[Written in 2004.]
Rudolf Höss, the commandant of Auschwitz, wrote at some length about his psychic turmoil over having been a key player in the murder of so many Jews. Shortly after sharing this, in 1947, he was hanged in Poland by a war crimes tribunal. His death was a loss to the world, and tells volumes about the troubling dynamics that led society to murder him. Continue reading
[Written in 2004.]
Gandhi embodied courageous introspection and daring public expression of himself. His autobiography, though largely dull, is the work of a unusually self-reflective person. Gandhi was celibate for years and never shied away from speaking about its value, and was honest about his relationship with his wife and with his own sexual self. Continue reading
[Written in 2006.]
I was introduced to the work of Elnora Van Winkle, the originator of Redirecting Self Therapy (RST), by members of my original website’s now-defunct bulletin board.
Van Winkle, who passed away in 2001, was a scientist and psychological theorist who wrote about healing one’s traumas and mental illness through redirecting one’s buried anger back to one’s original traumatizers, primarily one’s parents. She claims to have discovered a foolproof method for recovery – which of course piqued my interest. Continue reading
[Written in late 2009.]
Although I have already written a sixteen thousand word essay analyzing the work of Alice Miller—my favorite writer in the psychology field—over the years several people have asked that I create a shorter, more concise, easier-to-read version. I have finally done so—and have gone in a few new directions too…
Before I begin the new essay, I want to make a few background points. I wrote the longer essay in 2006. A few months after I wrote it someone passed it along to Alice Miller herself, and she read it—and criticized it harshly on her website. She labeled parts of it “highly confusing,” she argued that I was taking her words out of context, and she stated that my motivation was to confuse her readers. However, by putting my name on her website she generated a significant amount of attention for my essay, because within hours a horde of people googled my name, found the essay, and read it for themselves. (Several wrote me complimentary emails.) The next day, however, Alice Miller realized her “error” and removed my name from her website, calling me “Mr. X.” instead, presumably to make it more difficult for people to find the essay and judge my words for themselves. Continue reading
[Written in 2006.]
It may be considered indiscreet to open the doors of someone else’s house and rummage around in other people’s family histories. Since so many of us still have the tendency to idealize our parents, my undertaking may even be regarded as improper. And yet it is something that I think must be done, for the amazing knowledge that comes to light from behind those previously locked doors contributes substantially toward helping people rescue themselves from their dangerous sleep and all its grave consequences.
–Alice Miller, The Untouched Key, preface
Alice Miller has influenced my thinking more than any other writer in the psychology field. She opened my eyes to the struggle of the child in the repressive family, she introduced me to the idea that an abused child will compulsively need to replicate his repressed traumas until he is able to resolve them, and she banished from my mind the idea of inherent evil in the child – or the adult. Continue reading
[Written in March, 2013.]
I wrote my Frieda Fromm-Reichmann essay back in the Fall of 2005. Since then it’s had quite a profound effect on my life. For starters, I wrote it before I’d ever met anyone who had met or even knew anything about Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. I was working as a private practice therapist back at that time. I was fascinated with the subject of psychosis, Continue reading
[Written in 2005. Feel free to read my 2013 commentary on this essay — for context and/or follow-up.]
Essay refers to: To Redeem One Person Is to Redeem the World, by Gail Hornstein
[Unless otherwise noted all bracketed page numbers refer to Gail Hornstein’s book]
It is characteristic of biographers that they have difficulty identifying with the child and quite unconsciously minimize mistreatment by the parents.
-Alice Miller, from FOR YOUR OWN GOOD
Gail Hornstein’s gift to the reader in To Redeem One Person Is To Redeem The World is that she provided the raw materials to understand the fascinating character and revolutionary work of Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. The book’s weakness is that Hornstein did not sufficiently connect the dots of her own careful research to create a psychologically satisfying, three-dimensional portrait of her subject. Continue reading
[Written around 2005.]
Commentary (from 2005): The Sermon on the Mount is one of the most enlightened pieces of writing I have ever come across. If it was Jesus who discovered these ideas, then he was incredibly advanced. If it was someone else, then I take my hat off to him or her. My goal for this project was to translate the spirit of this Sermon into something fresh, new, and equally enlightening.
[Written around 2004.]
“A Strong Book with a Limited Perspective”
This book is brilliant – but short-sighted. From the introduction Judith Herman provides a clear paradigm for understanding trauma and recovery: “The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma.” What she fails to understand is how this applies to her – and those like her…that is, everyone. Continue reading