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Dr. Phil's 'First Wives Club'

Dr. Phil McGraw is famous for the no-nonsense advice he hands out daily on his hit talk show.

In the latest episode, "Road Show Challenge," he counsels couples on the brink of divorce. And in true "Dr. Phil" style, he tells a husband and wife that they need to make a change — now.

These are couples who have been married from 10 to 30 years, McGraw tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

"A husband walks in and says: 'I'm leaving you; found another woman; and, oh, by the way, I never really loved you anyway,' slams the door, walks out," McGraw says. "Most of these women have been stay-at-home moms, raised the children, not been in a workplace for 25 or 30 years, totally dedicated their lives to the marriage then — bang — shut down, they are devastated and what do they do now? Every woman's nightmare."

In his "First Wives Club — Part 1," McGraw and his wife, Robin, encourage the women to get even by regaining their confidence and moving on with their lives.

But it is not easy to climb out of such a situation.

"These are intelligent women," McGraw says. "But they are curled up in emotional fetal positions saying, 'I'm lost. I don't know what to do. I am not competitive in the workplace. I got left for a younger woman, which makes me feel old. I don't know about finances or how to start another relationship. How could I ever trust anybody again? I thought for 30 years this was great.' "

Unfortunately, these types of scenarios happen quite often. McGraw says that his wife has seen it happen to a lot of her friends and that is what inspired the series.

He advises some of these women to take off their wedding band.

"Some of them can't turn it loose," he says. "They are still waiting for him to give them permission to do something. They are financially dependent on him. We have one woman who says, 'I'm catholic so may have gotten a civil divorce, but in the eyes of the church, we can't be divorced.' So we involve the Catholic Church in it. We are doing what it takes. This is a multi-part series and there's shocking revelations."


And the counseling and response to it gets intense. One woman from the New York area is so afraid of her husband that she apologizes for everything.

"I wanted, psychologically, for her to stand up physically for herself, claim her power so emotionally she would come behind it. And I got more than I bargained for," he says. "When these women break out, it is absolutely unbelievable and inspirational. Women that have been kept down so long, when they finally stand up and say, 'William, I don't have to put up with this. I don't have to take this,' it's really a site to behold."

To those who think they have no problems in their marriages, the message he wants to communicate is "if you invest more in a relationship than you can afford to lose, if you have to stop being all of who you are, to be half of a couple, you are in peril.
"I want every woman in America that's watching to say: 'Wait a minute. If my husband walked out tomorrow where would I be? Have I lost myself? Do I know about finances? Do I have an emotional life independent of this person? Do I have the strength to stand on my own? If you don't, you are getting sucked in."

McGraw has plenty of advice to give. He also has a book coming out entitled, "Love Smart: Find the One You Want — Fix the One You Got."

"It comes out Dec. 6," he says. "It's about all these women who say, 'I don't have a husband, all my friends are getting married.' And what I'm saying is what you want is to get the fish in the boat. I will show you how to do that. It's different from any book I have ever written. We had a lot of fun. I think you will laugh a lot, but learn a lot."

The "Dr. Phil" show and CBSNews.com have the same parent company, Viacom, Inc.

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