Reality Rehab: Good Idea or Bad Medicine?

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The physician responsible should act like a physician, Welner adds, "and not like someone who is possibly celebrity-seeking or possibly fluffy because with your most serious and most crucial, most sensitive life issues … you want to put your fate in the hands of someone who is serious, professional and who you can trust."

At least one McGraw critic said he failed to exhibit those characteristics.

"I would call him an opportunist," said Sophia Dembling, the author of "The Making of Dr. Phil." "It seems like he saw a case of high-profile mental illness possibly and thought, 'Here's an opportunity to bring celebrity and celebrity together and make some hay.'"

A complaint has been filed with the California Board of Psychology claiming McGraw was practicing psychology without a license.

The complaint alleges that McGraw acted beyond his capacity when he visited Spears in the hospital after a bizarre incident at her home where she reportedly refused to turn over her children to ex-husband Kevin Federline.

McGraw, who scrapped plans to do a show dedicated to Spears' troubles, objected.

McGraw says it is well known he doesn't practice anymore. However, he holds a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and practiced for many years in Texas.

"I don't need a license. I do, however, still have 30 years of experience," he said. "[I] didn't go there as counselor. [I] went as a friend and ally for this family."

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