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James Dobson

Dr. James Dobson
(publicity photo; click for larger version)

James C. Dobson, Ph.D., is a conservative Christian psychologist who presents a daily radio program called Focus on the Family on over 6,000 stations worldwide in more than a dozen languages. He is chairman of the board of a nonprofit ogranization in Colorado Springs, CO of the same name, which he founded in 1977. His programs are heard by more than 200 million people every day, Focus on the Family is also on 80 US television stations daily.

Dobson is an Evangelical Christian with significant political clout, because he can mobilize his listeners to contact politicians with civic concerns. Liberal critics label Dobson as Fundamentalist, but Fundamentalists are among his severest critics mainly because Dobson works cooperatively with Protestant and Roman Catholic Christians and Jews, and because the organization is politically active. Many Fundamentalists also decry his mixture of psychology and faith.

Table of contents
1 Degrees, Positions and Awards
2 Authorship
3 Anti-spanking criticism
4 External links

Degrees, Positions and Awards

Dr. Dobson has an earned doctorate in child development from the University of Southern California (1967). He was an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine for 14 years. He spent 17 years on the staff of the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles in the Division of Child Development and Medical Genetics.

He is a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, a licensed psychologist in California, and is listed in Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare. He also has a long list of honorary doctorates from various institutions.

Dobson has also served at the invitation of presidents and attorneys general on government advisory panels and testified at several government hearings. Among many other awards he has been given the "Layman of the Year" award by the National Association of Evangelicals in 1982, "The Children's Friend" honor by Childhelp USA, (an advocate agency against child abuse) in 1987, and the Humanitarian Award by the California Psychological Association (1988).


Dobson has authored or coauthored 31 books, including:

Anti-spanking criticism

In The Strong-Willed Child, Dobson compares child rearing with dog rearing. He describes a situation in which Sigmund, the family dog, refuses to leave his resting place, the "furry lid of the toilet seat":

"I had seen this defiant mood before, and knew there was only one way to deal with it. The only way to make Siggie [the family dog] obey is to threaten him with destruction. Nothing else works. I turned and went to my closet and got a small belt to help me 'reason' with Mr. Freud.

"What developed next is impossible to describe. That tiny dog and I had the most vicious fight ever staged between man and beast. I fought him up one wall and down the other, with both of us scratching and clawing and growling and swinging the belt. I am embarrassed by the memory of the entire scene. Inch by inch I moved him toward the family room and his bed. As a final desperate maneuver, Siggie backed into the corner for one last snarling stand. I eventually got him to bed, only because I outweighed him 200 to 12!

"But this is not a book about the discipline of dogs; there is an important moral to my story that is highly relevant to the world of children. JUST AS SURELY AS A DOG WILL OCCASIONALLY CHALLENGE THE AUTHORITY OF HIS LEADERS, SO WILL A LITTLE CHILD—ONLY MORE SO." (emphasis Dobson)

Anti-spanking groups have criticized such views as highly simplistic and dangerous to children.

External links

Fundamentalist critics of Dobson: