"This problem has cost me everything that I've ever cared about in my life, but the urge to do this was
Thomas says that he left his hometown so he wouldn't bring disgrace to his family. "I was [a] man on the run. I thought that if I moved, I would never do this again, but I could not run away from it. Wherever I went, it followed me," he shares.
Thomas says most of the time he exposed himself to women on the bus. "I could sit down next to a beautiful woman, put my briefcase on my knee to hide what I was doing from everyone else on the bus and expose myself to this woman," he reveals. "Seventy percent of the time, the women either would just sit there and
Thomas says he faced many repercussions because of his behavior. "I've lost a promising career, countless friends, and I went for over two decades without even speaking to my family," he says. "The most devastating consequence was the incarceration." He was charged with public sexual indecency and has been to jail 10 times. His total time behind bars adds up to 15 years. "That's where I started getting help."
Over the years, Thomas has seen psychiatrists and therapists. "I've been in recovery for two years, and I no longer have this obsession," he says. "Even though I'm not engaging in the behavior anymore, it's
Thomas wants to learn how to cope with the guilt and remorse he feels. "In the past, I could never have a full, healthy relationship with anyone, because there was always this secret, and today I would like to come out with that and be honest with the person who matters to me most right now, my girlfriend," he says.
Dr. Phil asks Thomas why he chose to come on the show.
Thomas explains that his biggest fear is having people find out about his behavior. "By exposing myself in this way, this marks the end of that chapter of my life," he says. "Basically, you're as sick as your deepest, darkest secret. After doing this, I think it's safe to say I have no more secrets."
Thomas first exposed himself to a woman in 1979. "Have you thought back to that time, why you did this the first time?" Dr. Phil asks.
"For a long time, it was all I could think about," he says. "When you have a code of ethics, morals, and you can't live up to those morals yourself, it's devastating."
"Have you answered that question about why you chose that way of meeting a need as opposed to another way?" Dr. Phil probes.
Thomas' theory is that in his past he suffered some type of trauma. "When a person is traumatized, the brain develops a coping skill. The brain sends a message to the body to use the coping skill, and I think that is what turns into the compulsive behavior," he explains.
"That sounds like a lot of therapy speak to me," Dr. Phil says.
"You say that seven out of 10 women have a positive reaction to you doing this," Dr. Phil says. When Thomas agrees, Dr. Phil says, "I find that incredibly hard to believe."
"It's not required that you believe it in order for it to be true," Thomas retorts.
"You say that 10 percent wound up having sex with you, 20 percent said, â€˜Thank you,' 20 percent would masturbate you and 20 percent would give you oral sex, and about 20 percent of the time, the women got really upset, really ma
"Pretty much," Thomas says. "If there were more encounters where people were really upset like that, obviously, I would have been arrested more times."
"You say that for two years, you've been straight on this," Dr. Phil observes.
"Over the past two years, the obsession has been lifted," Thomas says. "An obsession of the mind leads to compulsive behavior. In my case, the compulsive behavior manifests itself as exhibitionism. In order to change the behavior, you must first change the thinking."
"In two years, you have not had a single incident?" Dr. Phil asks.
"Nope," Thomas says. "The obsession is gone. I haven't even had the urge to do it in two years." He says that he has come on the show to share his progress with others who are in similar situations.
"You talked about trauma," Dr. Phil says. "You did not have a good relationship with your mom."
"I did not have a close relationship with my mother," Thomas clarifies.