Wednesday March 18, 2009
Dear Alice Miller,
I thank you for your writings that have enabled me to come to -at least- an intellectual understanding of my unstable and unsatisfactory adult life.
I have been treated in the english psychiatric system since age 18 and before that in the child psychiatric and psychological services since about 5. I have had various diagnosis but eventually the psychiatrists settled on borderline personality and paranoid schizophrenic after which I was prescribed drugs and discahrged from hospital and became hoplessly addicted to alcohol. This led me to seek out further non medical help for my alcohol abuse which I found in the form of hypnotherapy (which didn’t work). However it led me to a form of analysis called ‘pure hypno-analysis’.
Hypno-analysis is a therapy where by the person is hypnotised and then regressed to a undefined point in the past and asked to start free associating. He continues to free associate with no intellectual disscusion for up to 15 (although for reasons unknown I did more) sessions until he abreacts a sexual -guilt scenario either imagined or real. They have your book ‘drama of being a child’ on their recommended reading list but ignore the message in its entirety.
I started my therapy in earnest and went through 18 sessions and although I didn’t abreact I was discharged and told things would get better and better over the next year. As a result of my obsession with this wonderful new therapy I decided to train as a hypno-analyst. I paid my 1000 pound fee and started to train in earnest. After a year or so I started taking illicit drugs and have dangerous and degrading sexual liaisons, in the belief that my therapy had freed me from my neurosis and enabled me to empower my self sexually and to cope with and enjoy drugs. Eventually I became mildly depressed and stopped the destructive behaviour, and promptly qualified as a therapist. Then I realised by therapy had ‘failed’ but luckily I learnt from the training seminars that non (or very few) of the therapists ever completed therapy ‘successfully’ and should keep trying. I tried again and had around ten sessions with two therapists (only the last session with the second), finally coming to the conclusion that my problems where caused by Oedipal guilt.
The pure hypno-analysis theory is that all problems are caused by sexual guilt. So I thought I was finally free from my neurosis. Unfortunately I wasn’t – of course- and eventually everything reverted back to normal and I was left nearly bankrupt after all the therapy and training fees. On top of that dependent on alcohol once again.
It took me much more soul searching and much more research with help from your books to realise I’d been duped by charlatans who were firmly trapped in the denial of adult responsibility in child abuse. After recently Reading you book ‘paths of life’ I realised that hypno-analysis is a form of induced regression that causes the patient to become hopelessly dependant on the therapist. I only saw what I was quite happy to see.. that is that I was to blame and my mother did love me after all. As the therapist became in transference my loving parent I was happy – temporaily- to give up my ‘primary’ symptoms to please them.
In the therapy I saw many ‘memory’s’ that I was sexually abused by different adults, however non of these memory’s ever integrated into my conscious memory so never felt real, and to be honest I don’t even know if they are real and not just cover memory’s.
By the simple process of trying to give up drinking via hypnotherapy I became caught in a dependency which again exposed me to abuses and lies. I have had the wind knocked out of me and have currently ceased to seek out a therapist. I will perhaps try again soon. For now I have taken to self-analysis by examining my behaviour, sexual fantasies and dreams etc. I certainly haven’t given up on my own recovery and am passionate about freeing myself from my past. The truth is I would have never ever believed or considered how dangerous to recovery something as apparently innocuous as hypnotherapy could be, I learnt the hard way and I hope others don’t. I no longer believe hypnotherapy has any theraputic value for any reason, infact hypnotherapy always has the possibility even in one session ‘suggestion therapy’ of creating a dependent transference between patient and therapist. There are no shortcuts to facing ones own truth and removing ones symptoms. Trying to take shortcuts how ever viable they may seem is a very costly business indeed.
Please add this mail to your website if you feel it would be useful.
Yours sincerely , Z
AM: You are right: “There are no shortcuts to facing ones own truth and removing ones symptoms. Trying to take shortcuts how ever viable they may seem is a very costly business indeed.” We are publishing your story because it may help others to become aware of being manipulated and not become a victim of a dependency pretending to be therapy.