Psychologist Frank Lawlis, Adviser to Dr. Phil, Comes Under Fire for 'Predatory' Approach

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Dr. Phil McGraw, Dr. Frank Lawlis

Dr. Phil McGraw, Dr. Frank Lawlis

Dr. Frank Lawlis, a psychologist who mentored Dr. Phil McGraw and "screens" potential guests for The Dr. Phil Show, has come under fire for some allegedly dubious practices. In a new Hollywood Reporter profile, it's noted that Lawlis often appears as an expert on McGraw's program and involved in screening patients. 

The article hints at the convenient benefits Lawlis appears to receive from the show. For example, about 20 Dr. Phil guests enter Lawlis' Lawlis Peavey PsychoNeuroPlasticity Center in Lewisville, Texas, each season. Lawlis' former partner stated that "multiple show guests have confided that they initially contacted Dr. Phil with the specific intent to secure an expenses-covered visit to the Texas clinic."

UCLA surgeon Dr. Nina Shapiro said:

It's predatory on people who are desperate, on people who are seeking some sort of 'alternative.' If you're someone with charisma and a following, it's enticing to a captive audience. But it's sad.

Another facility at which Lawlis is a paid consultant is listed as being "Dr. Phil-preferred." This facility, called Creative Care, has been suspended after two patients died, and Lawlis and McGraw are no longer affiliated with it.

Tests at PNP include use of a medical instrument invented by Lawlis and his son, whose effect is dubious. In other cases, Texas has disciplined Lawlis and his partner for "allowing one of their staffers, who was not licensed, to provide psychological services under their watch for more than a year." Lawlis has also written extensively in support of the (proven!) false claims that MMR vaccines cause autism.