to live an authentic purpose-driven self-defined life with all the human ups and downs that entails.
The love-based psychology David Bedrick outlines in Talking Back to Dr. Phil might also be described a psychology of transition and transformation for its potential ability to help individuals, organizations, and even nations navigate the shifting terrain of our changing times. Still, it is fair enough to note that Dr. Phil has at least, like his initial benefactor Oprah Winfrey, encouraged through mainstream television dialogues that engage sensitive topics previously considered inappropriate for such media venues.
With that noble feat having been accomplished, however, it’s probably time to move more boldly out of the crumbling ideological dungeons of the past and onto newly-constructed pathways embedded in the present. Such pathways hopefully will lead toward a stronger and healthier future. It could be a really good thing if that future included some kind of mutually-empowering exchange between a noted representative of the old school and an increasingly influential advocate for the new.
co-author of Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance
and ELEMENTAL The Power of Illuminated Love
Exploring Worlds of Alternative Perspectives
- Counselor Calls for Major Change in Talking Back to Dr. Phil (Part 1)
- Counselor Calls for Major Change in Talking Back to Dr. Phil (Part 2)
- Counselor Calls for Major Change in Talking Back to Dr. Phil (part 3)
- Love-Based Psychology According to David Bedrick
- Follow David Bedrick on Twitter
- Arnold Mindell and Process Oriented Psychology
- Catching up with Our Humanity
- Sampler of Dubious Guerrilla Decontextualization Ethics
- Guerrilla Decontextualization and King of Pop Michael Jackson