Dear 'GMA' Advice Guru Top 20 Finalists: Ish Major

PHOTO Dear GMA Advice Guru ContestABC News
Ish Major is a finalist in the Dear GMA Advice Guru Contest.

Ish Major from Greenville, SC, is a finalist in the Dear GMA Advice Guru Contest. Read his application below!


I grew up in a very small town in the South. I'm the sixth of seven children all born to a doting mother and father. I have five sisters and one brother. I've always excelled academically and noticed early on that people seemed drawn to me and wanted to share with me the intimate details of their lives. This, in part, led me to choose a specialty of psychiatry in medical school. I completed my undergraduate and medical school training at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. I am a board certified adult psychiatrist who specializes in children and families and my patient satisfaction rate is uncommonly high. I believe in getting results! I provide medications when medicine is needed. I offer a kind heart and a willing ear when they are needed as well. One of the interesting things I've learned as a psychiatrist is that no matter who we are or where we're from we all have similar problems. The problems can range from financial binds to family matters to health issues to dating dilemmas. There's no greater joy and privilege than to be able to help someone resolve such a difficult issue. I sincerely believe that people can achieve amazing things in life if they are simply able to successfully navigate the bumps in the road. Good advice helps people do just that by showing them a way around, over, under or through those roadblocks! ... As a psychiatrist, I'm used to helping people one at a time. How fabulous would it be to help not just the one at a time, but also the many!

What's the best advice you have ever given? What was the result?

Three years ago my Mom was admitted to the ICU for a severe case of gallstone pancreatitis. The survival rate can be alarmingly low. Coupled with the host of other medical problems my Mom has including lupus, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and a history of stroke, our chances were looking grim. Her doctor advised our family that we should come and say our goodbyes as my Mom's organs were beginning to fail one by one. My Mom couldn't speak at the time but the pain in her eyes spoke volumes. I remember telling one of my sisters that it felt like my heart was breaking into a million pieces all at once. The night before efforts were withdrawn I advised her doctor to try one last round of steroids. The next morning, my Mom thanked me! When I see her tomorrow, I'll tell her she's very welcome -- again.

What would you tell this person: "Whenever there is an issue between my mother-in-law and me, my husband refuses to stand up for me. How do I get him to value our relationship more than the one with his mother?

This can be a tough situation and one that frustrates lots of women. In order for this to go well, two things have to happen. The mother-in-law has to be wise enough to be less overbearing and allow room for the ideas and ways of the new "woman of the house" -- you. Also, your husband has to be more assertive and clearly define those new boundaries for his Mom so they aren't crossed. Unfortunately this rarely happens on its own. My advice is to first bring it to your husband's attention. He honestly may not realize he's doing this. Say, "Honey, I want to make sure I'm being the wife you deserve. It frustrates me sometimes when it looks like my opinions aren't valued as much as your Mom's. I know I could never take her place in your heart but I want to make sure there's room for us both."

What would you tell this person: "While cleaning my son's room, I accidentally saw on his Facebook page threatening remarks from his friends. I fear he's being bullied. What should I do?"

That's a great question because it allows us to discuss a few different important topics. Bullying is an ever-growing problem both in America and abroad especially among our youth. The first thing I'd do is give Mom praise for having a high suspicion index when she discovered the Facebook page. The biggest problem with bullying is it goes undetected in most cases. Obviously she needs to question her son directly about the situation after she's apologized for invading his privacy. Privacy is a huge deal with children. The first rule of bullying is to empower children to fix it on their own. Teach them how to stand their ground without getting into a physical altercation. Remember, bullies pick on you because they think they can. Let them know they can't and they typically back down. Lastly, inform the teacher so they can keep an eye out as well.

What would you tell this person: "My boss keeps taking credit for my ideas. What should I do?"

This can be a very slippery slope here. Part of working your way up the ladder in any job is contributing to the overall good of the company. Unfortunately, that means others, typically higher ups, will often get the credit for ideas that aren't their own. Understand this: your boss has a boss. An astute employer will always be able to figure out who their sharper employees are. They spend more one-on-one or small group time together and it usually becomes glaringly obvious where the creative ideas are really coming from -- and where they aren't. My advice is to get noticed without upstaging your boss. Take full advantage of the "suggestion box" at work (If there isn't one, suggest they start one). Make sure you put those same brilliant ideas in the suggestion box with your name all over it. The top brass reads them all. Instant recognition!

Submissions have been edited for length, style and clarity.