Dr. Laura has finally completely lost her perspective -- if not actually her mind.

Yeah, I’m with SPOOFE on this one…

Here title is what it is and she’s entitled to use it as she sees fit.

Is it deceptive? Maybe a little.

Is it improper? Nope.

If you have a pHd, “etiquette” dictates that you call yourself “Mr”, “Mrs”, “Ms” or “Miss” as you prefer. Only medical doctors traditionally use “Dr” socially. (per Miss Manners)

That’s why I tend to see non-medical folks who use “Dr” as snots, or intentionally misleading.

Preach it! Take away his folksy sayings and you’ve got absolutely nothing there.

Sorry, but after I’ve worked hard all these years for my doctorate, you better believe SOMEONE is going to be calling me “Dr.” (socially or professionally). The “Dr.” is a title that implies expertise. Many PhDs work as hard if not harder than MDs to earn that respect, and I think it’s wrong to assume snottiness in someone who simply wants to be addressed by his/her proper title.

That said, I think Dr. Laura misleads people by calling herself such on her radio show. If she gave advice in regards to fitness and exercise, it would be fine. But she doesn’t. I consider her a self-appointed pundit on morality, but not an expert. So she either drop the doc or go back to graduate school. Either way, I think she should shut the hell up.

Ahh, but it’s not just a title. It’s a title with reference to a specific educational degree and body of knowledge. (Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Physiology, Doctor of Art History)

If we are to compare it to the title “President”, we have to understand that this title is not the same. “President” refers to a specific area of authority. (President of the United States, President of the Third National Savings Bank)

Dr. Laura is no more qualified to talk about people’s psychological issues than President Bush is qualified to exercise his authority over the army of Luxembourg. The titles remain intact, but both are outside their area. Both may express their opinions on the subjects. But how much weight we should give these opinions depends on how well informed they are. The only thing we can say about Dr. Laura is that she is not well informed enough on psychology to actually hold a doctorate in that area.

Personally, I find the use of her title in this situation to be intellectually dishonest. As a member of a message board dedicated to fighting ignorance, I see no problem in calling her on it.

But is this a social use, or a professional use? I would say professional, and I believe she’s entitled to call herself “Dr.” in this situation, judging by what I’ve seen at universities; instructors who are not professors but have doctoral - non-M.D. - degrees are typically referred to as “Dr.”, at least in my experience.

I do, however, agree that it is at the very least misleading for her to use her title so prominently when she is not speaking to the subject in which she earned that degree.

Laura Schlesinger does have some training in psychology, at a non-doctorate level. Using “Dr.” on the air implies that she is a doctor of psychology and is in my opinion improper if not unethical. It’s as if a medical doctor were to host a show on English literature (wouldn’t that be a snore?) and called himself Doctor. Unless he also had a PhD in English, that would be similarly deceptive.

Ol’ Laura has some valid points to make on occasion (i.e. on parental responsibility), but she’s long been so drowned in exaggeration and hatefulness that she functions merely for entertainment. In very small doses.

Laura Schlessinger does have her PhD. in Physiology, but she is also a licensed (and formerly practicing) marriage and family counselor in the state of California. Therefore, she does have qualification to talk about people’s emotional issues, but that really is not what the show is about.

She does not pretend to be a psychologist, and she refuses to speak to people about psychological issues, especially when they reveal that they are under the care of a mental health professional privately. But the vast majority of her calls are about relationship and conduct issues, not psychological ones.

I listened to her show regularly for about two years. Typical calls to Laura included “Should I leave my cheating spouse?”
“Should we pull our child out of (extracurricular activity) because of bad grades?”
“Should we allow our child to be involved in (social activity) when we have concerns about (supervision/others involved/co-ed involvement) at the activity?”
“I’m divorced with shared custody, should I move one hundred miles away for a better job?”
“I’m divorced with custody of my kids, should I let my new (boyfriend/girlfriend) move in with us?”
“What should I do now that my (child/sibling/parent) has revealed that they’re gay?”
“Should I invite my estranged (mother/father/brother/cousin/aunt/friend) to my wedding?”
“Should I be in my (mother/father/brother/cousin/aunt/friend)'s wedding when (it’s an abusive relationship/the fiance’s a racist/it’s the fifth marriage for both/they’re using their parents for money) and I’m supposed to be maid of honor?”
“My spouse won’t go to (church/synagogue/mosque) with me and our children, and it causes fights, what should I do?”
“My spouse thinks that we should give our kid (a car/free college tuition/money to move into an apartment) and I don’t think so, will you settle the dispute for us?”

Callers routinely begin calls by saying “Here’s my moral dilemma” and that’s what Laura bills herself as being available to help people with. If they were calling up discussing psychological issues and seeking help for them in the space of a phone call, and if she were holding herself out to be a psychologist, then there would be intellectual dishonesty happening. In fact, those aren’t the reasons that people call, and she regularly makes it clear that not only is she not a psychologist, she has no love for psychology or the national psychological associations, which she feels give people easy “illness” excuses for inappropriate behaviours.

We can debate for months about the validity/appropriateness of her advice, but it is rather unfair to suggest that she is falsely advertising herself as something that she is not.

Actually, as a regular listener I have to agree with tlw – her use of the title notwithstanding, Dr. Laura doesn’t bill herself as solving psycological problems so much as moral or ethical ones. For whatever that’s worth.

Anyway, it looks as if Dr. L. was at least partially correct on this particular issue. Sort of. I had suspected her of just pulling this outrageous accusation out of the snake pit that is her head. Instead she appears to have taken one or two isolated incidents and exaggerated them into a trend… Sounds like typical Dr. Laura behavior.

And yet I continue to listen.

For me, it is the train wreck aspect, BTW. Once in a while I agree with something she says – but even when I agree with her I dispute the snarky, holier-than-thou, mega-judgmental, massively self-centered, know-it-all way she presents her arguments. My kids often listen to her with me and we all enjoy laughing at her nonsence and ridiculing the masochists who call in for her “help.” Hey, it passes the time while I’m cleaning the toilets, you know?


Tracey, you miss my point entirely. I consider it to be intellectually dishonest to call herself a doctor in this context unless her doctorate is relevant to what she’s doing on the radio. If she wants to call herself “Laura Schlessinger, MFCC” that would be great. And appropriate. Why doesn’t she?

Well, according to this site:


The quote is cited as:

My favorite Dr. Laura call was when a female teacher called in asking moral advice on something unrelated to the following. During the call, Dr. Laura told her she shouldn’t be dating. The caller didn’t get it at first until it sunk in and she exclaimed “I’m not supposed to date ANYONE?!!!”. Dr. Laura exclaimed that it would be ‘bad for the children’ to see their teacher in love or something and the caller quickly hung up.

I guess if you’re not married before you become a teacher, you should be celibate, alone and unhappy. I guess it makes you a better teacher. :rolleyes:

Trion, I’m not going to consider the secularhumanism.org website as an unbiased resource when it comes to arguments regarding someone whose living is made promoting ideals which are the diametric opposite of all that those who run the site hold dear. If I were more mobile at the moment, I would go to the library and check the book myself, but that’s not in the cards.

That said, there is a family counselor in my church whose business cards refer to him as “Dr. John Doe, Family Counselor and Therapist.” Out of curiosity, I double checked his card to see if it said what his doctorate is in – he’s a D.Div. However, I know full well that he does not limit his practice to counseling people on religious matters by any stretch of the imagination. He calls himself “doctor” regardless because it is a title which he earned through years of work and study. It carries with it an understanding that the bearer has worked and studied in a rigorous manner.

Moreover, who, exactly, is Laura Schlessinger deceiving, or even attempting to deceive? To whom is she being dishonest? Who is it who does not know what her doctorate is in, or rather, that it’s not in psychology? She has been profiled everywhere from 60 Minutes to A&E Biography to CNN to countless magazines, both positively and negatively. And she routinely mentions on her program (perhaps on every program, I’m not sure) that she is a licensed family counselor/therapist, not a psychologist, psychiatrist or medical doctor.

Anybody who doesn’t know, at this point, that she is not a doctor of psychology isn’t paying very much attention. And that doesn’t include the people who call her show for advice. They’re paying attention enough to know that she gives what is, in their opinion, good advice. They’re paying attention enough to know that she gives the kind of advice that they would like in their situation. They know her perspective, they think it can help them, and frankly, it doesn’t have anything to do with what, exactly, her educational background is.

I can’t help but notice that those who try to level charges of hypocrisy against Schlessinger (for things she did years ago, as though she is not, as all evidence would indicate, of a very different mindset now) or intellectual dishonesty for not being a psychologist, are typically those who disagree with the basis in which she couches her advice. It would be so refreshing if people would be open about that.

Hopefully no one posted it in the time it took to find it, but here’s belladonna’s thread on the kids having oral sex in school.

Jess – speaking as a Conservative, I would say that she greatly exaggerated, although there was some vague factual basis. There was one reported case of oral sex taking place while a teacher was in the room. Also, oral sex is becoming more common among some youngsters. Still, her statement was so exaggerated as to be off the wall.

elf6c – I found her nudie pictures quite attrative. Of course they’re decades old; she doesn’t look like that today. I do not see how those pictures relate to this thread. She found religion (Orthodox Judiasm) after those pictures were taken. AFAIK she has behaved consistently with her beliefs since her conversion.

Trion, she calls herself a “licensed psychotherapist,” because she is a licensed psychotherapist. Getting such a license does not require a PhD in Psychology.

In any event, Dr. Laura’s radio show doesn’t do any kind of therapy. She merely gives snippets of advice, consistent with her religious beliefs.

Verdict: Guilty of hyperbole. Acquitted on hypocrisy.

But… again, why? She makes no claims about being a psychologist on her show. There’s nothing in the opening announcement saying “Dr. Laura, psychologist”.

Let’s put this into simpler, non-presidential terms. Back in high school, there was a math professor who had a doctorate, and always insisted that people refer to her as “Dr.” Blank (no, I’m not gonna put her real name). Was this inappropriate for her to do outside of a math class environment? I don’t think so. A doctorate - in any field - represents both an authority in that area, and the right to use the title (similar to being knighted, I suppose. In other words, they earn the privilege of being called “Dr.”

First of all, Tracey, I’d like to point out that I never called Laura Schlessinger a hypocrite. I never complained about her past behavior. I even said that she was entitled to her opinions. I simply argued that, in my opinion, to refer to yourself as a doctor on a radio program where your doctorate is not relevant is intellectually dishonest and that her opinions should be taken in the light of her actual credentials. Not the worst crime in humanity, but as we are on a board dedicated to fighting ignorance, I felt it worth taking issue with. I still think it would be more honest if she refered to herself as Laura Schlessinger, MFCC

I agree that the website I quoted is not the most unbiased in the world. But they seemed to document themselves pretty well.

Fortunately for you, I work just down the street from a pretty good library. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to look at the book during my lunch hour. I didn’t have a chance to completely read the Introduction 9not if I wanted to eat0, but I did get a photocopy of the section in question. Here:

From the Introduction to The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life, by Laura Schlessinger with Rabbi Stewart Vogel (New York: Cliff Street Books, 1998)

Any spelling errors are probably mine.
She then goes on to explain how she still felt something missing.
If anyone has read the whole book in more detail, please feel free to say if you think I have misrepresented the passage in any way. Right now I see no reason to change my viewpoint.

From december:

Here is the full secion of the website I quoted:

Their cite:

You can take their commentary on the subject with a grain of salt if you wish. And if you want to check out California’s Business and Professional Code Sections on your own, go ahead.
Phew. My brain hurts.

Apparently, then, most of my college professors were snots and liars?

However, in “Dr.” Laura’s case, yes, what she is doing is misleading-people think she is a doctor of psychology, which she is NOT.

Yep, I’ll take it with a grain of salt. Note the tricky wording from your source:

Here’s what Dr. L has to say about this:

I tend to believe Dr. Laura when she says she actually did some sort of psychotherapy. She ought to know. Also, a cousin of mine did therapy in California, and AFAIK she didn’t have much in the way of degrees. Certainly not a PhD in anything.

Dr. Laura sez:

Surely I’m not the only one here who finds the part I bolded to be a bigger lie than calling herself a doctor.

[stuart smalley] She’s not good enough, she’s not smart enough, and doggonit people don’t like her.[/stuart smalley]

grendel72, she has a Ph.D. is in medical physiology from Columbia University, so she may well be smart.

People don’t like her? Hmmm. IIRC she has about 20 million listeners.