Oprah and Gomer Pyle

People have asked me about my appearance on Oprah for many years. It was way back in 1992 just after I published my first book (with my best friend Joe Rock), a self help book called Overcoming Relationship Impasses.

It has always been a source of amusement for me that people are so interested in my brief moment in the spotlight. No matter what I put in my bio, the first thing that is commented on is my Oprah appearance. So in deference to an interest that has mightily stood the test of time, below are snippets of my Oprah debut in the world of TV media. But before you look at it let me say a few words in my defense. I was in my practice after my last client on a Monday night and the phone rang. It was a producer from the Oprah show. I calmly said yes, I could be there for a Wednesday morning taping. But as soon as I hung up the phone, I thought Holy you know what! I was a full time private practitioner with zero media experience, and I was scared half out of my wits. I had not even done a newspaper interview at that point.

So I flew up after my last client on Tuesday, and a limo picked me up the airport. GOLLY! I've never been in a limo before! Then I walked into the lobby of the Drake Hotel. It was magnificent. GOLLY! I had been to a few conferences in nice hotels, but this was something well beyond what I had seen before. After all, I am just a Kentucky boy from the hills at heart. When I checked in, even though it was past midnight, they gave me a $50 food voucher for dinner. Keep in mind that this was 1992. That was a substantial amount of money. I decided that it would be downright sinful not to spend every dime. And I did. Boy those shrimp cocktails were good.

I didn’t have a clue about what I was doing. I knew a lot about the book, and a fair amount about working with couples, but nothing about how to handle this situation. The producers for the show, a young and extremely talented group, were exceptionally helpful and had really done their homework. They really knew the book and asked me very good questions to prepare me for what might happen. They told me that I had to be very assertive, even aggressive at times (not exactly my style!) and the last thing they wanted me to be was a wallflower. They noted that Oprah would intentionally provoke me, in a nice way, to comment on the action as it unfolded. I was freaked to say the least and rued the day that I ever thought to write a self help book! So here’s the deal: feel free to laugh but not in my face; and please don’t tell me how young I looked (the subtext being how old I look now!) Watch it here.

And one more thing: People often ask me about Oprah. What was she like? She was warm, friendly, and the consumate professional. I have nothing but good things to say about her and her staff.

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