Family Dysfunction
Does Katherine need to be institutionalized?


Dr. Phil asks the family why it's Coni's job to make the decision regarding Katherine.

Chris says, "I've been an advocate the whole time in this marriage that I thought we didn't provide the right structure for Katherine and that we're not disciplining her properly. But I'm kind of on the fence about that because I'm the stepdad that just showed up on the scene."

[AD]Dr. Phil acknowledges that the disciplining has to come from Coni, not the stepparent. "But that doesn't mean you get a pass either," he says.

He explains that Coni is enabling her daughter's behavior. Katherine has the ability to learn how to behave, but the family is allowing her to act out because of her illness, and she's learned that that's her power.

Dr. Phil explains how commando parenting may help.


Ricky, Maggie and Chris say they're not opposed to the idea of Katherine living at home, as long as the dysfunction changes.


How can the family change in order to see a change in Katherine?

"I'm completely willing to do whatever it takes to help Katherine. My biggest thing has been that I feel alone in doing that, that everybody else is of the opinion of just avoidance," Coni says.

"Because you can't send them away and then complain about being alone," Dr. Phil says. "You're saying, ‘Help me " Get back' … It's like you only trust yourself to do it." He tells them it's time to try something different.


Dr. Phil offers the family resources, such as a behavioral modification-based manager who will help them set new guidelines with Katherine. "We're not going to do this to her, we're going to do this with her. Because she can't like this either. Wouldn't it be nice if you could have a relationship with her where you could have a nice afternoon, where you could actually do some things that were pleasant, or watch TV or a movie together, or a ballgame or go somewhere? It would be wonderful. She's being cheated out of all that because we're treating her like she's crippled."

[AD]Ricky, Maggie and Chris agree to change how they interact with her.

"Let's be all in this together. This is a chance for a family to close ranks and do the right thing by somebody who needs it. Can we do this?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Absolutely. That would be a dream," Coni says with a smile. Her family agrees.