Alice Miller (psychologist)

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Alice Miller (12 January 1923, Lwow, Poland – 14 April 2010, Saint-Rémy de Provence, France) was a psychologist and world renowned author of Jewish descent,[1][2] who is noted for her books on child abuse, translated in several languages. In her books she departed from psychoanalysis charging it with being similar to the poisonous pedagogies, which she described in For Your Own Good. .[3]


Life and work

Miller was born in Poland and as young woman lived in Warshaw where she survived World War II. In 1953 she gained her doctorate in philosophy, psychology and sociology at University of Basel in Switzerland. For the next 20 years Miller studied and practiced psychoanalysis. Her first three books originated from research she took upon herself as a response to what she felt were major blind spots in her field. However, by the time her fourth book was published, she no longer believed that psychoanalysis was viable in any respect.[4] Miller extended trauma model to include all forms of child abuse, including those that were commonly accepted (such as spanking), which she called poisonous pedagogy, a non-literal translation of Katharina Rutschky's Schwarze Pädagogik (black or dark pedagogy/imprinting).[3][5] Drawing upon the work of psychohistory, Miller analyzed writers Virginia Woolf, Franz Kafka and others to find links between their childhood traumas and the course and outcome of their lives.[6] In 1979, Miller stopped practicing as a psychoanalyst after having studied and practiced psychoanalysis for 20 years and became critical of both Freud and Carl Jung. In 1986, she was awarded the Janusz Korczak Literary Award by the Anti-Defamation League for her book Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Society's Betrayal of the Child.[7] Her final book, Bilder meines Lebens ("Pictures of My Life"), was published in 2006; an informal autobiography in which the writer explores her emotional process from painful childhood, through the development of her theories and later insights, told via the display and discussion of 66 of her original paintings, painted in the years 1973 to 2005.[8][9]

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