Author Topic: Reply to Steve, about Alice Miller and Anti-Psychotherapy  (Read 108 times)


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Re: Reply to Steve, about Alice Miller and Anti-Psychotherapy
« on: August 08, 2019, 05:55:24 pm »
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When Alice Miller was at her greatest, she denounced every conceivable form of psychotherapy, with zero exceptions.  She resigned from all psychoanalytic associations, and she apologized for having led some of her readers into psychotherapy.  She said that every form of psychotherapy was simply a denial system.

So how then does one recover their lost feelings?  Well what worked for her was water color painting.  She writes about this very well, and shows her paintings, in "Pictures of a Childhood".

I would say that her paintings are a bit bleak, and fairly non-descript.  But she was able to understand abuses she suffered from these.

And I also point out two additional points she makes  First, she insisted that her paintings only worked so well because she had never studied any technique for painting.  If she had studied any technique, she insisted that her painting would have been worthless.

Second, she explained that during her psychoanalytic training, she underwent two complete courses of psychoanalysis.  She explained that this uncovered none of the abuses which she found by herself by doing water color paintings.  Hence, those courses of psychoanalyses were worthless, mere denial systems.

Now as I am describing, this was the early Alice Miller, the first 7 books.

Then she went dark for a number of years, and when she came back she was only a pale reflection of what she had been.  She had hooked up with this J. Conrad Stettbacher, a kind of a cult leader, and that cult based upon his own adaptation of Primal Therapy.  Seems that she was really harmed by it.  It is a very manipulative therapy, but all therapy is.

From reading Stettbacher's book, I would say that someone might want to do something like what Stettbacher suggests by themselves, like a kind of meditation.  But I would never suggest that anyone ever let anyone else lead them in any kind of Regression Therapy, not Janov, not anyone.

I have done what Stettbacher suggests, by myself for years and years, and in many variations, along with lots of journaling and various sorts of spiritual exercises.  And I am always developing new approaches.  It is a continual and life long project, to remember the parts of myself which have been cut off.

Now returning to Miller, I have always said, she opened doors but she was not able to walk through them herself.

She showed how the issue is not child abuse, rather it is what of The Family which is considered good and required, which is so harmful.   And in this sense I would say that she is more like Foucault, than like a liberal pedagogue.

She saw and showed how bogus psychotherapy was, but she still wanted to believe.  So she went with a regression therapist and got badly harmed.  Its just like R. D. Laing before her, getting swallowed up in regression therapy.  And of course it gets into things which are prenatal and of past lives.  Totally impossible to redress, and this is no accident.

Miller reached the point where the way forward was clearly redress.  But she never took any steps in that direction.

She asked why in artistic works Isaac is always mute.  She said that if he raised his hand against his father, "then that would start the war we all fear."

Well that is how she thought, that was as far as she could go.  I say it was religion and experiences in the Warsaw Ghetto which weakened her.

As she started to write again she doubled back on herself and re-endorsed psychotherapy, as a way to get that "enlightened witness".

But some observers have pointed out that "enlightened witness" is probably a bad translation of her German.  Some say it should be like "helping witness", as it gets translated into Spanish.  "Enlightenment" plays into the dissociation and detachment which you find in religion and psychotherapy.

Helping Witness could mean different things, what age are they helping you at, and with what sorts of things?

For myself I have stopped using these terms and instead introduced my own take, seeking "Comrades".  People think this is Russian, but it actually comes from French.

People learn and grow when they place themselves at risk and enter into real conflict. 

And I know this myself, having entered into contentious matters and having seen how I was sold out as a child.  No form of therapy could ever have exposed this, and really nothing other than intense consequential conflict could have.

The physical pain is intense, like having your bones eating away from the inside by acid.

People who have gone thru this will fight.  They know that healing and recovery are scams.  And they know that only by fighting do they have any chance of restoring their public honor.  And when people fight well, they draw comrades.  The rest of the people are just commiserators.

And sorry to say, a psychotherapist is not going to be a comrade.

On her web site they associate her with "Child Abuse".  I say this is totally inaccurate.  Child abuse means that which is recognized as abuse and which the law might punish.

What she wrote about in those first 7 books was that which is not seen at all, what is considered good and necessary.

If you had to sum up what she was about at her best, I would say it would be:

1. Anti-Pedagogy, all pedagogy, coercive and liberal

2. Exposing the Middle-Class Family, because this is who reads and writes the pedagogy manuals

3. Anti-Psychotherapy

But most of the people who say that they follow Alice Miller really understand very little of this.  They want to make her into something of a liberal pedagogue.

I will say that she found ways to sneak out and back in, at the Warsaw Ghetto.  She made common cause with Polish Resistance, and she was able to bring in food.

Also, Pictures of a Childhood was out of print for years and years.  So finally I called the publisher in NYC and got someone who knew about it.  He found one in a back room, it was dusty.  And they let me have it at retail price without sales tax.  This would have been around 1990.  With her books, say 6 and 7, I was reading them right as they came out onto the store shelves.  But Pictures of a Childhood was the one I had such a hard time getting hold of, more pictures than words.

When she went dark I was very disappointed.  But then when she started to write again, post Stettbacher, it was nothing like she was before.  I would not have read her early stuff if it was like that.

Since, Pictures of a Childhood has been reissued in paper back from.