NBA Player's Battle with Anxiety Lands Him on the Bench

February 28, 2013
Dr. Phil talks to NBA rookie Royce White, who was suspended by the Houston Rockets for breach of contract after he failed to report to his D-League assignment, while he and the team disputed over his battle with anxiety and fear of flying. And, Jodi says her fear of flying has cost her higher paying jobs — and is now cheating her 8-year-old daughter out of great opportunities.








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Jodi's familyJodi working with Dr. LawlisDr. LawlisJodiJodi's sister, JillJodi's husband, ChatamDr. LawlisRoyce WhiteRoyce's car trip to Los AngelesRoyceCaroline via PolycomMardy Fish
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Crippled by Fear


Dr. Phil speaks to guest Billie by phone, whose extreme fears kept her from appearing on the show. “I am shaking uncontrollably.”

Dr. Phil offers to help Billie overcome her fears and one day get to the show. He tells her, “As gripping and debilitating as these phobias are, these things can be managed, and they can be turned around. You deserve this help.”


“Every Single Day There is Something That Limits Me”

Jodi says her extreme fears of heights and flying are taking over her life — and cheating her 8-year-old daughter, Charlee, out of opportunities. Jodi admits that she’s turned down six-figure jobs that require her to get on a plane and now makes less than $20,000. She says she would like to take Charlee to Disney World but can’t, and she encourages her to focus on local activities and dissuades her from following her dreams of joining a competitive dance group, because they travel. Jodi says she even finds herself lying to her parents about why she can’t visit — all so she doesn’t have to cross a bridge that separates their home from hers.

Jodi’s husband, Chat, weighs in on the effects of her phobias. “Jody’s fears prevent us from being able to experience different things, and it seems like it’s getting worse, not better," he says.




Jodi opens up about everything that her fear has cost her. And, Chat shares how her phobias are affecting their family.

Jodi is forced to face one of her greatest fears — crossing a bridge. “That just scared me to death.” And, where does Jodi  believe her anxiety stems from?

   Dr. Lawlis teaches Jodi some simple relaxation techniques. Then, she tackles driving over the bridge again. “It's nothing like what I experienced this morning.”



Dr. Lawlis gives Jodi a relaxation CD to take home and asks her to listen to it repeatedly.

“We don’t want to do this until you get it right. We want to do this until you can’t get it wrong,” Dr. Phil says.


Battle with the League

NBA rookie Royce White recently made headlines when he was suspended by the Houston Rockets for “refusing to provide services as required by his Uniform Player Contract," after he failed to report to his D-league assignment. Royce, who has an anxiety disorder and a fear of flying, says he wanted a mental health clause added to his contract — and he wouldn’t play until that happened. “Mental health needs to be addressed in the NBA, period,” he says. Royce is the first NBA prospect to disclose that he suffers from mental illness.


“I’ve had anxiety my whole life,” he says, revealing it’s often tied to his organization rituals. “When an anxiety attack is coming on, it feels like death. I’ve had my feet go numb, my hands go numb, my vision go blurry and my heart pounds really hard.” He says he also suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and says he’s hyper-vigilant about his surroundings. On the court, though, he says he feels at ease.


Royce takes a two-day road trip to sit down with Dr. Phil in Los Angeles. And, the pro ball player opens up about the first signs of his mental illness.

Royce addresses Houston Rockets fans and his critics who say he should have never signed with the NBA. And, Dr. Phil explains what people may not know about mental illness.

Official Statement by the Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets' Media Relations Director issued the following statement on behalf of the team:

"The Houston Rockets and Royce White have today reached an agreement that addresses the major issues that they have been discussing, provides a new start, and gives Royce the best opportunity for long-term success as a Houston Rocket. This has been a learning process for both parties. The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have approved the settlement. Royce is no longer suspended and is re-instated effective immediately. He will report to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on February 11, 2013."

Fear No More


When Caroline last appeared on Dr. Phil, she said her fears had taken over her life. “When I’m in my home, I feel like a prisoner.”

Since appearing on the show, Caroline visited Dr. Lawlis’ PNP Center. She says she learned many relaxation techniques, including how to breathe properly.

“I have been cured,” she excitedly shares with Dr. Phil. She says she feels safe in her home and is not frightened anymore.



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