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Talking Back to Dr. Phil: Alternatives to Mainstream Psychology Paperback – February 5, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“David Bedrick takes on Dr. Phil in an intelligent, sensitive way that readers will find enlightening and validating. He uses Dr. Phil as a foil to give expression to a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of hot issues like race, gender, diet, sex, and power relationships. Here is the anti–Dr. Phil—at last, someone who can stand up knowledgeably to Dr. Phil’s suave bullying.”  —Robert W. Fuller, PhD, author, Somebodies and Nobodies

“At last someone is taking on Dr. Phil with good sense and great humor. Life isn’t a sixty-minute show where people just come in for the laying on of hands. Life is about working it all out with family, community, and love. Good for Mr. Bedrick to decide to pull off the gloves and have an emotional slugfest with an over-the-high-school bully. Talking Back to Dr. Phil is a must read. But not at dinnertime . . . you’ll be laughing too hard to eat.”  —Nikki Giovanni, author, Love Poems

“David Bedrick understands that real change or transformation requires challenging accepted dogma and then approaching problems with compassion and curiosity. A great advocate for stopping the madness of body hatred and dieting.”  —Jane R. Hirschmann and Carol H. Munter, authors, Overcoming Overeating

“David Bedrick gets it right. He isn’t talking back just to Dr. Phil but to a whole century of normative psychology, an approach to mental health that has more to do with socialization than with well-being. Bedrick adds a crucial missing piece to the equation: love. Not just ordinary love but love of our uniqueness, diversity, and struggles—a kind of love sorely missing in mainstream psychology. A modern-day Walt Whitman, Bedrick sings the beauty of our humanity and exhorts us to do the same, to prize the deepest levels of our diversity and express the many wonderful, crazy, and colorful ways there are of being human.”  —Julie Diamond, PhD, coauthor, A Path Made by Walking



“David Bedrick contrasts mainstream psychology with a new approach based on love and radical belief. Mainstream psychology tells us we are sick, bad, or wrong. But for Bedrick our fatigues, aches, pains, anxieties, low moods, and even the difficulties we encounter in our jobs and relationships are all growing opportunities without which we would not develop more awareness. I agree with Bedrick that our sickness deserves our love because it contains the medicine toward our wholeness and well-being.”  —Pierre Morin, MD, PhD, coauthor, Inside Coma

“This groundbreaking book demystifies mainstream psychology by calling out Dr. Phil, showing not only the limitations of his approach, which seeks to restore and maintain ‘normal’ behavior, but how it perpetuates a mode of psychologizing that reinforces the very pathology it purports to heal. David Bedrick reveals symptoms as allies assisting in growth and insight rather than as signs of sickness or deviations from a norm. And rather than focus only on individuals, he demonstrates how society fosters disturbances that, when processed, contribute to transforming not only the individuals but their relationships, groups, and potentially society itself. As such, Bedrick offers new directions for addressing some of the most perplexing issues of our time, from lying and pornography to addiction and racism.”  —Herbert D. Long, ThD, Dipl. PW, former dean and Francis Greenwood Peabody lecturer, Harvard University

“For many women, it is revolutionary to realize that what will silence the accusatory inner body-image voice isn’t losing weight but rather listening to the body’s wisdom. It could definitely be said that the essays on diet and body image in this book are a work of spirit through and through.”  —Andrea Hollingsworth, PhD, assistant professor of Christian thought, Berry College

“A breath of fresh air to those who have been hurt and put down by the righteous morality and shame of popular psychology. Bedrick, in daring to pull back the veil of the status quo, reveals an approach that invites self-discovery, finds meaning and purpose in problems, and values the social challenges of our times. Anyone who longs for the freedom of their own individual path of heart will be uplifted by this book.”   —Dawn Menken, PhD, author, Speak Out! Talking about Love, Sex and Eternity

About the Author

David Bedrick, JD, Dipl. PW, is an educator, counselor, and attorney, having taught in organizations including the U.S. Navy, 3M, the American Society of Training and Development, and the Process Work Institute. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dr. Arnold Mindell, PhD, is a therapist in private practice and the author of 20 books, including Dreambody, Quantum Mind, and The Shaman’s Body.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Belly Song Press (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985266708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985266707
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,058,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ilene L. Dillon on July 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
As a therapist for 41 years, you'd think I'd like watching Dr. Phil. After watching several episodes, however, I stopped watching the show. "He doesn't allow people to find their own answers," I pronounced. "He pushes them into the answers he has! I don't like this way of working with people." I never looked deeper. In "Talking Back to Dr. Phil," David Bedrick does look deeper, determining that Dr. Phil is following the tenets of what he refers to as "mainstream psychology". This approach to helping people perceives they have something "wrong" with them, and attempts to fix the symptom, much as a medical doctor addresses the symptoms of an illness. There is a lot missed in this approach; and I, for one, am grateful to David Bedrick for clarifying the "what else" therapists can do to help people change.

People need to hear "there's nothing 'wrong' with you" from those of us helping them to heal or grow. "There are some things that need to be changed, things you need to notice, things you could do differently." That's what people really need to hear, then receive the loving encouragement to do those things. Bedrick not only uses episodes from Dr. Phil to show his reader how NOT to help, he also illustrates with examples how a "love-based psychology" can create a better fix, with more support, that lasts longer. This is the kind of help we need.

I read David Bedrick's "Talking Back to Dr. Phil" in preparation for his appearance on my Internet radio program, Full Power Living. I read all of my guests' books. This one was a real pleasure, because it gave concrete suggestions in areas important to all of us, such as with emotions, relationships, dieting and body image, addictions, domestic violence and in dealing with and relating to the diversity of our lives.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Pam Danson on March 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David manages to deconstruct what Dr Phil does. It is so easy to fall into the hypnosis of almost believing the likes of Dr Phil. They sound so 'normal' and convincing. It sort of.. almost feels right.. its in the air we breathe... we've grown up with all these injunctions on how we should be... it hardly jars when he takes sides, it doesn't stand out... at least it doesn't until you read something that deconstructs it.

line by line. concept by concept. framing and contextualising it within various prejudices and biases of 'modern life', sexism, and numerous family and cultural norms. David manages to provide insight into another paradigm that makes us think - is there another way to think? is there another way to be? could there be meaning in all this madness?

David helps us question - what and where is the madness really? believing what society tells us and how that slowly strangles and stupifies us? or trusting to something deeper and more mysterious.. that we can't quite fathom yet, but maybe, maybe ... there's all those stories and anecdotes of people who've tried something different and have found actually a much more sane and satisfying life.

Dr Phil of course is a good hearted guy who means well and tries really hard to help people. What David does, is critique that help to decipher what Really helps and which may hinder. All of us are capable of intending well and ending up stuffing up. Its hard to do this in public and sometimes we get caught up in our own hype and things become habitual without ongoing critique. All of us need critique...

David is courageous and bold in writing such an intelligent book. I'm very grateful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kristin Barendsen on April 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
Talking Back to Dr. Phil is a fascinating read. Author David Bedrick approaches psychological issues from a place of generosity and love rather than criticism. He exhorts us not to pathologize and suppress our disturbing feelings (such as anger, obsession, shame) but to explore them to see what they can teach us.

I especially appreciated Bedrick's insights about the complex psychology surrounding dieting in America, including his advice to stop dieting altogether and instead explore the root emotions that lead us to abusing food. I also valued his discussion on the nature of addictive substances as allies, in which he examines why we seek to alter our consciousness and how we can honor those impulses in a healthier way.

Through highly structured prose, Bedrick imparts his ideas clearly and thoroughly, making the book accessible and enjoyable not just for psychologists and therapists but for all readers. I am already applying many of his ideas in my own life.

I have never watched the show, but Dr. Phil's approach seems Neanderthal when contrasted with Bedrick's more enlightened perspective. I hope that many guests and viewers of the Dr. Phil show will read this book and reverse their brainwashing by mainstream psychology.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kaylinn J Pedersen on April 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
Dr. Phil has become an icon of American culture. To much of the mainstream American populace he represents the entire field of psychology. This behemoth cultural anomaly, masquerading as conscience, common sense, and higher learning, hurls accusation, separation, judgment and shame in the form of psycho babble. Many of Phil's viewers have never seriously engaged in deep personal therapy, and possibly never will, yet they are now armed to go forward in their lives and relationships with a sense of righteousness. Do we really need any more propaganda to forward conflict and dissention between and inside us. David Bedrick's approach, emerging from Jungian and process oriented psychology, may seem small and powerless in the face of such bombastic philippic, but his words are packed with the power of love and based in the broad perspective of heart. Could it be that it was the absence of this element that created our individual and collective psychosis in the first place? A wise man once said, “You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” David offers a perspective on what troubles us, our demons, what lies beneath, that brings us into a completely different relationship with ourselves, each other and the world around us. Not just food for thought, nourishment for the soul.
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