- Acceptable Targets: Despite the show being accused of exploiting their guests for profit and entertainment, in all fairness, it is always the guests who choose to go on the show for not just help, but also for attention. And most of the guests consist of abusive parents, abusive husbands, child molesters, and other low-lifes who you won't be finding yourself sympathizing with.
- Bile Fascination: Dr. Phil frequently has guests on his show that don't have any problem at all, but simply look funny or have an inordinary lifestyle that he seems to gawk at, such as people in plural marriages, or men with many piercings and tattoos on their body, for no other reason than for the audience to snicker and judge them for being comfortable with themselves. To be fair, a lot of these people have e-mailed themselves requesting that they want to be on the show to alert the world that people like them aren't weirdos. A recent example of this was an infantilist. This was the whole idea behind the appearance of one woman who was essentially the biggest and certainly whiniest bitch in the world. She mocked her own very autistic cousin because she doesn't like that the girl doesn't understand her unless she speaks simply and she drools, and felt we shouldn't have handicapped parking spots so close to the doors because she wants those spots and all handicapped people got that way by driving drunk. It was It's All About Me and for some it broke the suspension of disbelief and they wondered if she was just trolling Phil and everyone else.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The show overall is very dark and depressing to watch, with most of the guests consisting of completely despicable, narcissistic and amoral attention seekers that it's hard to care if Phil actually succeeds in helping them or not. The only reason most people watch the show is to laugh at how awful these guests are.
- Also, it's worth noting that Dr. Phil himself can become downright stern and unpleasant with his guests, thus making it difficult to sympathize or root for him as well.
- Heartwarming Moments: Todd Herzog, winner of season 15 of Survivor, appeared on the show with a severe alcohol addiction. Dr. Phil sent him to rehab for at least 90 days, and Todd came back on the show on its 2000th episode 112 days sober. Only to quickly relapse after that, much worse than before, after which Dr. Phil sent him away for treatment again. He hasn't been mentioned since. This CMOH might be negated, as Todd recently made accusations that the show actually enabled his addiction. Specifically, that they provided him with a bottle of Smirnoff and Xanax to "calm his nerves".
- Jerkass Woobie:
- Almost everyone in "Inside the Mind of a Mistress" can qualify.
- Sonia, the titular 74-year-old foul-mouthed mother from an episode definitely qualifies. Everything out of this woman's mouth is horrendous; she uses racial slurs, tells cops she hopes they get shot, and picks fights with anyone who breathes. Yet she was also molested as a child, abandoned to an orphanage, and raped as an adult. She has a medical background full of surgeries and infections that probably would've killed anyone else. Racist Grandma and general horrible person she may be, but...wow.
- Memetic Mutation:
- "Catch me outside, how 'bout dah!?", or heck, anything involving Danielle is highly memetic.
- "You're fat, don't sugarcoat it cause you'll eat that too."◊
- Send her to The Ranch!
- "You're ugly, you're disgusting, I'm gonna kill you, give me $200
- "Thank you for that..."
- "...YES! YEAHHHHHH WOOOOOOOOOO"
- Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
- The "scorned wives" who snark and bitch at the titular women in "Inside the Mind of a Mistress" appear very judgmental with the result of some viewers not sympathizing with them.
- Some of the parents of out of control kids and teens fall into this because it frequently turns out: either they are abusive, they have exhibited those tendencies, or their parenting, such as it is, sucks.
- For many viewers, Phil himself is extremely unsympathetic. The show as a whole has been accused of exploiting vulnerable people for entertainment and profit, and there are multiple specific instances of Phil being a Jerkass on top of that (see below, along with Point-and-Laugh Show on the main page). Ty Beeson from Bumfights, of all people, called him out for this behavior.
- One episode had a man kill his best friend in a drunk driving accident and is sent to prison. While the deceased man's family talk about the impact of his death has had on them and their hatred for his friend, the friend swears up and down about his own regrets and wishes to be set free. Yet, it's also obvious that he really isn't taking responsibility for his actions, basically tells his friend's family to get over it and doesn't even show any true emotion about the situation.
- Values Dissonance:
- One can understand the pain and confusion that the teenaged daughters of a transgender woman feel about her making her transition from a 2008 episode, especially how her relationship with them has her almost antagonizing them. However, hearing them call her words like "disgusting" and "selfish" for doing it is pretty hard to watch these days.
- Dr. Phil has run so long that older episodes feature dissonance with later ones. For example, in the 2000s Dr. Phil was suspicious towards transgender teenagers and especially pre-adolescent children transitioning, but in the 2010s he's become more positive towards coming out early.
- The Woobie:
- Most if not all kids, and some teens, featured on the show. Abused adults also qualify. Often, if a young adult or teen is exhibiting out of control tendencies, he or she becomes a Jerkass Woobie.
- Katherine from the Dr. Phil Family. Her parents both have a tumultuous relationship where she abused prescription drugs and he was emotionally distant, her older sister had several children through different men (including her first one at fifteen) and she herself ends up being bullied over her sister's decisions and self-medicates with a prescription problem of her own.
YMMV / Dr. Phil