Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Enlightened Witness
Friday June 08, 2007

Dear Alice,

I greatly value your work and writings. I've read five of your books and they really spoke to my heart and soul. Thank you for your courage and empathy, those two are extremely rare qualities nowadays.

I do have a question in regards to your concept of Enlightened (Empathic) Witness, however. How do you suggest we teach empathy and/or train therapists to be more empathic? I ask this question because I've noticed an extreme shortage of such people. Personally, I have become such a Witness to my Husband, and vice versa. It took me several years to get to know and love myself and live according to my true feelings. By gaining understanding of my own feelings I was able to better understand the feelings of other people.

Yet the shortage of people who can truly feel empathy for another human being scares me. Have you ever considered writing a book devoted in its entirety to Enlightened Witnesses and ways of becoming one? I've noticed that "Drama of the Gifted Child" mentions several characteristics of a quality therapist, however, I feel that our society needs a separate book devoted to the issue of empathy. It would be great to hear your thoughts on this matter.

B.

AM: You read five books written by me and ask me to write how people can become more empathic. If all my 14 books were unable to teach empathy it could mean that feeling empathy for children is not teachable once this capacity has been destroyed by child abuse and by a complete lack of compassion.

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