Childhood trauma and its consequences
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 Post subject: Miller's Big Mistake
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 11:44 pm 
Steve wrote:
Just want to make the point that why things are screwed up and how to unscrew the already screwed are to me two different things.

My view is that persuading people to undergo therapy is not a realistic answer to society's problems. It only helps the miniscule percentage of individuals who agree, and who seek it. For society as a whole, we need the trumpets that were used at Jericho so that we can break down today's walls of silence (exemplified by Dr. Anthony Daniels).

For a large part of the 20th century Freud and his followers persuaded psychiatrists, the intelligentsia, and members of the public who could afford it, of exactly that. Then bio-psychiatry took over. But still, in the 2st century, an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, and around 45% during a lifetime.

From a practical point of view, subjecting a whole generation of adults to psychotherapy is not a realistic proposition. The Teen Screen program is trying to that to a whole generation of American children, and lots of adults are objecting to it publicly. Children have few rights, but if the government tried to do the same to adults there would be an enormous public outcry.

In the Sinead thread Steve calculated how many therapists would be required to treat everyone with a 'personality disorder' diagnosis simultaneously. I did a calculation on the basis of therapists spending their entire working lifetimes on it. In the real world there's no therapy method that does much better than help two thirds of clients. The same for primal therapy -- according to the only independent studies that have ever been done. Our departed friends BruceW and Mojo discussed it the "Disenchantment with science" topic.

At the start of her writing career Alice Miller believed psychotherapy was the best remedy for her readers' emotional pain. Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised. After all, Alice Miller was a coventional Freudian psychoanalyst until her spontaneous paintings opened her eyes to what she had repressed. Perhaps, back then, she naively believed therapists all over the world could be persuaded to clean up their act in a short space of time.

And then she met Stettbacher. Maybe she was helped by him after her disasterous experience with a "mock" primal therapist.

Subsequently, she started recommending Stettbacher's Method in her books. A few years later she learned from readers' letters that it was causing more distress than it was solving. In the mid-1990s she completely rewrote The Drama of the Gifted Child. It's no longer the same as the version Dennis read in 1991, as our departed friend Bernard pointed out on the forum. In 1997, new editions of her later books were issued that eradicated all mention of Stettbacher. The FAQ: How to find the right therapist on her website is her present view. After the Stettbacher debacle she always refused to recommend individual therapists to readers who asked for guidance.

See Alice Miller & Primal Therapy: A Summary -- by Sam Turton. In particular, the section on The Psycho-Business and the Patient's Dignity.

To look for relief by searching for a psychotherapist who understands perfectly Miller's insights is a big gamble. Some seekers get lucky early on. The majority have the kind of experiences Karin described so well. Even people who have given up their normal lives and paid huge sums of money for therapy at Janov's Center have had bad experiences, as revealed by the testimonials at http://www.debunkingprimaltherapy.com/your_stories
It would be unwise to ignore them. A new testimonial was added recently, by the way.

The cult I used to belong to offered 'therapy' based on primal therapy. It was very expensive. I read the books instead. Then I found out about The Center for Feeling Therapy (mentioned in Paths of Life) which was set up by therapists who were trained by Janov himself. It turned into a cult which collapsed after a multi-million dollar lawsuit (the biggest malpractice lawsuit in Californian history). So I decided to come to terms with the painful truth about my childhood in my own way without putting Janov on a pedestal as some kind of substitute guru.

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