To answer the question, he tracked down six of them. The most successful former patient, a man named Seth, had a mother who Akeret says "was one of the most monstrous parents I had ever heard described to me." What was the key to Seth's success? Total escape from that parent.
Another patient, a woman named Naomi, was the child of first-generation immigrant Ashkenazi Jews living in the Bronx. Her parents were horrible. Improbably Naomi taught herself Spanish, changed her name and identity, and traveled the world for years as a featured dancer with the Ballet Nacional de Espana. As Isabella Cortez, she lived with her husband in a 16 room mansion in Seville.
But something drew her back to New York, and parental oppression once again caused her to assume the identity her parents fashioned for her. Because of her mother's influence, her husband became a drunk and divorced her. Only after the death of both parents could she find a measure of peace. She hadn't fully learned the lesson of her escape.
Phil McGraw is a controversial figure. His first wife, Debbie Higgins McCall, used to maintain a website at www.the1stmrsphil.com. On that site she sold items which alluded to her ex as a "Philanderer." She capitalized the P in philanderer for a reason.
From Self Matters:
--"Remember that the world has an agenda for you and your authenticity is not anywhere on that agenda."
--"What matters is that you challenge and rewrite your personal truth and live a life that lets you be who you really are."
--"I started this process by getting you to look at your past life, because I believe that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. That being true, the links in the chain of your history predict your future."
Phil McGraw References:
--"The 8-Minute Cure," by Michael Ventura, Psychotherapy
Networker, Jul/Aug 2005.
--"Who's Your Daddy?" by Heather Havrilesky, Salon, Nov 24 2003.
--The Making of Doctor Phil, by Sophia Dembling and Lisa
Gutierrez, Wiley, 2003.