Monday March 31, 2008

Hi Ms. Miller: I’m sure you’ve received a million emails and letters like this one, so I’m not going to go into a lot of detail.

When I read your books, I felt for the first time that I wasn’t to blame for the problems I had, or neuroses or whatever to call them. I saw a therapist for a while, and grew some, but still had some major psychological crises.

I want to really heal from the traumas I experienced in childhood, or whenever they happened. I am looking for a therapist to see now, I live in Philadelphia, PA, USA.

But, here’s the thing: I’ve seen a few therapists. I’ve also read tons and tons of books on human growth, etc. When I’ve seen therapists, they’ve been “nice”, “kind”, “friendly”, whatever, but I’ve never really felt that there was any real understanding of what my injuries are or how they can be treated. I feel that all we ever do is have conversations, whatever we talk about, which helps, but where is the actual healing, and understanding of what’s going on, “scientifically”? For example, the idea that one needs to experience the real feelings that were caused by my Dad’s violent behavior, or my Mom’s controlling and manipulative ways, in order to really heal…

I want to find someone who will work toward this kind of thing instead of just “chatting” pleasantly, albeit sometimes about emotions and pain, and helping one to just become “content” or “normal”?

OK, I think you probably get what I’m asking. Maybe you know someone I can talk to, who might know who I could see in Philly. But, I just want some real therapy and healing, and I don’t want to keep wasting my time. I have lots of “problems”, but I’m also intelligent, and have been living, I feel, way below what I’m capable of because of all the emotional injuries I cope with.

Like I said, I know you get tons of requests like this, but, do you have some idea where I can find a therapist, who will really “therapize” me and really knows what they’re doing, instead of just doing what most therapists do and never really healing anything?

S. M.

AM: Certainly, if I knew of some therapists who would be respectful enough to answer your questions; free enough to show indignation about what your parents have done to you; empathic enough when you need to release your rage pent up for decades in your body; wise enough to not preach to you forgetting, forgiveness, meditation, positive thinking; honest enough to not offer you empty words like spirituality, when they feel scared by your history, and that are not increasing your life-long feelings of guilt – I would be happy to give you their names, addresses and phone-numbers.
Unfortunately, I don’t know them, but I still like to hope that they exist. However, when I am looking for them on the Internet I find plenty of esoteric and religious offers, plenty of denial, commercial interests, traditional traps, but not at all what I am looking for. For that reason I gave you with my FAQ list ( tools for your own research. If a therapist refuses to answer your questions right from the start, you can be sure that by leaving him you can save yourself your time and your money. If you don’t dare to ask your questions out of your fear of your parents, your fear may be highly understandable. However, trying to do it anyway may be useful because your questions are important and by daring to ask them you can only win.