When Terri and David appeared on the show, they were so terrified of their 15-year-old daughter that they built a room to separate her from the rest of the family. Dr. Phil thought she was a “clear and present danger,” and at his suggestion, she was placed in the Provo Canyon School, a facility for at-risk teenagers.
After the show, Terri comments, “Dr. Phil was right; we were way in over our heads.”
David concurs. “When Dr. Phil said that he was going to give us the help that we had been looking for, I felt a great amount of relief,” he says.
Although David and Terri miss their daughter, they are grateful for the intervention. “Sending her was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life,” Terri says, emotionally.
She once worried her own daughter would kill her, but now she doesn’t have to live in fear. “It’s getting easier to go to sleep. I still have nightmares every now and then. I’m not afraid to fix myself a drink because she’s not here to hurt me,” Terri says tearfully.
“How’s she doing?” Dr. Phil asks Terri.
Terri replies, “She’s in what they call the ‘honeymoon phase,’ at this point. She is doing some of the behaviors, just little bits at a time. I feel from what we’ve heard that she’s just scoping out the environment and seeing where she’s going to fit in. They’ve already had one incident with her. I’m kind of glad she’s showing things right away because maybe they can help her more.”
David adds, “We have a conference call with her and the counselor every Wednesday.”
“How’s that going?” Dr. Phil asks.
“I’m pretty pleased with it,” David says. “They’re going very slow with the treatment, which is good. They’re not trying to force anything, make a quick recovery.”
“This is a very serious problem. And very serious problems take a multi-faceted approach,” Dr. Phil says, explaining that Desiree is undergoing medical and psychiatric evaluations as well as academic support.
David agrees. “She’s getting all of her needs fulfilled there,” he says.
Dr. Phil addresses Terri’s concern that Desiree may never feel love for her. “At this point, as a parent, you just have to stand tall and recognize that this just isn’t about you right now … You have to put her interests above your own. And right now, the number one goal is to give this young woman a chance to be successful, and peaceful and happy in this life.”
Acknowledging Terri’s guilt over neglecting her other kids, Dr. Phil says, “I recommend that you sit down with them and talk honestly about these things and just say, ‘We understand that we were very distracted during this period of time and we’re sorry for that. But the only time is now.'”
“I’m showing them. I’m not just telling them,” Terri says.
“We’re going to continue to monitor this journey, and we’re going to continue to work, hope and pray for a victory in her life and for your family as well.”