Dr. Phil McGraw Steps In to Help Troubled Britney

Troubled pop star's family hope the TV therapist can help get her back on track.

Jan. 7, 2008 — -- Britney Spears is out of the hospital after her Thursday night meltdown that led to her ex-husband Kevin Federline being granted sole custody of the couple's two sons.

Her family and friends have reached out to help Spears, but as millions of people around the country know, helping a loved one heal is no easy task.

Now Spears' family hopes that TV therapist Dr. Phil McGraw can help save the troubled pop star. McGraw told ETonline.com that he met with Spears for about an hour in the hospital this weekend.

"My meeting with Britney and some of her family members this morning … leaves me convinced more than ever that she is in dire need of both medical and psychological intervention."

Mental health experts say you can't force help on another person though.

"You can offer all of the interventions and all of the care in the world but if they're not ready then it really won't take," said clinical psychologist Jeffrey Gardere. "Let's hope that this is rock bottom [for Spears] and it doesn't get any worse."

Her mother, Lynn, and sister Jamie Lynn attempted an intervention early last year that only led to a second failed rehab stint.

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It's a scenario families around the country face every day.

Donna Ferguson's 24-year-old daughter Aubrey, who once had everything going for her, has been to rehab 12 times for drug addiction.

"It's like a roller-coaster ride you're going up, up and you have the anticipation that maybe this is the time she's going to get it," Ferguson said.

Ferguson and Aubrey were featured in the HBO special series "Addiction." Aubrey finally got clean but last month she relapsed again.

"When you have a child you want to do so much for them, but with addiction your help is usually enabling," Ferguson said. "You learn tough love."

Experts warn that no matter how good the intentions, an intervention doesn't guarantee success. But Gardere counsels families not to give up hope.

"Families need to continue with the interventions because it's really a long, hard road," Gardere said. "The message should always be, don't give up."

As for Spears' young kids and other children just like them, there can be dire long-term consequences when a parent has mental health or addiction problems.

"They do know there's a lot of yelling, screaming, emotions so that even at a young age they do understand," Gardere said. "This can hurt them to the point of where they have issues trusting other people."

People magazine says Spears has been in contact with her mother who, with one child in crisis and another pregnant, may have done some reflecting of her own this weekend with a visit to her sister's grave site.

Now her biggest challenge as a mother may be getting through to her desperate daughter.

"She is incredibly alone and this is just another downward spiral for her," said People magazine senior editor Julie Dam.