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Dr. Phil McGraw appears at the 12th Annual L.A. Times Festival of Books in 2007 - 

JEREMY HOBSON: Bottom line, we are not as confident about the economy as we used to be. And here to talk about that with us is TV psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw -- you know -- from Dr. Phil. Good morning.

DR. PHIL MCGRAW: Good morning.

HOBSON: So, what's wrong with us, Dr. Phil? Why are we so lacking in confidence?

MCGRAW: When I hear about Americans being conservative -- Americans not being confident about what's going on around them financially, to me that sounds like they're in touch with reality, not that they're being paranoid. So, to me, it seems like people are keeping their eye on the ball.

HOBSON: But do you think there's some sort of post-traumatic stress going on right now -- we're so close to what we remember so vividly, this financial crisis and the recession, that we think another one is about to happen?

MCGRAW: Well, I'm not sure that the first one is over yet, and I'm not sure that we've had a single politician yet stand up and tell us what the truth is about what's going on economically in this country. I think when people look at what's going on in the headlines, their question is how does this impact me and my family right here at 2 Elm Street? That's what they're interested in, and right now, they're not getting answers that give them a reason to have confidence, and I don't think we should be confident.

HOBSON: How is all of this economic difficulty affecting people's psychology in all kinds of other ways?

MCGRAW: You know, during difficult times, we might lose a job, we might lose a house, we might lose a car. But what would really be tragic is if we lost our family in the process. Because when there's economic trouble, that brings on stress, stress trickles down into the family -- you start playing the blame game, you start venting on one another. And the real tragedy when this turns around is not whether you have a pile of bricks, or a car -- the real test will be did you keep your family intact? Did you keep yourself intact? That's what's important and I hope people keep that in mind.

HOBSON: Dr. Phil McGraw. Thank you so much for joining us.

MCGRAW: Best to you.