Who is Alice Miller?


ALICE MILLER (1923-2010)


Alice Miller School is named for the Swiss psychotherapist Alice Miller, author of ”The Drama of Being a Child” and twelve other books about the treatment of children in Western society. A Holocaust survivor, Miller’s work was characterised by honesty, fearlessness, and an unflinching search for truth. She never backed away from confronting uncomfortable realities about child-raising. Her courage in doing so made it easier for others to follow in her footsteps.


Alice Miller:

 

“It is not a child’s task or duty to satisfy his parent’s needs.”

 

“If I allow myself to feel what pains or gladdens me, what annoys or enrages me, and why this is the case, if I know what I need and what I do not want at all costs, then I will know myself well enough to love my life and find it interesting, regardless of age or social status.”

 

“I understand a healthy self-feeling to mean the unquestioned certainty that the feelings and needs one experiences are a part of one’s self. This certainty is not something one can gain upon reflection; it is there like one’s own pulse, which one does not notice as long as it functions normally.”

 

“One is free from depression only when self-esteem is based on the authenticity of one’s own feelings and not on the possession of certain qualities.”

 

“Admiration is not the same thing as love. It is only a substitute gratification of the primary needs for respect, understanding, and being taken seriously.”

 

“The true opposite of depression is neither gaiety nor absence of pain, but vitality – the freedom to experience spontaneous feelings. It is part of the kaleidoscope of life that these feelings are not only happy, beautiful or good but can reflect the entire range of human experience, including envy, jealousy, rage, disgust, despair, and grief.”

 

“There are other ways of exploiting the child apart from the sexual: through brainwashing, for instance, which underlies both the ”anti-authoritarian” and the ”strict” upbringing. Neither form of rearing takes the child‘s needs into account. “

 

“Unfortunately, children are too often wished for only as symbols to meet repressed needs.”