Dr. Phil Biography
Phillip Calvin McGraw
(better known as Dr. Phil) was born September 1, 1950 in Vinita, Oklahoma.
His father was Joe McGraw, a North Texas oil field equipment supplier,
his mother was named Jerry. He has two older sisters, Deana and Donna,
and one younger, Brenda.
When Phil was a young age, his father decided he wanted to become a psychologist,
and they moved to Overland Park, Kansas. There, Phil attended Shawnee
Mission North High School. After graduating from high school in 1968,
he received a football scholarship to the University of Tulsa, where he
played middle linebacker. The next year, he transferred to Midwestern
State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.
He graduated in 1975
with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, and then earned his master's
degree in experimental psychology in 1976. Then, he earned a Ph.D in clinical
psychology in 1979 at the University of North Texas. His dissertation
was titled "Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Psychological Intervention."
After earning his Ph.D., Phil joined his father, Dr. Joe McGraw, in his
private psychology practice.
Phil and his father worked together for many years. In 1983, they joined
Thelma Box, a successful Texas businesswoman, in presenting "Pathways"
seminars, "an experience-based training which allows individuals
to achieve and create their own results." This partnership would
engender controversy in the future, as it is alleged Phil took Thelma
Boxs principals and claimed them as his own, and has never given
her credit for her contributions. He and his father also became estranged
as a result.
In 1989, Phil joined lawyer Gary Dobbs in co-founding Courtroom Sciences
Inc. (CSI), a trial consulting firm. It was through this firm that he
met Oprah Winfrey, which jumpstarted his career as Dr. Phil.
Phil appeared on Winfreys
show in 1998, and was so popular that he soon became a weekly guest, appearing
every Tuesday as a "Relationship and Life Strategy Expert.
The next year, he published his first best-selling book, Life Strategies,
some of which was taken from the "Pathways" seminar and Thelma
Box. Within the next four years he published three more books that became
In September 2002,
Phil launched his own syndicated daily television show, Dr. Phil, which
was produced by Winfrey's production company, Harpo Studios. The show
Dr. Phil is billed as an advice show each episode he addresses
a different topic and offers advice for his guests. However, the California
Board of Psychiatrists pointed out that his show was entertainment, rather
than psychiatry, and Phil concurs with this assessment.
Phil married his first wife, Debbie Higgins McCall, in 1970, when he was
20 years old. The marriage was annulled in 1973. Shortly afterward, Phil
married Robin Jo Jameson, 19-year old whom he would marry three years
later. They have two children, Jay (1979) and Jordan (1986).
In addition to his
other accomplishments, Phil is a private pilot, with an instrument rating,
flying single engine airplanes.
When describing his
advice style, Dr. Phil stated: "I'm not the Hush-Puppies, pipe and
'Let's talk about your mother' kind of psychologist. He dislikes
traditional one-on-one counseling, and has been criticized by other psychologists
for some of his methods.
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