More on the Dr. Phil Show Little Boy Lost – Sparks fly among guests

This clip features some give and take between panelists on the Dr. Phil Show episode on gender identity issues. In this segment, Dr. Siegel defends moms by saying there is no evidence that being too close to a boy will make him want to be a girl. Dr. Nicolosi says Siegel is oversimplifying his reparative theory. What do you think?

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  • Pathia

    I will be honest Warren, I struggle to watch these clips. I honestly cannot make it through these, it doesn’t feel all that healthy for my mind. Nicolosi is such a traumatizing figure in my personal life, I don’t know if I could ever objectively discuss video with him in it, I literally have flashes of memories and mental shivers and snaps over my entire body.

  • I felt sad watching this clip. This conversation could have turned out so much differently. I was surprised at how very defensive Nicolosi was right from the start. He is too emotionally wrapped up in his work to be able to discuss it objectively and non-defensively.

    The mother started out trying to express her concern that the show was different than she thought it was going to be. And immediately, Nicolosi went on the attack. I did not sense any love or respect coming from him toward this woman. It was a bit appalling that he called her over-emotional. As if he wasn’t, quite obviously emotional himself. And he got upset with her sarcasm when he had just made a sarcastic statement toward her himself.

    Stanton tried to come across empathetic at first–nodding his head, but he picked up on Nicolosi’s energy and it all went downhill.

    The conversation could have been much better if Nicolosi and Stanton had started out by sincerely expressing empathy for how uncomfortable this situation must be having to confront, unexpectedly the different show set-up. And that they were empathetic toward the considerable difficulties and hard decisions she had to make etc. Also, if they were not so dogmatic in blaming the mother. No wonder the woman was upset. These guys were just going to accuse of what a screw up mother she was. I am sure she has experienced enough self-blame and condemnation from others over the years.

    This clip really, really troubles me.

  • @Pathia: Sorry Pathia – I understand. No need to watch. I think Karen K said it all pretty well.

  • Mary

    Can’t watch. Everyone is too involved.

  • S G Stern

    I hope many people watch this part of the Dr. Phil Show. Nicolosi is so self-centered that he is more concerned about getting his pet theory on the air than the pain this mother experiences.

    Maybe there is a reason Nicolosi talks so much about narcissism…

  • Evan

    This:

    Nicolosi: Do you want to listen to what we have to say? (pls)

    -and this:

    Nicolosi: You seem over-involved now……

    Her (defensive on the offensive): I have no choice!

    None of them answered Nicolosi’s question: Where is the father?

  • @Evan:

    She said that her husband was involved with the boy, moreso than her. However, what are you getting at, Evan?

  • Evan

    Warren

    Those two moments revealed a bit both Nicolosi and her. They’re really like playing cat and mouse, or dog and cat… I’m not sure which one.

    She said that her husband was involved with the boy, moreso than her.

    She didn’t say where his father is either. Wait, she calls it “her father.”

    Why does she stand up for her boy>girl, but not his father? I’m not saying “she’s lying”, however she doesn’t come across as convincing as she could.

  • David Blakeslee

    Several Problems:

    1. The mother is angry about the structure of the show…and displaces this onto Nicolosi…the structure of the show is determined by Phil. Did Phil deceive her?

    2. According to the theory, it is not an overinvolved mother, it is an engulfing mother and abandoning father. The UCLA psychologist translates that into “loving” and “attunement.”

    3. Nicolosi could be cooler; but his ultimate argument, that his treatment is helpful to some, is a reasonable assertion; given that the alternative, affirmation of a divergent sexual identity, is claimed by some to be helpful.

  • David Blakeslee

    Warren…you have frozen the video on a less than flattering pose of Nicolosi.

  • minty

    ^ That’s not hard to do.

    He ignores the mother’s experiences, ignores the story she’s relating. Instead he obsesses about the relationship with the father. But the mother hasn’t presented any evidence that there have been problems with the father-child relationship.

    Dr. Nicolosi: “How did dad deal with the boys wanting to be female?”

    Mother: …”He dealt with it like I did”

    Dr. Nicolosi, unphased: “This is different from what we would do at our clinic. We would involve the father more…”

    He completely IGNORED what the mother was saying. A rational, unbiased person does not go from “He dealt with it like I did”, to “This is different from what we would do at our clinic.”

    Now I need to take a chill-pill (lol). I find Dr. Nicolosi to be supremely irritating.

  • minty

    That being said… on this subject he could be more right than wrong. From the Atlantic Monthly article “A Boy’s Life”:

    A 2008 study of 25 girls who had been seen in Zucker’s clinic showed positive results; 22 were no longer gender-dysphoric, meaning they were comfortable living as girls. But that doesn’t mean they were happy. I spoke to the mother of one Zucker patient in her late 20s, who said her daughter was repulsed by the thought of a sex change but was still suffering—she’d become an alcoholic, and was cutting herself. “I’d be surprised if she outlived me,” her mother said.

  • minty

    Sorry for the comment spam…

    I think Dr. Nicolosi is wrong on causation, wrong on treatment, but right on gender-malleability for some.

  • Evan

    If the boy bonded more with the father, as she says, why does she do the talking? It doesn’t cost much to ask him a few questions. Dr Phil keeps saying “both sides”, but there’s only one side of the family on the show. I’d call this show “Nicolosi’s trial.”

    • Evan – I think you are watching a different clip than me. I had more the reaction that Karen K had above.

  • Evan

    minty—

    Read the whole context: “How did he deal with it… the father?” “He dealt with it like I did…. The child was adamant that this is what he wanted…”

    She’s cute for trying to blame it on the kid.

  • Evan

    The underline tags don’t work anymore. Here’s the exchange again, in bold:

    How did he deal with it… the father?” “He dealt with it like I did…. The child was adamant that this is what he wanted…”

  • David Blakeslee

    These shows are odd…in every way.

    Plenty of research to show a variety of negative outcomes from single parent families…start there.

    Plenty of research to show biological origins…start there.

    Then introduce viewpoints…

    No, it is much easier to throw five people in front of 150 with a moderator and roll the cameras.

    Why not invite the father or was it the former step-father?

    I like Nicolosi’s recommendation that the father play Barbie’s with the boy…a wonderful paradoxical intervention (with mixed results, no doubt)….did he get applause?

  • @David Blakeslee: Actually, Youtube does that, not the person uploading the video.

  • Evan

    Warren

    Both clips are from the same show. In my reply to minty I referred to the same clip minty quoted from (the one from the first topic on Dr Phil’s show).

  • concerned

    “He dealt with it the way I did”

    Like he would have had any choice to do it differently based on the attitude this woman shows us on this program. You can tell who wore the pants in this family.

  • Evan

    I’m just the child’s advocate, that’s all…

  • Drowssap

    I still don’t like that mom but I guess I should cut her some slack since she is on national TV and under duress.

    Nicolosi’s theory runs directly against natural selection. Moms have been close to their children for as long as their have been moms. If this type of common behavior was a significant problem humans would have evolved defense genes to protect us from the damage that it caused. OSA and correct gender identification are needed for basic survival. Natural selection isn’t going to let normal experiences mess with those. It would have to be something out of the ordinary.

  • minty

    I’d call this show “Nicolosi’s trial.”

    And I would call it “Nicolosi puts the mother on trial”. The show becomes about judging her. Perhaps she was cold and aloof, or was she too smothering? The father was distant, wasn’t he? That must be it. The father, the father, tell us about the father!

    First impressions can be deceiving, but this mother seems pretty great, imo.

    If her parental techniques led to transsexualism, I’ll eat my hat. The only thing she’s liable to cause in her children are straight-A’s and a penchant for WASPy turtlenecks later in life.

  • This was very upsetting. Over on another thread, posters are discussing the state of the world’s economy and ruminating on vile commercialism and right here on Dr. Phil’s show that’s what we have– vile commercialism. The good doctor is selling human suffering and putting everyone in a boxing ring while millions, including us, pay to watch. Everyone comes out bloodied, including the viewer because we don’t learn anything.

    Some thoughts:

    Dr. Phil–the guiltiest of all. Seems that his people didn’t tell Toni exactly how her appearance would be structured if we can believe her. If they were dishonest with her, I assume they were also dishonest with Nicolosi and Stanton.

    If she was not truthful when she said she didn’t know this is how the show would be set up, then Phil and his people are off the hook for that, but not for the obvious confrontational set up. Had Phil not wanted conflict, the guests would not have been placed on stage together, and they wouldn’t have been physically seated as they were–on opposite sides with Phil in between. Phil got what he wanted and what I assume many viewers enjoy–confrontation. He could have guided the discussion so that it would have been more civil; he took sides, but what the hey–he’s an entertainer, a denizen of Hollywood and keeping up those ratings to support his lifestyle is what it’s about.

    I think I said before that this show is nothing more than a spruced-up Jerry Springer. I still believe that. It’s Jerry Springer for the middle class.

    Toni–I like her even less after watching this clip than I did after watching the first clip. This is what she said: “This isn’t what I wanted to do…I thought I was coming here to discuss how my life fell apart after allowing my child to do something so that he wouldn’t hurt himself.”

    My observation after watching the first clip was that this is a very self-centered woman. I said then it was all about her, not about her child, and this comment seems to reveal that sentiment again. She wanted to talk about herself: “how my life fell apart…” It’s all about her.

    Then this comment: “As a matter of fact, I wasn’t attached to him at all!” This is the same thing she said in the first clip. She emphasizes it this time too. She never says, “I was as close to my son as any mother would be”. So…sounds to me like she wasn’t close to her son. I can’t imagine a mother saying this if it weren’t true. She says it in both clips; she stresses it each time.

    Her manner, body language, her sarcasm–all of it– is off-putting, but if she felt ambushed, or if she was ambushed I can understand her manner. However, I cannot understand a mother saying what she said about not being close to her child.

    So, she wasn’t close to her son and she came on Phil’s show to talk about herself. Just great. Some mother.

    It is also clear that she knew that Nicolosi and Stanton had certain positions for she says that she “saw them on the last show.” I’ve no idea which show that is. Knowing that might help us understand why she agreed to come on in the first place, but even knowing that doesn’t obliterate her comment that she agreed to come on the show to discuss how her “life fell apart.”

    Nicolosi–looks as if he must struggles to contain himself, as if he is struggling to be “reasonable, ” to modulate his voice and tone down the gestures; made some good points about how he wasn’t being allowed to give “their side” of things. Not having seem the whole clip, it’s hard to know what happened before this, but Nicolosi is hardly a calming influence or a benevolent appearing partisan for his position. One can see he moves easily to sarcasm–not a good thing for anyone, much less a therapist. Had I never heard of him nor seen him, I am sure I’d not have thought much of him–too defensive as if his position on this subject defines who he is rather than what he thinks.

    Stanton–didn’t see or hear enough of him to come away with much. I didn’t like his nodding of his head as Toni spoke. It seemed as if he were acting rather than really listening to her.

    The “parenting expert”–acted like Burgess Meredith in Rocky only I loved Burgess Meredith and really didn’t like this guy at all. Swollen head–“the expert.”

    The studio audience–I would have preferred that they didn’t clap at all.

    Us? –I’d like to think we watched for the right reasons, to learn something, but I think we suspected we wouldn’t. Forgive me, I shouldn’t speak for you. I suspected I wouldn’t learn anything. I didn’t. Had Phil set it up differently, things could have been different.

  • David Blakeslee

    agreed Carole

  • Eddy

    Carole–

    Excellent insights! Best ‘read’ of my day thus far.

    Next time out for karaoke, “Only In America” by Jay and the Americans. “Only in America can a kid without a cent…get a break and grow up to be president”.

  • Eddy

    It wasn’t as painful to watch as I thought it would be. I put the blame on Dr. Phil.

    The mom thought she was there to talk about what it’s like to be the parent of a transgendered child; I think she came both wanting to speak for allowing a child to live transgendered and for personal support. She and the Dr. next to her seem like they came together to represent that option.

    Nicolosi and his bud thought they were there to present their viewpoint. Polar opposites in viewpoint. Both trying to advance a way of looking at things. Neither side having much real exposure prior to this. So–anything she says that comes across as valid negates them. She clearly felt totally disrespected by them…finally had it! Not only did she not get a chance to say what she wanted to say but she took a bit of a bashing in the process. Given that she was frustrated enough to speak her annoyance on camera, I’ll surmise that one or two of her later statements might have been hyperbolic. Is it possible that she was a mom who felt her child was being attacked? That she had walked a long road before finally accepting her child’s ‘condition’…for lack of a better word. And she didn’t even get to explain how she saw it…and how she saw her child. (I saw ‘bristle’ in her a few times…made me think of a mama bear protecting her cub.)

    Re Nicolosi…

    Let’s just say I won’t be referring anyone in his direction. Maybe he comes across differently in a personal session, but this persona was over the top agressive.

  • Rander

    The mother quite clearly expressed that she wanted nothing to do with nicolosi or his approach to her son’s issues.

    Anything that is disrespectful of her choices is in my view downright abusive. Nicolosi should have shut his gap, and just tried to get in a little blurb towards the end with a referral to a web site.

    As far as Dr. Phil he has always been abusive. Why do we act surprised now?

    Rander