Dr. Phil McGraw
, the nation’s most visible proponent of “getting real” about problems, does have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in experimental psychology, and a PhD in clinical psychology, but what he doesn’t have is a license to practice those healing arts. McGraw started in private practice, but after just a few years, he became embroiled in a mini-scandal involving a young female employee (who was also his patient), who alleged that they had conducted an “inappropriate relationship.” McGraw never admitted any wrongdoing, but the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists levied some serious penalties against the doctor, including court-ordered counseling, a public letter of apology, and ethics classes. Soon after, McGraw quit counseling altogether to start a firm advising witnesses in litigation. After Oprah Winfrey hired his company when Texas beef producers sued her, she began inviting him onto her show as a relationship and life-strategy expert, and eventually helped him get his own show in 2002. He never applied for a license in California, and in 2006, he retired his license to practice in Texas as well; he has remained unlicensed ever since. Despite conducting on-camera interventions and encouraging people to face their problems, he has always maintained that his business is to entertain, not provide any sort of therapy or counseling.