On Monday, Sept. 13, Dr. Phil McGraw begins the third season of his hit talk show. In the past, he has helped viewers do everything from rescue relationships to lose weight. But you won't believe what he's planning to do this year.
"Our third season is the most exciting I've ever done," Dr. Phil tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. He is offering his guidance to the town of Elgin, Texas, just outside of Austin.
The reason this city was selected was not because it is "some bizarre city with a lot of problems," Dr. Phil says. "We chose this city because it has every challenge that we see in Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, Seattle, L.A., New York. And that is they're facing problems with their kids, drugs, alcohol, sex in the high schools. We're seeing racial tension in the community. We're seeing an economic divide. We're seeing domestic violence. We're seeing all of the issues."
So what can a psychologist do to make a town a better place to live?
"We get a really big couch and you put everybody on the couch, right? No," Dr. Phil answers in his unique style. "We're going to use this as a working example of what's going on in every community. We're going to impact all of the issues that you see in every town with working examples within the city."
An example, he says, is focusing on bullying problems within the school system. He explains, There is a lot of problems with bullying. I've done shows on bullying before. My son Jay has been involved with anti-bullying pledge along with my other son Jordan. You can talk to them on the show but you can't impact the school system. Here, we're working from inside the school system out. If you have children, whether they're young children, adolescents, teens, whatever, you're going to want to watch the working experiment of anywhere, USA."
Another issue he deals with often and he is exposing on a larger scale is domestic violence.
"This is about being real," Dr. Phil says. For his show's third season, he wanted to deal with what he calls "the silent epidemics; the things that don't get talked about and we're going to spend all year doing exactly that. This is a good example of people. You go down anywhere USA, any street in America, and every house looks fine, little picket fence, 2.2 kids, barking dog, green grass. Behind that door, there are a lot of things going on. I think emotional and mental abuse and physical abuse are drop-dead icebreakers."
And he confronts couples, both husband and wife. Asked how he manages to get them both to admit their problems on camera, he says, "I tell you why. He is a good man. I know that sounds strange; they had problems early in their marriage. Now, it's mental, emotional, more than anything else. But he knows it's not right. He is a good man. Oftentimes, you see couples that have come together in a painful way, but individually, they're good people. They just lost their way. I believe that people in America are trying to do a good job and he wants help and he is a good man with good values. He's just lost his way."
"Dr. Phil" is produced by Paramount Television, owned by Viacom, parent company of CBS.