"Dr" Laura

I would guess that there are a lot of folks out there who hate her, and I totally understand that because I used to be one of them. And I use “used to be” very, very loosely.

I’m still not sure if I hate her or not.

Over the past few months, I have spent a lot of time in my car and have wound up listening to her for hours at a time. I used to listen for comic relief but then started wondering if she does, in fact, make sense. It could be that I’m being overtaken by the Evil Radio Vibes and have lost my mind. I dunno.

What do you all think?

I don’t like her, but only for one reason: She’s not a doctor of psychology. Yet whenever I tune in, it seems as though she’s trying to pass herself off as one.

It’s like the guy who wrote “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, expect that guy didn’t get his degree from an accredited university.

Granted, she’s not a doctor of psychology, but I’m not sure that’s the criteria for being able to dish it out. I have no idea what Manda Jo’s credentials are, but she’s a solid voice to this board that always gives great advice.

I’m curious as to what others think because, to me, I’ve started looking at Laura as giving politically incorrect, but worthwhile, advice.

I have never noticed her trying to pass herself off as a doctor of psychology. I have never listened to an entire program where she didn’t say at least once “I am not a psychologist” and “This is not a therapy show”.

She often does make sense. I think that she is right more often then she is wrong and her show is entertaining. But I think that she is too quick to jump to conclusions and sometimes give broad “ideal world” advice that doesn’t practically work well in the caller’s situation. And sometimes her “tough love” comes off as being mean.

I can’t stand her. I had a friend who listened to her every night and never did get what he “saw” in her. I’m sure she can be spot-on in some of the things she says without being a real doctor. It’s the shaming and judging I can’t get past. It seems like a lot of the calls I heard were sessions in abuse between her and the caller. I’m guessing I would need to share the same stance as she does regarding religion, homosexuality, and maybe even life in general to find her much of a help. That sounds like an unintentional slam on her listeners, so I’ll add- it is me personally that has a hard time taking what I like from her and leaving the rest out, others may be able to do so more easily.

“She may not have a lot of book learning. But she has a PhD in pain!”

[sub]Bastardized Simpsons quote[/sub]

Okay, in all fairness, I’ve only heard her show a couple of times, and not all the way through. From what I heard, she seemed to be awfully judgmental.

Maybe it’s just me (and it probably is) but what bothers me is the “Dr.” part. I think it leads people (such as myself) into assuming she’s a Dr. of psychology. However, if she does give the disclaimer that she’s not, then I suppose I don’t have any gripe with her.

She does from time to time during the show. However it would be easy for someone who just tunes in as listens to a few callers occasionally to miss it. It isn’t just you. Many people have that complaint about her.

As much as I can’t stand her on-air persona, her books do make a lot of sense, even if they’re written in a “lecturing” tone. Actually, I don’t really blame her for the tone. The examples she gives in her books point to the fact that 1) there must be a lot of ignorant people out there, and 2) they’re all in need to a “sit-down-and-shut-up-and-LISTEN” kind of lecture.

I think she claimed in one of her books (sorry, I can’t cite it at the moment) that she has no sympathy for the “poor me” school of thought…

From Dr. Laura’s resume at the official Dr. Laura website:

  • Post-Doctoral Certification in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling, Human Relations Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

  • Licensed Marriage, Family and Child Counselor (MFCC), California, formerly in private practice for 12 years

So, yes, she does have training, certiification, and years of experience as a practicing psychologist.

(Yes, I know her doctorate is in physiology.)

You know, maybe In Conceivable said it best in that her show is entertaining. Maybe that’s why I listen; not so much for the quality but for the entertainment value. I agree that she’s snide and mean to some callers…last week someone didn’t hear her say “welcome to the program” or whatever and she (laura) then proceeded to waste air time on why the caller hadn’t heard her. hmm.

A license to be a therapist is not the same thing as having a degree in psychology.

I’m really and truly not trying to be confrontational…

I don’t think it matters whether or not she’s a psychologist. Perhaps my thread title was misleading because I used quotes around the doctor part. Some of my friends, who do not have psychology degrees, would make excellent advice people. As I said, I think her show is entertaining (actually, In Conceivable said that and I had an epiphany about it) and really wonder if there are any people that agree she’s worthwhile in some of her advice.

Dr. Laura is often obnoxious and confrontational, but a lot of the time she is quite correct in pointing out to people what they are doing or did to get themselves into the difficult situations that they are calling her about. The thing I most admire about her is that she has the brass ovaries to be willing to call out and ridicule absurd and dysfunctional attitudes and behavior and be judgemental about the stupid things people do to screw themselves and their relationships up. People aren’t used to being called out for self centeredness, stupidity etc. and sometimes it’s a tonic they need to get re-centered.

I don’t listen to her much anymore but I used to listen to her quite a bit, (and the calls were often entertaining), but after several months the main problem I had with her was on her stance on atheists (empty lives) and gays (don’t be gay it’s immoral). I’m not gay, but I am an athiest, and the attitude and ignorance about those issues wear on you after awhile. Although I enjoyed her judgement of others when it came to questioning my beliefs and ethical stances it was less entertaining.

I think some of her advice is on target, especially when she tells people to face their mistakes, admit them, stop making them, and do what they know is right. When she’s not being mean or sarcastic, she can be very encouraging and insightful.

I’m not a doctor, either, nor have I even taken any counseling courses, but sometimes it’s painfully obvious that the caller knows what to do, but just needs an outside person to tell them that. And that’s no different than asking someone you trust for confirmation in confusing times.

The thing that made me not care for her any longer was her abusive attitude toward people. She seems to enjoy berating people for their past mistakes, instead of saying, “Okay, that was a mistake, but now let’s see how well we can play it where it lies.” She’s too eager to tell them how dumb they were, rather than commend them for trying to get smart now.

Another thing that bothers me is her glib advice to just pull up stakes, get a different job, move across the country, etc. She seems to think it’s a piece of cake to just quit a job and find another, or relocate, especially if you’re doing it for the right reasons. Sometimes being a two-income family, or having to live where you are is unavoidable, as is divorce or separation. She seems to have blinders on about that.

She often gives good advice, though.

She plays to an audience that wants to feel superior to someone, and she offers them as sacrificial humiliations the people who call her up.

There are a number of people who have an innate need to feel superior to others, to feel that they are not as other people are, but somehow better. Dr. Laura offers that feeling of superiority to her listeners and makes good money doing it.

What Sparticus said.

I don’t question her credentials either. I just can’t stand her show.


I don’t hear much of her, because the whole human carwash thing isn’t my cup of tea.

But I do listen on rare occasions, and find myself agreeing with her quite often. I think the reason Dr. Laura is so popular is because for too long the other extreme has held sway. There are far too many counsellers and advice-givers out there who are willing to blow sunshine up the collective asses of their viewers rather than telling them to stop being schmucks.

Case in point: yesterday in our newspaper there was a letter to the editor from a woman who has four children, with a fifth on the way. She is unmarried. She receives over $2000 a month in government support payments, along with free child care. She went to school on the government’s student loan program, and dropped out. Then she defaulted on all her loans. Now she wants to go to school again, so she went to the provincial government and asked if they would lend her more money. They refused, until she showed some good faith by paying off part of her existing, now defaulted loan. So she coughed up $3000 to pay part of it off.

Now the federal government will not match the province and re-instate her loans, and she is FURIOUS. So she writes a letter to the editor screaming about how she WASTED $3000 because she didn’t get her student loans back, and she could have had a great christmas with that money. The comment from the editors was along the lines of, “We feel your pain, and the government sure can be rotten. Good luck!”.

What I would have said to her:

  2. Get a job. The government gives you free child care. Use it.
  3. You didn’t ‘waste’ the $3000 you paid. You paid DEBTS you OWE.
  4. People on social assistance shouldn’t be able to cough up $3000 on demand, nor should they expect to be able to blow 3 grand on Christmas presents. If you have that kind of money kicking around, it’s time for the government to re-evaluate your need for social assistance.
  5. Stop whining, learn to live with your own damned mistakes, and stop setting a bad example for your children by complaining that you’ve been screwed because people won’t keep loaning you money when you refuse to pay it back.
  6. You should be ashamed of yourself.

I suspect that’s about what Dr. Laura would tell her, too.

The fact that you/I/we might agree with the basic substance of the advice is obviously not why she is annoying. I in fact almost always agree with the advice: don’t do stupid shit. (I don’t agree with the subtext of prejudice she dishes out, but that is another point.) The “advice” or scolding she gives out is hardly unique, but rather obvious. If you man/woman is beating you, leave him/her. Duh.

No, what sets her apart and gives her a radio show is that she is willing to hand out this scolding publicly to cretinous morons who call up virtually begging for national humiliation, hoping that their voice is not recognized. That strikes me as immoral, unethical and sleazy.

I have enjoyed the Dr Laura show from the first time I heard it. On that particular occasion, she ran the gamut from berating stupid people for their stupidity and their refusal to own up to it, to getting choked up trying to help a young girl come to terms with the breakup of her parents and the war they’re waging over her.

I agree with her points about 90% of the time. However, I find her to be way over the top in her delivery much of the time. Make your point, then move on; don’t beat the poor point to death. At the same time I realize this sensationalist behavior is as much for the ratings as it is to actually dispense advice. I also feel her berating many of her callers is exactly what they need. As astro and Sam Stone pointed out, we have become conditioned to expect councillors to pat us on the head, hug us and say “It’s okay,” even when what we really need is a swift kick in the ass. Dr Laura, IMO, provides that kick.