Friday November 06, 2009
Dear Dr. Miller,
My name is TM, I am an undergraduate student at the University of New Orleans. I have chosen to write a biography about you for a required paper in my History of Psychology class. I have not been able to find any reliable sources of in depth biographical information about you in my research. I am hoping that you will give me some deeper insight into your life, your contributions to the practice and science of psychology, how your contributions have been carried on, and the influential people in your past. I greatly appreciate your time. Here are a few of my questions – I apologize if I am asking questions that are too personal:
1. Was there a zeitgeist that influenced your focus on the abuse of children and the effect it has on adults?
2. What did you experience as a child/adolescent that molded your belief system? Are there any specific milestones in your development that stand out?
3. What ideas, events, or people influenced you along the way? What/who was discouraging and encouraging?
4. How would you summarize your life (experiences, societal influences, family life, relationships, education, and difficulties brought on by your ideas that were not readily accepted)?
5. How did it feel when you realized how different your theory was from the latter theories of Freud? What book did you write to counter that?
6. What are your specific contributions to the science of psychology and who had employed them?
7. What do you think is your legacy contribution to the science or practice of psychology? What has happened to your legacy contribution in the subsequent years, and what is the cause of the outcome?
I have become quite interested in your works and have received a couple of your books for research. As an abused child now traumatized adult I appreciate the time that you have dedicated to the effect of abuse on children, your advocacy of children’s’ right to be respected, and the discouraging of physical punishment, it is a very important subject that most choose to ignore. I hope that my understanding of what I went through helps me to avoid making the same mistakes with my child as I am 6 months pregnant and have a great deal of anxiety about doing what is best. I have formed many hypotheses about my own history and developmental issues due to childhood abuse; it is nice to see that the after effects of abuse have not gone unnoticed. Thank you very much and I hope that all is well.
From the Team: Alice Miller doesn’t give details about her life and explains her reasons in the book “Free from Lies” on the page 212. Among other things she writes there: “As I know from countless letters my books have enabled some readers to embark on the discovery of their own histories without being distracted by mine. I do not want to interfere with this effect.”