I have posted clips from Dr Phil before. Some may find them controversial or sensationalist but they certainly show parts of life we might otherwise not know about.
This “exclusive interview with the mother who attempted to kill herself and her autistic daughter”, originally aired September 15th 2014, tells the story of a woman who believed she had a “pretty normal reaction to a really horrifically abnormal situation”. It is hard to disagree that her situation was a terrible one: a daughter who might hit her 50 – 100 times a day, knocked her unconscious at least twice and hospitalised her; requests and plans for help that were turned down or unsuccessful. Dr Phil establishes here the difference between understanding and endorsing. Nevertheless, it remains a deeply troubling clip to watch and one that some will find too disturbing. Continue reading
This is a bit of a different post to usual. I’ve alluded to the interest of the media in parent abuse in recent weeks, but as this has come up over and over again recently I thought it worth a mention in its own right. In a nutshell, the question seems to be, how do we reconcile our desire to raise awareness of parent abuse and the need for greater service provision, with our duty to protect the families we work with from further harm?
Over the years that I’ve been tracking this, child to parent violence, or parent abuse, has been covered in what we’ll call a “positive” way in various media: in the local and national press, in professional publications as well as academic journals, in a popular weekly magazine, on radio news and magazine programmes, in TV drama and documentary, in film and on YouTube; and those are just the ones I’ve caught. It’s also attracted attention in more dramatic and contraversial ways through programmes such as Dr Phil, where families are “paraded” in front of audiences who have chosen to be present for motives which, it’s probably fair to say, don’t include the hope of witnessing a complex, sensitive process of restoring healthy family relationships. Then there’s the other side of the story in the context of the long-term failure of mainstream agencies to respond to families experiencing abuse from their children. How will the professionals come out of this? Do we really want to put ourselves through further grief at a time when the drive is rather to find positive stories of social work involvement to bring balance to the argument? Continue reading
Dr. Phil picked up on the topic of parent abuse where Anderson left off, in his show on February 29th. The clips, which are also available on Youtube, show interviews with women still experiencing abuse from their adult children, unable to break free from a longstanding pattern of destructive behaviour. There is also a link on his site to a clip from an earlier programme, “Stabbed in the heart by my teen”, where he counsels the family that this longstanding relationship issue needs proper professional long-term help. “It’s never easy to confront this stuff and deal with it. Somehow, it’s easier to suffer and let days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months and months into years.”
Without the benefit of seeing the whole show, it’s hard to know how to respond to the clips, which are obviously chosen to draw the viewer in.