by Barbara Rogers
You could not have produced more powerful proof for the validity of the IFS (Internal Family System) therapy concept, Alice, than with your irrational public attack against the our.childhood.international forum, against me, its moderator, and against IFS therapy . On September 28, 2008, you published it on your website; according to your wishes it was also published on the our.childhood forum. The question of why you, of all people, would desire to harm this forum and me has initiated the following reflections. The answers that I found, and my sureness that it is important to oppose bullies, coupled with my need to break silences within and around me, have led me to this refutation.
Your affront reveals that you neither realize how dissociation affects the human psyche nor have a tool to address it in therapy. Your assault misuses the our.childhood forum as a pawn without truthfulness, dignity and sincerity; it does not care about the feelings and needs of its members; it mistreats your assistant, with whom you worked closely for years; it betrays trauma-survivors, who suffer from dissociation, to benefit from the IFS approach; and it redounds upon you as you lose your credibility with your preposterous contentions.
The realization that I have spent most of my life in the fog of admiration, as a child for my parents, and later for you, has been harrowing and very painful. But this shocking awakening not only created the need to rethink and redefine how I see therapy but has also brought forth a renewed and deeper trust in myself. I write this essay in the knowledge that my insights can help others escape this fog, too.
In 2001, Bob Scharf started the our.childhood international forum, based on your idea. In 2005, Bob put his trust in me and asked me to take over the moderation after he had done this voluntary work for four years. In the beginning of my work as moderator, you warned me that I was scaring the our.childhood members when I was emphatically on their side and strongly condemned abusive and neglectful parents and their crimes. Later you changed your view and absorbed my mode of extending support and shedding a truthful light on gruesome traumatic childhood realities, my way of being an enlightened witness. For years, the forum was accompanied by your support and esteem for the empowering communal work that we, its members, all of us victims of child abuse and neglect, accomplish there. It was a rude awakening for us when you turned against the forum without a meaningful explanation. Your abrupt, arbitrary enmity disrespected and traumatized adult survivors. It seemed to be based on a scathing condemnation of IFS therapy – a line of attack, which Norman had used already before to bully me.
Bullies expect to intimidate and silence others by sowing guilt, degradation, fear and lies. But when we uncover the bully's ulterior motives, the truth becomes apparent: IFS was used as a pretext to further both your manipulative agendas. Which propels the fascinating question: what is so threatening about the IFS approach?
The therapeutic approach of IFS emanates from the fact that trauma causes dissociation by creating "split-off selves," or "parts" as they are called in IFS therapy. IFS work is an effective approach to deal with dissociation – if we care to acknowledge how it affects us – and it helps us reach and change our dissociated parts through respectful, compassionate inner communication in therapy. It was through IFS therapy that I learned to question all my feelings and beliefs, and those of others, too. IFS helped me become aware of when I am connected with my true self or in the clutches of dissociation: acting out from parts.
In truth, your assault on the our.childhood forum and me was neither about my moderation, nor about sharing meaningful information about therapy and IFS therapy, but about misleading the forum and your readers. You trashed IFS therapy to get back at me when I withstood willful attacks and preserved my integrity and truth in the face of distortions and lies. When I realized that the forum was only a means to an end for you, and how you abused it as a scapegoat in order to castigate me, it shocked and appalled me at first – but then it opened my eyes wide.
It has been illuminating to see your and Norman's aggressive bully-parts in action. Bullies lack tolerance, empathy and respect for the experiences and truth of others; they do not present coherent arguments. The members of the our.childhood forum and your readers deserve better: they merited a reasoned explication why you, all of a sudden, condemn a trusted moderator and co-worker, who had cooperated with you for three years as a supportive member of your team, also by answering readers' letters on your website. But sincere and valid reasoning is thrust aside when bully-parts destructively act out. And that is exactly what many of our dissociated selves, or introjects, or parts do: They act out in (self) destructive ways without reason, logic, dignity and respect. Most victims of trauma are impacted by dissociative suffering – not only people who have distinctly separate, multiple personalities; their other selves, or alters, or parts, are simply separated from their true self in harsher and deeper ways.
Any doubts, which I still might have had about the validity of the IFS concept, have disintegrated since your public slander of me. Norman's and your attacks against IFS and me were not written by liberated people in touch with their true selves. When people act out from parts that they do not wish to become aware of, they believe not only that they have the right to do so based on allegedly justified rage, but they even believe that bullying is an expression of their true self. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In a patronizing manner, you and Norman condemn and dismiss not only a therapeutic approach, which you neither have studied nor practiced, but also well-meaning people, including your friends, when their therapeutic journeys deflect from your proclaimed "one and only" correct therapeutic path. Enchained by destructive childhood imprints, such willful presumptuousness is not concerned with honest and open communication, neither within nor around oneself with supportive people, but instead is capable of perceiving and attacking them out of the blue as "the enemy." To mask the inability for truthful communication, the declared enemy is bullied in order to silence her and promote manipulative, mistrustful agendas.
A truthful person would have the need to present a reasonable, caring explanation to inform the forum members, and also the readers of your website, of any disagreement with its moderator. But your denunciation was meant to degrade and eliminate diverging opinions. Your alleged "problems" with the IFS approach were contrived only after it became obvious that I could not be manipulated and controlled. IFS became the pretext to lambaste me when I expressed feelings, needs and thoughts that were threatening your, and also Norman's, precarious equilibriums, haughty agendas and grandiose expectations of entitlement. In order to disguise reality and present a deceptive excuse, an alleged "dangerous" moderator, "confused" forum and "useless" form of therapy were slammed.
When a rift occurred between us during the past summer of 2008, I thought at first that we had a personal conflict, so I refrained from talking about it. We had been friends for over twenty years. During this long and supportive friendship, there were also some periods of distance. Then, from 2005 until 2008, I worked closely with you and for your website because I deeply support your formidable work to make society aware of the causes and consequences of child-abuse and neglect. Your books and your work awaken many people to face these truths and help them realize how their childhood suffering continues to haunt them as adults. "For Your Own Good" has certainly been the powerful initiator to dramatically change myself and my life since I read it in 1980. It prompted my passionate and enduring pursuit of my true self. I still remember how I felt when I read it: As if something that I had always known deep inside of me connected with my conscious mind. Two years later, my therapeutic journey began when I entered work with a psychoanalyst, the form of therapy which you recommended in your first books as the liberating way out of the prison of childhood. A few years later, I trusted your advice again when I worked with a written form of primal therapy that you also recanted a few years later.
But by now, I have come to trust my own therapeutic experiences. So this time, I protest against your authoritarian proclamation that you believe, once again, to have THE "one and only" approach to therapy. Your unwillingness to face your own destructive split-off parts, and those of others like Norman, as well as the manipulative, bullying ways in which these parts act out, reveals the failure of your therapy approach. Your public assault has shown that your therapeutic concept has not freed you and how you do not hesitate to cut people off from looking for helpful therapists and forms of therapy. Confronted with these facts, I can no longer remain silent. My true self asks me to speak up because I cannot become complicit in the misguidance of others into a therapeutic dead-end street that you advise all over again in the same self-opinionated way as you have done so twice before.
I worked for you and your website and provided truthful, empathic support because I passionately share your goals: the vital importance of spreading information about the causes and consequences of child mistreatment; providing knowledge about the process of therapy; and encouraging and supporting adult survivors to face their truth. As I not only worked for your website but also as your personal therapeutic helper, without financial compensation and proper boundaries, our friendship turned into a playing field for repeating past patterns. I succumbed to the role of an admiring, devoted servant who was always there for you – a role that I learned all too well as a child – while you repeated different and other introjections from your childhood with me. You were not open to see when you act out from dissociated parts but convinced that I deserve your reproaches, blame and ingratitude. When my body and soul began to protest against this arrangement, almost exclusively devoted to your problems and often desperate needs, I was burdened with even more blame for speaking up "too late" and for "being afraid."
In the beginning, after I had spoken up about your reproachfulness, you sent me one moving email, written from your true self; it was entitled: "a miracle." And that it was; you recognized in it how you had acted out against me in a hurtful way by imitating the internalized envy and destructiveness of your mother. Your realization let me cry because it was true. Your insights were enlightened and clear; so I thought that our relationship was open for change. But then, the doors to your true self were shut again. No matter what I shared with you, or what happened – it all was turned against me as if I could do nothing right. Inundated with falsehoods, I was presumed guilty, not trustable, unworthy of your understanding and respect.
But the claims that you make about me reflect back on you. They reveal how deeply you are caught in an irrational agenda, incapable of dignifying reality and unwilling to acknowledge what had been going on between us.
I was accused of being afraid – when precisely I was not afraid to express my truth and had the courage to speak up to you.
I was accused of not being open – when I shared something very openly and honestly with you that was important to me – and only to realize with great pain that I was involved in a relationship where open and honest communication are not welcome. Whatever I shared about myself – it was used to blame me and declare me as wrong and worthless. In "Stalking the Soul," Marie-France Hirigoyen writes: "In her concern to connect, the other exposes herself. The more she exposes herself, the more she is attacked and the more she suffers. The sight of this suffering is insupportable to the abuser, who steps up his attacks in order to silence the victim. When the other reveals her weaknesses, they are immediately turned against her."
I was bullied as mendacious with a barrage of furious reproaches for making a generous, caring gift and for saying so. I was accused of lying for the pitfalls of the internet when emails overlapped and did not arrive in their respective mailboxes in the order they were sent.
I was attacked for reputedly not being able to “show my feelings” – those supposed "genuine feelings" expected and demanded of me – but then viciously attacked when I DID show my true feelings and my true self found it vitally important to do so.
I was accused for feelings which in truth I did not have; I was condemned as well for feelings that in fact I DID have, but should not have had; and I was even attacked for not feeling feelings that I was supposed to have. My alleged "feelings" were arbitrarily distorted by a self-righteous, authoritarian aggressiveness for self-serving purposes.
I was reproached for being “confused and afraid” when I had the clarity and strength to recognize that I was mistreated and dared to stand up for my protection and dignity. Bullies go on the offensive once independent minds escape the fog of admiration. By being bullied even in public, I paid once again the price for being true to myself.
I was scorned for being "trapped in confusion full of fear even decades can’t be enough to change." But the opposite is true: As I escape the fog of admiration, I recognize that it is you, with your unacknowledged parts, who still is stuck in the prison of childhood and even advises this trap as THE all-cure therapy concept. How reality and truth are turned upside-down! How can I remain a cowardly silent bystander if a most regrettable personal tragedy is advocated as the "one and only" liberating therapy concept?
I was attacked for confusing the members of the our.childhood forum with IFS therapy, without that they ever could comment about it or had any say in this accusation. The truth is that I offer compassion, understanding, my therapeutic experiences, together with different therapeutic tools that I have learned, among them the IFS approach. I have not forced any form of therapy onto anyone.
It was insinuated that the our.childhood forum is, or could become, a "cult-group" – while a new, and of course the "one and only" capable moderator Norman was produced by you in order to revengefully degrade and humiliate me. In "Stalking the Soul," Marie-France Hirigoyen writes: "By focusing the hate on her predecessor, one can ascribe every virtue to the new partner. When the "hated" victim realizes that she is a sacrificial pawn in reinforcing the latest relationship, she feels trapped and manipulated yet again." How true.
I was attacked for speaking up "too late" – another line of attack that was misused as indication of my fearfulness, which, it was assumed, prevented me from speaking up when I should have done so according to your haughty self-opinionatedness. For you, the "fear of the once beaten child" explains it all: whoever does not agree with you is whisked away as a fearful nothing that allegedly does not give room to those early repressed feelings, especially rage; that resists to feel the fears and pain of the disrespected, exploited, betrayed or even hated child; and that creates "schemata" in order to avoid accusing one's parents. As you were not interested in my experiences of six years of IFS therapy, you had no chance to find out how plausibly feelings and traumatic memories can emerge in it.
I did not and do not recognize myself in the accusations piled upon me. Instead, I discern them as a deliberate effort to annihilate what is strong and worthwhile about me and to drive people away from me because I have something to offer that must not be alive and shared with others: my extensive work with actual innovative therapists, my experiences with different forms of therapy and my fearlessness of narcissistic, grandiose gurus. After you had often commended me for the endurance and consistency of my therapeutic journey and the life-changes that it helped me accomplish, I was all of a sudden degraded for it. When forum members protested and continued to put their trust in me, the truth was twisted once again; now it was pronounced that I had claimed my autonomy.
The dream, which my unconscious sent me the day after our cooperation ended, late in July of 2008, shows how hard but dangerously I had worked for you and the goals that we shared. In this dream, I was walking with my oldest granddaughter through a big city; but I forgot and lost her. Only after I have arrived in a cold, impersonal bureaucratic office in a high building, where people do not care about me and only focus on their work for a certain project and purpose, do I realize in panic and horrified with myself that I have lost my granddaughter and have not thought about her for a long time, just marched ahead to get to this agency. When I realize that she is not with me, I go back to the street to find her. Yet, I do not discover her among a group of lost children gathered at the police. As my despair and horror grow, I say to someone: "Her parents are going to kill me, and I will kill myself." The dream ends as I go back into the streets, looking for her, worrying where she is, how she feels, what is happening to her and if someone has taken her away, kidnapped her, is molesting, hurting and abusing her now, if this experience will traumatize her terribly and if I will ever find her again. As I wake up from this dream, I have an orgasm and feel unspeakably relieved and full of joy that the dream is NOT TRUE, that it was "just a dream" and that in reality none of this has happened.
This dream communicated that I am "in love" with myself and fully alive again because I no longer was in danger of being disconnected from my "inner child" – my feelings, my needs, my creativity, my aliveness, my truth and true self. My unconscious had shown me the truth about the reality of a trusted relationship. My work for a cold, bureaucratic office had prevented me from being on my side. In a guilt-ridden atmosphere, I had been persecuted by judgmental blame to a devastating degree. I had ignored how I had been taken advantage of and mistreated – until my body said: "Enough! Enough is enough! Something is really wrong with this relationship." It had no room for my feelings, needs and truthful self-expression, no room for honest and open communication. Unlike my unconscious, my conscious mind could only comprehend this reality with time by listening to all my emerging feelings.
I had been in danger to sacrifice my true self – not only for a cause that is deeply important to me and that I passionately believe in and care about, but also in the service of someone whom I greatly admired. By now, I understand so well why I avoided leaving you and the "fog of admiration" for so long: I saw you as a liberated role model. But it has been my escape from this fog that has strengthened my connection with my true self and empowers me to be on my side and write my truth.
I also understand this dream as symbolizing (self) destructive beliefs that I was trapped in because of your approach to therapy and life. All too often, we are being blamed, and then reproach ourselves, with what are in truth nothing but deceitful and mendacious projections. Compassion, humane understanding and honest and open communication cannot thrive in an atmosphere soaked with blame, guilt and admiration. As hopeful followers, who got their first glimpse of truth about the suffering of our childhoods by reading your books, we want to believe your euphonic words. As children we were compelled to believe authoritative parents and other care-takers when they claimed to know what is "for our own good." Later, all sorts of belief systems and their guru-leaders can exploit this primordial imprinting. Cut off all over again from trusting our observations and perceptions, these leaders do not guide us to find liberation, but push us back into the prison of childhood and separate us all over again from our truth, our inner qualities and beauty, our true selves.
In October, you tried to manipulate me with your first email directed to me since July with the request to remove an enlightened, brave, critical post from the our.childhood forum, which presents a strong rebuttal of your attack on me. I did not respond anymore to you because friends advised me to not get dragged into a useless fight. Soon after, I felt the depth of your betrayal and mourned the abandonment that so painfully marks betrayal. Whereupon I had two illuminating dreams: In the first dream, I am a shepherd who guides many sheep to a new meadow. The sheep are very alive and do what they want: some play with each other; some jump and run around wherever they feel like it; some are already walking and grazing on the new meadow while others remain behind, where we came from – I can see them as they watch the others from far away, they are not yet coming along. I observe them all, and I am keenly aware of what each one is doing and of what is happening. I simply wait and let them do what they want to do. I neither push nor force them to go anywhere; I also do not have a dog to frighten them into certain places where they "should" be.
When I wrote about this dream and the aggressive dogs that I don't have, I realized how the forum and I had been bullied by you and Norman in order to subdue it. You wanted to take control of it – without any regard for this forum, for what was happening there, for its members and for what they wanted. Anyone who truly had cared about this forum would have made any concerns about it known in a caring and truthful way. With the shepherd dream, my unconscious told me that I have been a "good shepherd" who does NOT use "aggressive dogs" to push and shove the survivors of child abuse and neglect into designated places, even traps, and who does NOT use emotional violence against them and against a precious place of trust and truth where survivors share their childhood ordeals and their lives' plights.
In the next dream, I was lying on an operation table to be prepared for an operation. Norman is a doctor – and in this dream, a doctor puts some injections into my body to anesthetize me. But it does not work – I remain CONSCIOUS. As I sit up on the operation table, I realize that I am not sinking into narcosis; the poison does not work; I do not disappear into lifelessness and silence. Looking at my body, I am at first angry about the stupid hospital gown that I must wear; I hate them because they are such a symbol of the patient being turned into a powerless recipient of overbearing know-it-all superiority. But then I realize that I still wear jeans underneath, clothes that speak to me of rebellion, strength and freedom. My unconscious let me know that no one can numb and silence me anymore; and with the image of wearing jeans, it showed me the way out: I don't need to submit to any poisonous bullying attempts to knock me out. Instead, I can get up and leave this operation-battlefield behind, forced upon me against my will, without my consent – and at first without that I even had a chance to realize what was being done to me. When my unconscious showed me the truth, it became crystal-clear that the motives behind these bullying attacks were not on the side of the our.childhood forum and the survivors of child abuse and neglect who fight there for their truth, their dignity, their freedom and true selves.
After I had begun to work on this response in December of 2008, I saw one day that the original text of your attack against me had been changed on your website. Whereupon I dreamed that I was talking directly with you on the telephone. At first, our conversation seemed to be friendly, like we used to talk. But then a contemptuous remark from you hit me in my dream, as you told me in a matter of fact tone, as if it was the truth: "Now everybody knows anyway that you are history." I replied that this is not true; that I am working on my response. And then I said with determination: "And one thing I definitely now know: That you have parts that you do not look at, do not want to be aware of and do not account for." And then I said: "Good bye" and hung up the telephone.
The morning of January 1st, 2009 I woke up with the following dream: Again, it's a telephone talk with you. You have called me and proceed to tell me in the way you used to talk to me, as if nothing had ever happened: "Well, Barbara, then we still need to discuss this and then that..." For a while, I let you talk, then I say decisively: "I cannot do this any longer, Alice. It won't work anymore." With amazement you say: "Your voice sounds so different." Then I respond: "Because I am beside myself with indignation and outrage." And then I SCREAM at you – without loosing my voice, although it takes all my strength NOT to loose it – and I scream out MY TRUTH: "How could you do this to me? How could you degrade and humiliate me in front of the whole world? What kind of a being are you?" I roar my indignation and rage for a long time. Although it takes an enormous effort, I scream my truth and, amazingly, at no time do I loose my voice, like it used to happen in previous dreams. When I realize that there is only silence at the other end of the line, I become aware that you have hung up the phone. I consider this one of the most affirming and empowering dreams of my life.
On the morning, when everything was ready and I was prepared to link this essay on my website, I woke up with a dream where I see excerpts from a movie. It is about a couple, two people who love each other very much; but this couple somehow is led apart again and again. In these excerpts, I could see how they found each other, came together and were united, time and time again. I see them hugging each other and being glad that they can be with each other again. And these scenes happen during different ages, from being a younger couple to an older couple. Then in the dream I sing together with other women, also of different ages, a song. It is a well known song in the dream, about a woman being something wonderful, and about her wonderful qualities like compassion, courage, intelligence, honesty, endurance, wisdom and a capacity for understanding and love. It is a song of praise for a woman being a woman. Also teenagers and girls sing this song. The song went from one woman, teenager, child, to the other. Each one could sing HER song and the others listened. The song was the same, every time.
I think the first part of my dream told me that there have been times when I was separated from my true self and caught in a part, but that I, again and again, could reunite with my true self. And the second part says that – contrary to the deceitful messages that above all my parents, but also others in my life, have given me about my being wrong and worthless – that I experience myself and finally can see myself as a worthwhile and good woman with many good and worthwhile "parts."
While I worked on this response, several physical symptoms disappeared. The first one was a dark, ugly growth, which suddenly simply dried up and fell off after it had been sitting in the middle of my left temple for the last three years. When I thought about WHERE it had been placed, I realized that it had grown on the spot – like a mirror image – where my father used to point his finger at his temple in a condescending gesture to me when I was a teenager. It was intended to demonstrate to me how stupid, worthless, unimportant and even crazy I was, and that I had nothing of value to contribute. His contempt stopped me from talking to him, from voicing my own opinions and thoughts to him. When this growth fell off, I could not help but wonder why that happened when I began to work on this response. It made me aware how my experiences in therapy had been condescendingly brushed aside by you with an amazing lack of curiosity and respect, while they were being utilized at the same time. Once again, I had given devotedly and generously to someone who made use of me – but had no use for me, my truth, my experiences and insights if they sheered off course. The disappearance of this mark on my temple showed me that I am on a good path when I resist condescension, disrespect and being bullied. Resistance helps me heal old and new injuries.
Within the first month of working on this response, a sharp, painful cramp disappeared in my right lower back. For months, it had gripped me often when I stood up from a sitting position, had bent me down and made walking painful. It hurt the area of my back where I had been beaten by my mother and nanny with objects like dress-hangers. Along with it, a painful tension between my neck and right shoulder also disappeared as if I became free to use my full strength to defend myself and fight back. I know that I was released from these symptoms because I claimed my right to stand before you as an equal, stand up for the truth and resist your attempt to bend me down and silence me.
A pain in my left knee, the one close to my heart, stayed the longest. It had also bothered me for about three years. When I wrote my essay "Spirituality Cements Childhood Blindness," this pain was at times so strong that I had trouble walking. This knee-ache showed me how debilitating and paralyzing it is to be on one's knees as an adoring, subservient disciple. Religious and spiritual traditions utilize the atmosphere of worship and servitude created in our childhoods. Through the command to forgive, they reinforce the abandonment and betrayal of the abused and neglected child and strengthen cruel parental might – to then exploit blind adoration as the given way to approach superior beings, above all god and religious authorities, as well as spiritual and worldly leaders and gurus perceived as god-like. When my spirituality essay was finished, there still remained a quiet pain in this knee. This constant reminder asked me to realize that admiration outside of the religious and spiritual realm is just as dangerous, hurtful, debilitating and silencing. My knee informed me when I still was "on my knees," in a devout and submissive position, sparing those that abandon the truth – instead of committing myself to defending it. My knee inspires me to fight for the truth and to resist any danger that might bring me down on my knees again to idealize others.
These experiences have strengthened my observation that some psychosomatic symptoms can belong to a part. They stay with us until we have truly reached a part so that it can give up the role it used to play in our inner system and releases its control over our body, soul and mind. Different parts can exhibit their own, diverse symptoms – until we face their origins, see through our acting out, resist those that do not care about us and change the reality of our present lives. Working with dissociated parts helps us save not only our health, our sanity and our lives, but also our humanity.
Your assault insinuates the our.childhood forum to be in danger of becoming a cult, and its moderator a guru who forces objectionable therapeutic methods on the forum members. But the opposite is true – it is you who wants to reign supreme, like the guru of a cult, through the arrogant way in which you claim your supposedly "one and only" therapy concept and moderator. You misused the forum to further agendas swayed by your disturbed parts. Why did you not inform the forum and your readers in a truthful way about your change of mind regarding my allegedly dangerous work? Certainly, neither the forum nor I had attacked or harmed you; this fact unmasks your abrupt, arbitrary change of mind as a spiteful eruption of your temper.
What happened with the forum reminds me of your abrupt change in attitude when you all of a sudden damned Stettbacher's written form of primal therapy. Only a few years earlier, you had recommended it with great enthusiasm as the "one and only" therapeutic cure-all method that had freed you from all physical symptoms. When you all of a sudden drastically condemned this form of therapy, many readers of your books were shocked. They felt utterly confused and betrayed because they had been able to help themselves and make progress using this form of self-therapy, including me. In spite of your condemnation, I continued to use this therapy, and I still do so when the need to write in this form of therapy spontaneously arises for me because I trust MYSELF to guide me how to nurture my own therapeutic progress. You gave varying, even conflicting reasons for withdrawing your support from this therapy. (Sam Turton, "Alice Miller & Primal Therapy: A Summary" – (http://www.primals.org/articles/turton12.html – and Alice Miller, "Communication to my readers" – http://www.primals.org/articles/amiller.html). I once read a German discussion group on the internet, years ago, where someone thought that in fact another person had developed this form of therapy. Today I wonder what else lies hidden behind this complete about-face that contains stunning contradictions.
You distanced yourself from Stettbacher's therapy in an interview from 1995 where you claimed: "More than ever, also I think today nothing of the cathartic effect of the intensive feeling-experiences and think that the missing structures have to be constructed. But this does not happen through the endless repetition of rage and fear experiences directed towards the parents, but through the help in recognizing reality in the here and now." Now you write on your website: "As long as we resist to feel the pain of the disrespected, exploited, betrayed and even hated child, we will create new schemas in order not to accuse the parents." Then, you warned of the dangers if people worked alone in therapy with Stettbacher's method, because "massive anxieties set in, so strong that clients found it impossible to cope with them without therapeutic support." Now you claim that one can – seemingly without working with a therapist, just by writing to your website – “give up his blindness in three years if one has the courage to feel and to fully see the reality of one's childhood so he can become free from the confusion of his parents. Norman's development shows that this is possible and MANY of people writing to this mailbox confirm that they did not need decades to change."
Your contradictions and about-faces are breathtaking. You do not care to see that you and Norman avoid facing the emotional reality of your childhoods because you still act out your childhood dramas when you bully and manipulate others. You even believe that such abuse is based on your authentic feelings and that you have the right to act out destructively. A human being, who has felt the pain, the betrayal, the inhumanity and hatred suffered by being bullied, and who has healed these wounds, is not capable of mistreating other humans in that way, above all not friends and followers, and cannot disrespect and manipulate the adult victims of child abuse and neglect full of TRUST in you.
Your belief that anxiety is an indicator for the failure of a therapy concept, as you have charged about the Stettbacher therapy, is also misleading. Anxiety can occur for whatever reason, because life presents us with many challenges that can trigger the painful and frightening past of abused and neglected children. It is not necessarily the failure of a therapy concept when we are overwhelmed by anxiety or panic which express a cry from our bodies and souls to reach out for help. When anxiety has become overwhelming for me, so that I could not resolve it alone, I have reached out for therapeutic support. It does not mean that my therapeutic work has failed, on the contrary – it is a brave human being on a journey of healing who can care for herself and listen to the messages of her body and soul when they signal the need for additional therapeutic backup.
In that 1995 interview, you also claimed that "fortunately today there are more effective and less risky therapy methods." I have not heard of any therapy methods that you have explored or mentioned and that you believe to be of help to anyone. You sound by now as if all forms of therapy function only in the service of denial because of "the fear of the once beaten child" that "pervades all of society and thus also the therapists and does not make room for the very early repressed feelings, especially rage." Although this observation is correct in many ways, this form of denial is simply not true for every therapist, every form of therapy and every client. It is also not true for the growing number of courageous advocates who work on behalf of children's rights. How misleading is your eternal mantra that there are no therapies and no therapists capable of guiding clients towards healing and a better way of life – except, it seems, for you, your website, your books, your therapy "concept" of venting rage, and the therapists that you now contend to train.
Mistrust and know-it-all bullying are not tools for liberation but for exerting control and submission. With your self-assured promise to know the way out, you seduce the victims of child abuse and neglect to trust you; but they are led anew into a trap. This time the door does not say "for your own good" as it did in childhood; instead it has the inscription: "liberation from childhood suffering." As the victims eagerly step through this door, which they have searched for all their lives, they are captured all over again by denial and arrogance. They do not dare to recognize their imprisonment and exploitation, like I refused to for so long, because they longed for an enlightened witness and believe to have found one. Obviously, one can describe intellectually the reality of childhood suffering in moving, enlightened books without truly being on the side of the adult survivors. One can say all the right things about the causes and consequences of child abuse and neglect, even act as an advocate for children's rights – yet remain unwilling to confront the painful feelings and dissociative consequences of one’s own traumatic childhood.
Because you write the truth about the causes and consequences of child abuse and neglect, your readers believe, as did I, that you write the truth about therapy, too. I am sure that I am not the only one who has fallen into the trap of trusting deceitful know-it-all words without realizing their inherent contradictions and self-righteous, arrogant, even contemptuous tone. Your books open for many readers a door where they begin to understand the true causes of their suffering. But if this door does not lead them to trust themselves but seduces them to trust and blindly follow a therapeutic guru, they cannot liberate themselves. By pretending to have all the answers and the "one and only" working therapy concept after "50 years of therapeutic experience," you make vulnerable survivors dependent on you and your misleading, contradictory and outdated views. You do not encourage them to trust themselves but make them bow to irrational dogmas. This has nothing to do with the actual experience of real, meaningful therapy. Not only clients in therapy, but we all need to be encouraged to trust ourselves. WE are in charge of our therapy and our lives; no one else can know what we need, no one has the right to tell us how to live our lives or how to make our therapeutic path. Clients animated to be in charge will choose forms of therapy that suit their needs. If these needs change as new awareness unfolds, they will choose new forms of therapy and therapists that suit their changed needs.
Your ignorance about the effectiveness of other therapeutic approaches comes along in the disguise of authoritarian advice, allegedly providing truthful information. You expose guru-like behavior which demands the kind of blind and devout followers typical of a cult. Religious, spiritual and therapeutic gurus augur to open the door to healing; to bring relief to our suffering bodies and souls; and to grant us this miracle that we have yearned for eagerly since time memorial. They promise us that our suffering will end if we follow their belief-system. You advise that one must feel above all the long repressed rage from early childhood – but this is a limited, even dangerous therapy concept. Yes, authentic outrage is PART of good therapy, but so are pain and grief. When strong feelings come up, they are validated and compassionately witnessed by a good therapist, and understood and made sense of together with the client. The rage, which you put on display, is neither therapeutic nor authentic; it has asserted a life of its own, has separated you from your true self and led you into a dead-end street where it has become a distortion of anger and acts out (self) destructively as a self-righteous bully.
Why do you want your followers to trust only your beliefs, your advice, even your rules in regard to therapy? Why do you keep them from trusting themselves and their unconscious as they look for therapists? Why do you intend to cut them off from reaching out for possible therapeutic help? Is any form of therapy that you have not experienced off limits for your devoted disciples? Are you burdening them with your own fears, above all the fear of confronting your painful feelings and parts by doing actual therapeutic work with a therapist? From your claims it sounds as if there are no helpful therapists in this world. Surely, too many therapists are afraid of facing abusive childhood- and adulthood-realities and continue blaming the victim with poisonous pedagogy. Yes, there are abusive, exploitative and criminal therapists; and there are frightened therapists that dare not see through abusive realities, past and present, and even may advise forgiveness. And of course, there are also no perfect therapists and no perfect therapy concepts that can help each and every client. But fortunately, we can find brave and compassionate therapists – if we have the courage to look for them and trust ourselves and our unconscious.
Every therapeutic relationship is a unique adventure, the unfolding of a very special humane relationship where two human beings embark on a journey of trust to explore and heal a human soul and liberate a true self. With a therapist on our side, therapy unfolds as a completely DIFFERENT experience than the horrors of the abuse and neglect that we encountered as children. Good therapy restores more and more trust in ourselves as we live and breathe a kind of relationship that we never experienced before. How can we learn what we were never permitted to do as children – trust in our true selves – if we cannot begin to trust our needs and perceptions, our unconscious and body as we look for therapists and therapy approaches as adults in the present? Only gurus want us to believe that all forms of therapy and therapists, except for their "one and only truth," are confusing and dangerous.
In my own experience, different therapists and forms of therapy have opened deeper and wider doors to my soul, cleared my mind and connected me more and more with my true self. During every therapeutic journey, various problems can arise; although a good therapist may be able to help many clients, he sometimes can disappoint a client. The truth is that clients need to be encouraged to trust themselves and their unconscious – not the beliefs of gurus or therapists. Good therapy develops the clients' inner trust that they carry the vital answers for their own processes and lives within themselves. They have the human right to make up their own minds and trust their own observations and impressions.
Your suspicious ignorance about new therapeutic developments keeps suffering people away from potential therapists and helpful therapy approaches. You burden others with your projections, fears and mistrust as you steer them away from possible help. If we remain on our knees, caught in adoring submission before a therapeutic guru, believing that there is no meaningful help out there – then freedom and life will pass us by. As I trusted myself, I did not find "the perfect" therapist – but I found compassionate humans, without arrogance, open for my pain, for the truth of my history and traumatic experiences, and for all my feelings – also my protest and rebellion – who wanted me to be myself. I know that I came alive and grew in my work with them because they granted me the chance to begin to trust in myself, in life, in compassion and human relations, step by step, growth by growth. I learned particularly through my IFS work to appreciate and trust my true self, to get closer and closer to it, and to fulfill my dream to live true to myself, one step at a time.
Many of your followers probably believe your degrading, untrue words about me, my work and IFS therapy. Like they were programmed by their powerful, once idealized parents, they see you with the eyes of intimidated children who believe the slandered victim to be wrong – but the self-proclaimed authority to always be in the right. When someone is judgmentally excoriated, not only the victim but also others tend to believe that the bullying attack must be justified – especially if they were abused as children by parental bullies. The victims were programmed to regard abusive behavior by almighty authorities as righteous, and this belief has been imprinted early and thoroughly. When we advise the victim to move on and ignore what happened, we look the other way and the silent-bystander is born. The attitude of the silent bystander supports bullying attacks and their inherent injustice, is on the attacker's side and buries the victim's dignity completely. Now the victim must not only suffer the unjust attack but also remain silent about it: the laugh is always on the loser. In an atmosphere and culture where, beginning in childhood, aggressive perpetrators are presumed innocent and in the right, solely exercising their “duty to discipline,” public opinion remains on the perpetrators' side – while the victims are blamed and cheated out of their human rights. This unspeakable injustice produces life-long, devastating consequences for the development of children, their self-confidence and sense of justice. Few realize the victim's suffering, recognize her right to be heard, and the need for traumatic experiences to be witnessed and believed. Usually, powerful bullies get away without repercussions for their abusive behavior, especially when they degrade, lecture and abuse their children.
In the end, the bully has not only undermined the victim's trust in herself, but also the trust of others in the victim, her integrity, her abilities, her experiences, in the quality and essence of her work – without presenting any evidence, just by attacking the victim with libelous slander. At the same time as the victim is advised to remain silent, she is held at fault not only for the attack but also for remaining silent. Hit by a doubly whammy of guilt and blame, the victim has no way out as she is treacherously robbed of her credibility and dignity – when it is in fact the bully that lacks credibility and integrity.
The motif of blaming the victim runs like a red thread through education, therapy and societal beliefs. The belief that the victim must somehow deserve the abusive treatment pervades the thinking of many people. Many observers do not encourage the victim to speak up but to give in and remain silent. Fortunately, there are people in my life who support me to speak up, among them members of the our.childhood forum who expressed to me that we die if we do not voice our truth. Their enlightened understanding; the encouragement of friends; reading "Stalking the Soul;" and watching the Swedish movie "As it is in Heaven" have helped me realize that the victim is not to blame but has the right to stand up to bullies, slander and lies. When we allow a victim to be falsely blamed, we allow not only the truth to be quashed, but we also become gutless bystanders as destruction and evil unfold.
Therapy is, above all, about coming alive; and anger is a vital part of our aliveness that was often crushed and warped in childhoods where it was regarded as the exclusive possession of parental imperiousness. In abusive childhoods, anger, rage and hatred are forbidden self-expression for the suffering children and solely permitted for powerful parents. Parental hands and mouths misused these destructive weapons of disrespectful fury to degrade, control and silence their dependent children. Disenfranchised children were not allowed to feel and voice their anger and outrage over the abuse and injustices, which they had to endure in muted, unconscious suffering. This is why authentic anger plays an important part in therapy where we are empowered to welcome back ALL our feelings. The hate-filled nature of these inhumane practices cause havoc for a child’s sense of self and trust in life and other humans – but in therapy, we can feel their emotional impact, voice our rebellion and rebuild our confidence in our true self.
Contrary to authentic anger, we can observe the other, destructive kind of wide-spread rage when people vent self-righteously their irascible fury: authoritarian parents, embittered divorced spouses, tyrannical superiors, domineering know-it-all authorities among them. But a bully's rage never heals or improves anything. Like a pressure cooker, the bully is ready to explode and let off steam – old rage and hatred – but towards innocent others who do not deserve it. Good therapy lets us to realize when we act out from dissociated parts and allows the denied pain to emerge from behind misplaced rage and hatred.
Bullies exploit an imbalance of power. Their aggression demands control, exploits dependency and targets people who are in some way dependent, emotionally and often financially. Bullies vent their destructive internalizations to boost their might and mask deep insecurities and fears. They debase and slam when they have the inner urge – and because they have the power to get away with it. They inflict hurt and self-doubt to crush the victim's self-confidence; her ability to live in dignity and work freely; her right to be treated with respect, also respect for her work and efforts, and to express opinions of her own. The lies spread about me – meant to damage my work and the IFS approach – speak of envy for those who bravely dare innovative therapeutic work.
Abusive bullying behaviors take advantage of childhood imprinting and aim to undermine our trust in ourselves. They want to turn us into blind followers and adoring worshippers of omniscient superiors. They want to annihilate our human core, our vital essence and our sense of self-worth. They claim to know who and what we are, what we need and deserve. Overbearing bullies thrive in a climate of violence, degradation and blame. Patronizingly, they believe themselves above the truth, beyond doubt and criticism. We escape their evil curse when our justified, authentic anger helps us see through their destructive intentions and empowers us be on our side.
Therapy is not limited to raging, and therapy may never enforce a therapist's authoritarian beliefs on the client. How can we experience and learn trust in ourselves if we must follow self-righteous leaders once again? Therapy is about much more than raging: It is about defining who we are; what OUR values are – contrary to the inhumane ones that were enforced into us in childhood; how we want and need to live; and what tasks and callings we want to dedicate our lives to. Restoring our vitality, integrity and health is already a most worthwhile and valuable calling that sets us miles apart from destructive denial.
Adoring followers were programmed as children to believe authorities, no matter how absurd and deceitful their claims. Parental reproaches, which for example branded the child for supposedly being selfish, mendacious or cruel, actually concealed parental selfishness, cruelty and hypocrisy; yet, the victim and silent bystanders have trouble to see through this treacherous ploy. Bullies inflict shame and humiliation on their inferiors – but feel no shame and regret for their destructive and shameful abuse. A brain programmed to inflict pain cannot change unless the devastating pain of the victim has been felt. When our minds open up for the truth, we see that the bullies’ greatest obsessions manifest their greatest inner curses, what they fear most.
Bullying, vindictive manipulation, contempt and deception constitute betrayal and mark abusive relationships. Bullies begrudge others what they lack themselves and what distinguishes their victims, whatever that may be: vitality, integrity, compassion, truthfulness, warmth, inner freedom, dignity, curiosity, courage, the richness of their feelings, the brave exploration of their inner life, their ability to express needs, and their strength to be true to themselves. Bullies do not acknowledge and explore their unwelcome feelings but deny their pain, envy and harmful parts acting out.
The answer to bullying cannot be pleasing conformity and moral cowardice – but veracious resistance, also by those who have witnessed the aggressive assault. The bullies' infamous games can be stopped only if we have the courage to stand up to them.
Acting out from a raging bully-part signals an alarming therapeutic dead-end street. Therapy has failed if one cannot distinguish between being in one's true self – or a dissociated self. We are not liberated, and our approach to therapy is exposed as unsuccessful, if we remain stuck in dissociation and cannot address this severe suffering in our therapeutic work. It is obvious that your approach to therapy is not only blind towards your own pernicious, wreckful parts but also executes the old curse that strength, vitality and integrity must be extinguished if they stand in one’s way. Without the work of creating awareness of our dissociated parts, we have no chance to escape them and change our inner system, formed by our parents' beliefs and internalized through their hurtful, destructive mistreatment. Our inner system will continue to tread in our parents' footsteps unless we are supported by helpful therapists and meaningful approaches to therapy that empower us to change our parts. But if we believe every feeling to be authentic, and our acting-out to be appropriate – then we cannot hope to connect with our true selves.
It is a horrific insight that you abuse the enormous power, which you have over so many survivors' minds and souls, to mislead them like a pied piper into a therapeutic and emotional dead-end street. Victims of child abuse and neglect turn to you, Alice, full of trust, hope and confidence that you know the way to healing. You certainly support and nourish their desperate hopes as you claim to know all that one needs to know about it: "Confront the reality of our parents" and "work with patients mistreated in childhood who need to feel eventually their deeply repressed rage to become free." Anger and outrage are of course an important part of a liberating therapeutic process. My anger has always been my lover:
My anger has written countless "letters," most of them never sent, to people who hurt me; thus I could connect with my feelings and see through what was going on. My anger has helped me realize, too, how my traumatic childhood suffering induced me to serve you devotedly to the point of exhaustion and self-sacrifice. It has supported me to liberate myself from lies, bullying, deceit and oppression.
But rage could not ease, much less HEAL, the conflicting arguments and irrational ways of thinking that often used to paralyze my mind. Raging did not help me take an honest look at myself and could not resolve these obsessive fights in my mind and of overpowering feelings and fears that haunted me. Rage could not free the parts of me that were bound to crazy beliefs and harmful ways of acting-out – but communicating with my parts did change them. Despite your insights about the impact of child abuse and neglect and your therapeutic journey, you are still unaware of how you are stuck in unacknowledged parts that continue to believe and act out old, familiar, internalized, destructive patterns.
It is a violent rape of body and soul to plunge them again and again into a supposed therapy goal of having to feel and vent rage, submitting them to a furious part that knows nothing else but to lash out in irrational irascibility because the underlying pain and fear have not been felt and healed in therapy. Anger that comes up truthfully is of course an important part of therapy; but it is destructive to force body and soul into anger when instead deep pain, grief, sorrow and agony need to be witnessed with compassion by client and therapist, and when parts need to be reached, understood and liberated. If therapists expect rage in moments of primal anguish, they push down a vital pain that needs to be felt. The outrage over what happened will arise when the client is ready and authentically feels it, accompanied by the therapist's indignation and support. Forced rage and acting-out from a rage-filled bully-part serve the goal of suppressing devastating pain. The belief that rage is the most important way to inner freedom thus is unmasked as an oppressive weapon to silence our deepest screams from childhood. People mired in vengeful and bitter parts must confront their severe dissociation in therapy to free their true selves.
Your attack exemplifies how much your therapeutic approach has disconnected you from your true self. Your concept of the true self is outdated and anachronistic. It is absurd to believe that confronting "the reality of our parents" and voicing the "deeply repressed rage to become free" constitutes a sufficient therapy concept that empowers clients in therapy to deal with dissociative suffering and to recognize when they are in their true self.
There are so many feelings caused by trauma, experienced during childhood, but suppressed ever since, waiting in every client to be released, expressed and heard – among them of course anger, rage and hatred, the most condemned and forbidden ones, still today labeled by so many as "negative feelings" and silenced by the lie of forgiveness. But therapy is not based on pushing a client into feeling something that s/he does not (yet) feel. It is the client who is in charge of her/his therapeutic journey, healing and needs. How can you claim that one is only free if one feels the deeply repressed rage? I raged and cried for years in Stettbacher's written therapy; it helped me realize a lot about my childhood and present realities, and it empowered me to make contact with important needs. But it was lonely and stressful work that did not free me from the curse of dissociation. To advise raging as an all-cure tool is a therapeutic dead-end street that drags others into the abyss of your own personal tragedy, into a hopeless vicious circle through the way in which you have allowed yourself to become stuck in a rageful bully-part and even sell this as THE "one and only" successful therapeutic concept.
We are on a dangerous path if rage becomes the predominant feeling at the expense of other important feelings that we need to explore in therapy, and if the beliefs of a therapist limit the therapeutic work. Authentic anger informs us about injustices that we endured in the past and suffer in the here and now; it shows us the truth; it is on our side and wants to protect us. But a rageful bully-part has nothing to do with authentic anger – it is the blind epitomization of the internalized mistreatment, beliefs and attitudes of abusive, arrogant, controlling parents and their greed for power. Rage that is unleashed unjustly against weaker, inferior subordinates who have caused us no harm is not acting authentically from our true self but acting out from a part still chained to the dramas of childhood.
There is a profound difference between bullying and speaking up from just anger. It is brave and humane to stand up to those that continue to believe not only in abusive practices but also in acting them out. Our authentic and righteous anger supports the clarity and power of our self-expression, but it has no need to bully others, and least of all if they are our friends and allies. No matter how long it takes us to voice our truth – every human being has his own way of working through trauma and takes his own time for this challenging process. And what a beautiful victory for the truth it is when we are freed to speak up and courageous, authentic self-expression is set free.
Judith Herman writes in her book “Trauma and Recovery:”
“Although dissociative alterations in consciousness, or even intoxication, may be adaptive at the moment of total helplessness, they become maladaptive once the danger is past. Because these altered states keep the traumatic experience walled off from ordinary consciousness, they prevent the integration necessary for healing. Unfortunately, the constructed or dissociative states, like other symptoms of the post-traumatic stress syndrome, prove to be remarkably tenacious. Lifton likened "psychic numbing" which he found to be universal in survivors of disaster and war, to a "paralysis of the mind." – “The child victim prefers to believe that abuse did not occur. In the service of this wish, she tries to keep the abuse a secret from herself. The means she has at her disposal are frank denial, voluntary suppression of thoughts, and a legion of dissociative reactions. The capacity for induced trance or dissociative states, normally high in school-age children, is developed to a fine art in children who have been severely punished or abused.”
Dissociation is a devastating burden of traumatic childhoods; when I sensed how it made me suffer, I entered IFS therapy. Often, one particular part takes control and rules the inner system to keep the child safe and fulfill parental expectations; at times, various parts fight over who is in control. Through other traumatic circumstances, other parts may emerge, take over or begin another fight. Also during adulthood, shocking traumatic experiences can create new parts or trigger dormant dissociated parts that suddenly can change a person's way of being. Only an honest look at our inner system and at our dissociated parts can help us care for our inner splits and find ways to nurture and strengthen our connection with our true self.
The concept of "the inner child" can certainly not convey the dissociative multitude and sequelae of traumatic suffering that an abused and neglected child's body and mind must manage. As a child copes with many different traumatic experiences, each one leaves behind different traces in the cellular memory of her body and for the neurodevelopment of her brain. During different ages and different stages of a child's development, traumas bring forth parts that separate us from our true self.
It takes courage to search for our true self and for a truthful therapist to accompany us on that journey. It takes even more courage to enter into a therapeutic relationships, to trust the therapists that we choose, and also to deal with disappointment and pain when we outgrow them. Any search for the "perfect therapist" with the "one and only true therapy approach" keeps us entrapped in debilitating beliefs formed by terrified children. There are many therapists and forms of therapy – only we ourselves can find out who and what helps us move on. Personally, I have benefited from all therapists and forms of therapy that I had the privilege to work with in Chicago. Despite certain limitations, I know that I could accomplish a lot of healing, changing and growing with all three of my therapists. They were not afraid of but open for my feelings; they sincerely tried and wanted to understand me; they were on my side; and none of them ever advised forgiveness or tried to silence me or my screams and pain with poisonous pedagogy or bullying arrogance. It has been a truly healing experience that two of my therapists, the men, handled my letters of protest and my need to share what had troubled me in our therapy by responding truthfully with sympathetic, hand written letters.
What I have learned from each different therapy approach has come together and lives within me, and benefits my own personal work as well as my work with my clients. Each form of therapy empowered me in different ways. At first, I was fortunate to work with a psychoanalyst, dedicated to the ideas of Heinz Kohut, who welcomed my feelings and worked without labels, drugs and judgmental blame. But I struggled hard in the throes of the strong feelings that came out. Through my IFS experiences I know that these feelings could have been addressed more effectively and would have caused me less confusion and suffering if, from the beginning, an awareness had been created how dissociation affects the human psyche. Later, Stettbacher's primal therapy let me deal with my feelings on my own and become aware of my needs.
I knew that I had to go my own way and trust myself when in 1997 a dream showed me that I was angry with you, Alice, for having sent me into two "parking lots:" psychoanalysis and primal therapy, where I had been prevented from living my life freely. So I looked for and chose approaches to therapy that met my needs, IFS and DMT (Dance Movement Therapy). I still treasure the creativity and the appreciation of my body, of movement, of my intuition and creativity that were nurtured through my unorthodox DMT therapist.
In IFS therapy I became open for recognizing when and how I dissociated, and I learned to listen to and believe my parts, their memories and feelings so that the reality of many traumas could become conscious. My parts and their information about past traumatic ordeals dared to come out because I worked in the actual presence of compassionate human beings. When dreams and feelings asked me to leave my work with my therapists, I had to understand what had felt limiting about our work. By writing "spirituality cements childhood blindness," I freed myself from my spiritual illusions. By writing THIS essay, I am liberating myself from the "fog of admiration" that also had clouded the clarity of my perceptions. Growing closer to our true self is definitely a work of art in progress.
Today, I am so very glad that I did not know your FAQ list and TRUSTED MY SELF, MY FEELINGS, MY DREAMS, MY UNCONSCIOUS when I looked for and chose my therapists and helpful, progressive therapy approaches. IFS and DMT nurtured not only my creativity but also the creativity of my own inner healing. My unconscious, my dreams and feelings let me know when and with what therapist I could do meaningful work and grow; they also told me when it was time to leave, to look for a new therapist and therapy approach; or when it was time to go back into therapy and with whom. Also my disappointments have provided me with vital insights; empowered me to confront new and changed needs; and helped me leave illusions and idealizations behind. My disappointments, also the great one with you, became empowering paths of discovery that connected me in stronger and deeper ways with my true self.
When I wonder why I did not sooner recognize the truth, I comfort myself with the fact that someone needed to make this real, alive experience in order to bring to light the failure of your therapy concept, someone with the courage and strength to face this shocking truth, to share it with others and warn them.
Marie-France Hirigoyen writes in “Stalking the Soul” about emotional abuse that we suffer as adults that it "settles in so insidiously that it is often difficult to recognize and, in turn, to defend oneself against. Taking charge can rarely be accomplished alone. When one is confronted by a clearly aggressive attack, psychotherapeutic help is often necessary. One can say that a psychological attack has taken place when the dignity of an individual has been harmed by the conduct of another individual. The victim's mistake lies in not demanding respect and in not realizing soon enough that the limits and boundaries of their integrity have been crossed. Instead, they absorb the assaults like sponges. They must define what is acceptable to them and, in doing so, define themselves."
Shocked by the trauma of being bullied by you, I turned again to my former therapist Richard Schwartz because of his caring reply and also because my awareness had been strengthened how important my IFS therapy experience had been for me and formed my view of therapy and the human psyche. This awareness had lain dormant while I worked closely with and trusted you. When I trusted my need, he and I began again to do good therapeutic work together in November of 2008, and a dream confirmed my path. Our renewed cooperation corroborated my experience that genuine forgiveness, at its heart, is a matter of trust. Shared anger and disappointment opened the doors to more honesty. The redundant, euphemistic and disempowering demand for forgiveness does not care if truth and trust are rebuilt after an injury to a relationship. When the causer of hurt acknowledges the injured party's pain, shows interest in her hurt feelings and deviating thoughts, and realizes the harm done – then trust is restored. Only caring, open and honest communication can rebuild trustfulness and caring, truthful relationships.
My trust in my own therapeutic observations and experiences has been deeply strengthened as I witness you trapped in destructive parts. No longer can I trust anyone who claims to have the "one and only" effective therapy concept. Today I am proud that I trusted myself and my unconscious for most of my therapeutic journey and worked with therapists whom I had chosen according to MY dreams, feelings and needs. My endurance and my brave and patient work have given me the clarity to understand my body when it warned me that I was, once again, in a precarious situation, this time with you. It is obvious that you are not pleased how I have grown. Although you encouraged me to work as a therapist, you decimated me and my therapeutic experience when I no longer could be your admiring servant. My therapists were the ones who supported me with their recommendations  so that I successfully got my work permit. They took my rebellious criticism in stride and valued qualities in me, which you appreciated and took advantage of for years – only to denounce them in the end as if I have no value, no worth, no therapeutic qualities. Words fail me when I think of how you benefited from these qualities and my experience with IFS therapy, even made use of it on your website – without honestly revealing the origins, without giving proper credit – but by trashing this therapy approach and me.
Your approach has led you into an emotional and intellectual dead-end street. Domination by a rageful bully-part does not show trust in one's true self but indicates a severe and disturbed separation from the true self. Mature, open and honest communication – not only within but also around us – is nurtured when we are open for our pain, for all our feelings, and can embrace and liberate our dissociated parts. Instead of letting unconscious envy act out and inflict pain on others for their strength, clarity and other qualities, we learn to observe when and why we are, for example, in an envious, furious or bitter part. Then we have no need to lash out with hateful contempt to diminish, even annihilate what is valuable, truth-loving, powerful and precious in others. Humans who cannot become conscious in therapy of their dissociations must suffer needlessly and inflict senseless harm and pain on innocent others. Now that I see clearly the distinction between authentic anger and bullying, I am more determined than ever to trust how I have come to see helpful therapeutic work through my own experiences, and to value my passion for the truth, as well as my keen ability to observe and assess reality.
The vital need of each child is to be valued, seen and appreciated. When children are responded to with respect, love and joy, their sense of self and self-worth flourish. If this need is crushed, its unfulfilled anguish drives us into the fog of admiration. Either we turn into self-obsessed admiration-addicts that cannot tolerate in others thoughts and feelings that deviate from what we expect of them. Or we become devoted servants who believe that their life has meaning only when they bestow admiration upon those that crave it. Children's self-worth is crushed and their strength perverted into the coercion to please if they do not receive joyous appreciation. Parts, soaked with the anguish of being unwelcome and rejected since life's beginning, were silenced by other parts that want to protect us from this pain and buy into the corruption that admiration sustains relationships and grants a sense of worth. The experience of love is replaced by the compulsion to admire and the illusion that admiration endows us with love.
Effective therapy provides a tool to FEEL this early, shattering pain and allow the long withheld grief and outrage to emerge. But in the absence of facing this primal pain, the fog of admiration functions like a lifeline that we desperately cling to: either to bathe in admiration or to grant admiration. Thus we keep the childish idealization of our parents' goodness alive, which abused and neglected children disproportionately require to survive. The less the child's true self may live, the more her blind admiration grows – to be exploited by her parents, and also by authority figures that take advantage of this sinister mechanism, all too often during the course of the whole life.
While I worked with you, Alice, I did not realize how I was trapped in the fog of admiration. I worked devotedly for you, not only as your assistant for your website: reading, discussing, answering and posting readers' letters, but also generously provided patient, therapeutic, empathic emotional support. I was available and there for you whenever you needed me. In the end, all my efforts notwithstanding, they made no difference as I was transformed into a dangerous enemy that cannot be trusted.
"It is therefore the victims' strong vitality that makes them "fair game" for the abuser. They are compelled to give, and the abuser, to take; what an ideal encounter. Added to which, one refuses to take any blame while the other has a natural tendency to take it." (Stalking the Soul, Marie-France Hirigoyen) How generously did I give: my talents, my empathic, insightful being, and my extensive therapeutic experience. But once again, I served in vain someone who could not let go of the fog of admiration.
It has been a sobering wake-up call to realize that you have not been able to leave the narcissistic prison of your childhood. You have not worked with clients since you gave up your practice as a psychoanalyst, and you did not dare to trust innovative therapists and embark together with them on a real therapeutic journey. How much wider could you have spread your insights about child abuse and neglect if you had risked this journey. We need to have the experience of working in alive therapeutic relationships with our therapists and clients, with proper boundaries, to gain insight into the formation of each unique human soul and mind and into the unique workings of each individual therapeutic process.
I would be furious and full of rage, too, if I had to find myself, after 50 years of therapeutic experience, still trapped in the dissociated prison of my childhood – only to realize that there are other forms of therapy and therapists capable of healing people and bringing out their true selves so that they can see through gurus and even contradict them. I know that I am not the only one who has been bullied by your wrath. It has lashed out against others, too, who work on behalf of the victims of child abuse and neglect when they dared to differ from your views and scratch at your throne, and when you considered their therapeutic journeys beneath you. Your actions and beliefs show that you have not internalized the compassion and healing that can happen when a unique relationship of trust unfolds through engaging in work with courageous, groundbreaking therapists. Your patronizing "advice" is made up of the old parental litany: "it's for your own good" – that gave us the unspoken, or spoken message: “You may not pursue what I could not make come true for my life.” I feel envy and rage coming towards me because I have explored different forms of therapy and worked with brave therapists with integrity who empowered me, despite some setbacks, to connect more and more with my true self.
Caught in the fog of admiration, I believed your judgmental dismissal of my own therapeutic experiences and your modus operandi of casting contempt and condemnation on them. I did not question why you did not want to hear about them. My last illusions about your work were shattered when I realized that I was pushed away from trusting myself and my therapeutic experiences, and when I had to feel the envy implied in this.
Meant to keep me in the fog of admiration, our relationship made use of mechanisms from childhood that foster adoration and dependency. It is excruciatingly painful and hard – in life and therapy – to face the truth about important people in our childhood and lives if they have treated us in better ways than a hurtful, neglectful and abusive parent. We long to, and are easily seduced, to trust other people when they have the ability to understand us, encourage us in unbeknownst ways and talk like deliverers. Zealously, we want to believe that they are our saviors and offer a "way out."
The fog of admiration permeated my childhood and programmed the curse of idealization into me. At first, I was filled with family and religious idealizations that later turned into spiritual and therapeutic idealizations. The poison of idealization was spread maniacally to make me lose my bearings in the fog of admiration, to decompose my integrity, and to quash my clear sight of the truth of my maddening family experiences. The poison of idealization does not allow for emancipated, respectful communication to unfold between two equals with equal rights but replaces it with the coercion to blindly adore and follow. In the fog of admiration, I wandered around like the child who clings to "the good" about her parents. I searched for explanations and found excuses for feeling exhausted and controlled, even for reproachful attacks against me. I have always checked my feelings towards you extra carefully, so I set aside my anger towards you, also in the interest of our common cause, with one of your favorite, slippery reproaches: that one confuses you with one's mother.
In the fog of admiration, we want to believe your claims that you know what the way to healing is: "Confront the reality of our parents" and feel eventually the "deeply repressed rage to become free." But misleading the adult victims of child abuse and neglect is not a sign of healing and of a successful therapeutic journey, but of a self-absorbed guru that stomps down unscrupulously the screams of suffering victims with judgmental intolerance and arrogance. As the fog lifts, your lack of integrity becomes evident in how you deceive others, even people who turn to you full of trust and hope.
The assumptions that you blame onto me, my inner world and its alleged workings have nothing to do with me and who I am. They are excuses and lies to mask your displeasure about a dissenting point of view. The arrogance of another public statement on your website, your second comment  about "Forum Barbara," also demonstrates how disconnected from reality and your true self you are. There you claim that your furious double-talk regarding your volte-face towards the our-childhood forum was probably "too complicated" to understand for those who protested – and you complained that, instead of understanding, you "received heavy personal attacks." The fact is: you cannot hear the victims' screams. If you can so nonchalantly dismiss with contemptuous contortion the pain and the outrage of survivors, whom you affronted, insulted, confused and mistreated all over again, you are not capable of feeling empathy, understanding and regard for them. No matter how much you talk about the importance of feelings and the plight of the victim – you are deaf to hear the victims' pain and screams, including your own. Your unauthentic raging only reinforces your denial and demonstrates how rage silences disowned anguish.
You need the "fog of admiration" around you, and you can exploit it because this fog obfuscates the clear view of your trusting, devoted followers. The fog of admiration must fill the void of worthlessness if this childhood sorrow was never felt. If therapy does not allow us to confront it, we are compelled to recreate with others this earliest narcissistic childhood hell, and to seduce others into believing that this hell is paradise. No matter if we do this as parents; or as spiritual, religious, therapeutic or political leaders; or as dependent disciples – the fog of admiration is a dangerous trap that is anathema to the truth, stifles our freedom of expression and makes open, equal and honest communication impossible.
No matter if we crave and demand admiration, or live as devotees in the service of admired leaders, or do both – our lives still follow the old pattern that relationships are about pleasing others or being pleased. When we step out of the fog of admiration, we leave behind an old, daunting pattern of self-denial, claim our self worth and ascertain that our lives matter. Then our mourning over having wasted so much of our lives clears the way for the joy that every day, our lives can make a difference and touch others as we seek the truth together. We discover how liberated and worthwhile our lives feel if we no longer serve the craving for admiration but care for ourselves, our vital relationships, our work and calling. We realize that our value lies in nurturing our innate qualities, and in sharing our potential and experiences with others. And we become aware that our strength no longer has to be denied but may unfold, and inspire, and truly serve others.
The IFS approach is not limited to tearing open old wounds but creates empowering steps of healing and builds trust in our true self. IFS therapy gave me the gift to extend compassion to myself – my inner world, my inner system, to all my parts: the split-off agonies, overwhelming feelings and desperate beliefs formed at various ages through different traumatic experiences. How wistfully and forsaken did they wait inside of me to be heard, believed, appreciated, healed and changed. IFS allowed me to see myself NOT any longer as a terrified coward, a fearful denier, a confused self-doubter, a cruel aggressor – or whatever role the agony of certain parts may have forced onto me – but as a human being with a true self, capable of creating understanding, harmony and healing within myself – AND with others who are also on this path and search and fight for the truth. Thus, IFS therapy is capable to create benign, humane, compassionate relationships with ourselves and with others who are open for it.
Therapy is not a competition of who has the best therapy concept or who is the best or the perfect therapist. Therapy is not about driving more shame and blame into clients for their self-defeating beliefs, perverted cravings, self-destructive ways of acting out and terrifying feelings that haunt them. Therapy is about finding the origins of these (self) destructive mechanisms, about healing and changing them, and about placing blame and guilt where they belong: on those that hurt, harmed, abused and betrayed us, on the perpetrators, past and present. After childhoods filled with terror and horror of inhumane violence in all its destructive forms: mental, emotional, physical and sexual – where trustful and humane relations were brutally destroyed and never could develop – therapy is about building trust: trust in our therapists, other humans and above all in ourselves. Compassion will not live around us if compassionate communication cannot unfold inside of us.
Like every human life, also every therapeutic journey is a unique, most individual experience. We all learn and grow in our very own, different, inimitable ways, no matter if, for example, we want to play a musical instrument or bring about change for our suffering through therapy. Good teachers and good therapists are responsive to their students' or clients' individual needs and unique struggles, receptive to their innate qualities and essence. What may benefit one human being may not reach another, or only later, at another time. As therapists we accompany our clients in their quest to get in touch with their feelings and history so that they can become aware of traumatic past AND present realities. As therapists, we nurture our clients' inherent creativity and healing power. By helping them recognize and change dissociated parts that are in their way, we empower them to connect time and time again with their true selves. We support their sense of justice and reality as we listen to and believe the traumatic truth of their lives, past and present. We encourage our clients' trust in their unconscious and in themselves – but not in our therapy methods or agendas, not in our personal beliefs and values, not in the illusion that we have all the answers for their lives and for healing their souls.
In June of 2008, I wrote to you in an email: "...in the past week, my work with you and with Richard Schwartz were validated and joined together within me. As if now I can do my own inner work as well as my therapeutic work with trust in BOTH therapy concepts." Through my work with you, I learned to name even more intrepidly the past AND present traumatic realities of a suffering human being; to appreciate even deeper my authentic anger; and about the importance of "Indignation as a Vehicle of Therapy" - (http://www.alice-miller.com/articles_en.php?lang=en&nid=54&grp=11), a form of active therapeutic engagement developed by your French assistant Brigitte Oriol. It is a great tool for a therapist to allow and express feelings of her own that let her be clearly on the victim's, and on the child's side and thus break the lonely abandonment that marked the horror of being at the mercy of parental and other bullies.
My IFS work granted me a powerful tool to help dissociated parts. Above all, I learned to BELIEVE the traumatic memories that parts so amazingly share when they are approached in an understanding and compassionate way through respectful inner communication. IFS let me extend compassion to my inner world and its parts. IFS encouraged me to connect with my true self in increasingly deeper and stronger ways through the experience of self-leadership. One of the reasons why I chose IFS therapy was my intuitive realization that I needed help to resolve the problems that dissociation caused for my mind and soul and that all my crying and raging in primal therapy had not eased. Another important reason why I chose IFS therapy was that mainly the client is supported to become her own therapist – and that the path to healing emerges creatively from within the client. Writing primal therapy, I had already become my own therapist, learned to trust my unconscious, and taken charge of my therapy and life. A client in charge trusts herself and her unconscious. She will choose a form of therapy that suits her needs. If she outgrows a form of therapy and what it has to offer, she will find whatever helps her grow further by trusting her intuition.
My experience has been that without the actual experience of working with a compassionate and innovative therapist, the wounds from childhood cannot heal. Wounds that were caused through being in relationship need to be addressed, witnessed and healed by being in a DIFFERENT kind of relationship than the hopeless abusive and neglectful ones endured powerlessly and defenselessly in childhood. We need to make NEW and DIFFERENT experiences in a respectful, supportive, enlightening and healing relationship to realize what mistreatment means. We need to experience what it feels like when our true self, our dignity, integrity and truth are nurtured with understanding and compassion.
Therapeutic work is more powerful and goes deeper in the presence of a therapist because overwhelming feelings and controlling parts dare to emerge in the therapist's witnessing presence. The therapist guides and accompanies, through questions and comments, the client's work throughout each session so that the once abandoned child can awaken and begin to trust because she no longer is devastated by loneliness. Therapists need a tool to help their clients become aware of how dissociation effects the human psyche and to address dissociation respectfully and humanely in their therapeutic work. What we never had as children, we need as adults in order to heal: the presence of a compassionate, truthful, alive witness who is on our side. Here is an example of my recent personal IFS work during a session with Richard Schwartz: "I will go crazy if I see the truth" - (http://www.screamsfromchildhood.com/session_IFS_therapy.html)
This session demonstrates how parts heal and change if client and therapist comprehend those parts’ agonies with compassion and value their input. You showed no interest in and I did not encounter curiosity and openness for my therapeutic experience of working with parts. Instead, you condemn authentic therapy experiences that grant new ways of inner communication and healing.
Freed from your beliefs, I can trust myself and my intuition like never before; and I feel satisfied as empowering therapeutic work unfolds with my clients and for myself. Good therapy encourages us to get in touch with and trust our true selves. A good therapist is a compassionate, supportive witness, on the client's side, open for the truth of our childhoods and the reality of our present lives. No matter if I do therapeutic work with my clients, or if I do my own personal therapeutic work by myself or with my therapist – I trust that our souls and minds will lead us to whatever form of therapeutic work is helpful. I also trust that our true selves desire and support our healing and growth. My true self accompanies my clients as their therapeutic journeys and needs unfold with the same awareness, interest and compassion that I extend towards myself. My true self is with empathy, indignation, openness and curiosity on their side and empowers them to reveal the truth of their traumas and feelings, the reasons for their suffering, which their inner world had to keep in secret for so long.
In IFS, I have learned to no longer doubt but instead trust and believe the traumas that come up and need to be shared and grasped. If we were abused and neglected children, there are many dissociated parts in our way that make this quest to connect with our true selves a challenge, over and over again. But the joy, satisfaction and peace that I feel when I speak and live from my true self are indescribable. My true self helps my client's parts and my own parts heal and change. My true self fights for the truth, even if parts of me cannot bear to face it. If my inner and outer communication is blocked, my true self reaches my dissociated parts with sincere understanding, nurtures my growth and enriches my therapeutic work with others through compassionate communication. In my work as a therapist, I do not see myself acting out from a part that was the obedient, understanding attendant of narcissistic parents – but I consider myself as an encouraging, inspiring companion of my clients for their pursuit of freedom, dignity, integrity, truth, contentment and their aspiration to own their lives.
Through my IFS therapy work, I made the important experience that the true self looks at and questions all my feelings, thoughts, beliefs and ways of acting out. It communicates with everything going on inside of me and decides which feelings are authentic, which feelings I really need and want to express, as well as to whom, where, how and in what way. My true self helps me see which feelings stem from "parts" whose obsessive beliefs and feelings are blinding me and keeping me stuck in the prison of my childhood. The true self helps me find out when I am in the throes of a part and cling to beliefs and feelings, forced upon me in my childhood, that I need to question in order to liberate and empower me to stand up for my integrity, dignity and truth. My true self helps me through thoughtful, compassionate inner communication find, choose and follow a way of action so that I can live true to myself and give voice to my truth. (See my article "Insights about therapy and IFS therapy": http://www.screamsfromchildhood.com/IFS.html)
As my trust in my true self and my values grows stronger, I look back at my therapeutic journey with pride, also at the three years that I worked for you and your website, Alice; through our cooperation, I learned a lot, and my trust in myself grew because I could do meaningful work that remains very dear to my heart.
During these past months, I have realized once again the vital importance of sharing a traumatic experience with others. Talking about it was a strong need. So I want to end by thanking all those who listened, understood and encouraged me. While I worked on this paper, I could make a deeply moving and empowering experience: Unlike the time when I suffered the hostile rejection and divisive, vengeful manipulations of my mother when she turned my siblings against me because I began to speak up – this time, I was not alone but accompanied by compassion and encouragement. It has healed deep wounds that I had supportive friends on my side, among them outspoken and courageous members of the our.childhood international forum, who did not allow themselves to be manipulated and bullied. The loneliness, which I once suffered through being cast out by my family, was not repeated. I feel fortunate that this traumatic experience did not become a nightmare of isolation but a celebration of deepened and strengthened human connections. "Escape from the fog of admiration" could not have been written without the support of courageous, empathic, emotionally open and insightful people: members of the our.childhood forum, among them Basha, Blue Whale, Cherryplum, Donald, Ceidren, Mary Ann Ribble-Brock, Pam Jacobs, Mia, Fran and Marion; my true friends who accompanied me during this trying time, especially Sieglinde Alexander, "Adults Abused as Children" - http://www.aaacworld.org; and my therapist Richard Schwartz, "The Center for Self Leadership" - http://www.selfleadership.org, who remained on my side to help me free the parts of me that did not dare to face the truth. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
© Barbara Rogers, February 2009
The following text is Alice Miller's original answer to a reader's letter, published on her website www.alice-miller.com on September 28th, 2008:
Alice Miller: You are asking me not to publish your letter and I will respect your wish, so I am responding here only to your question why I no longer mention Barbara's forum on my website. Here is my answer: It is only recently that I fully realized the negative sides of the IFS that I didn't take seriously enough before. Before it reminded me of a kind of negotiating with different parts like used in therapies of multiple personalities and I thought it was more or less harmless. I even once thought that Barbara could BECOME a therapist with my help but today I would no longer say this because I think that working with IFS can’t help to confront the reality of our parents and to work with patients mistreated in childhood who need to feel eventually their deeply repressed rage to become free. I think that the IFS, like so many other methods was developed exactly to AVOID the confrontation with one's parents out of fear that everybody knows. Thus it is an INTERNAL SYSTEM. Today, after some new experiences, I see it much more clearly. SO I CAN'T RECOMMEND A FORUM THAT WORKS WITH A METHOD, WHICH CONTRADICTS WITH THE CONCEPT OF THERAPY THAT I DEVELOPPED AFTER 50 YEARS OF THERAPEUTIC EXPERIENCE.
Concerning Norman I do think indeed that one can give up his blindness in 3 years if one has the courage to feel and to fully see the reality of one's childhood so he can become free from the confusion of his parents. Norman's developpement shows that this is possible and MANY of people writing to this mailbox confirm that they did not need decades to change. But if you are trapped in confusion full of fear even decades can’t be enough to change. There are hundreds of therapies concepts offered on the Internet that try to help by avoiding the truth about the child mistreatments like IFS but they don't succeed as long as they are afraid of the patients hidden rage. Norman seems to be able to overcome this fear because he doesn’t deny it and can thus honestly work on it. He doesn’t need to be a guru to feel well about himself.
You are free to send my response to the address you gave me because the issue concerns also others. I didn't abandon anybody, I only owe them a honest answer to the question that I suppose you asked me also in the name of other participants. My name has been removed from the list so I can't post this letter to your forum. As the forum is not a cult group and it hopefully will not become as such, I suppose that the letter will be published. In any case it will be published here.
Letters of recommendation
To whom it may concern:
I treated Barbara Rogers in weekly or bi-weekly psychotherapy for six years, ending in November of 2003. I used the form of psychotherapy that I developed called the Internal Family Systems Model (IFS) (Selfleadership.org), which involves having the client focus within on intense emotions and beliefs and developing new ways of relating to these internal subpersonalities known as parts; a kind of inner reparenting process.
Barbara took to this therapy extremely well and in addition to doing important personal work, became intrigued with the process to the point of reading everything she could find about the model, making clay sculpture of her parts, and attending the annual IFS conference in 2000.
It is my belief that Barbara would make an excellent therapist, not only because of the personal work that she has done, but because she also is an earnest student of psychotherapy. Between her extensive work with Alice Miller and her extensive study of and experience with IFS, she is well prepared for working with clients. In Addition, she is extremely intelligent and has a warm, soothing presence. She knows how to listen to clients with empathy and to help them focus inside to find answers to their problems.
Richard C. Schwartz
My name is Gina Demos. I am a dance and movement therapist practicing in Chicago, Illinois since 1971. I had the privilege of working with Barbara Rogers in dance and movement therapy for 6 years, beginning in the late 1990's.
Throughout the years we worked on issues ranging from infancy to present day challenges. Our work focused on body-felt experiences of the past and present. Core issues were relationship with parents, siblings, spouses, and children. Our deepest work involved her relationship to her self and all parts of her self in the face of enormous challenges and the journey toward truth and healing.
Because of Barbara's developed talent and creativity we were able to use many artistic modes to further insight and expression. These included dance, movement, music, poetry and other forms of written work, as well as drawing, scuplture and photography.
Her body expression was very powerful and she increasingly became aware of deeper truths as they emerged. Her devotion and commitment to the truth marked the unfolding of our work.
Because of her own healing and her desire to help others who are suffering, as well as her honesty and sensitivity, I think that Barbara Rogers would be of great assistance to others and make a very good therapist.
 Second comment about "Forum Barbara:"
AM: Unfortunately, I didn't succeed to make myself understandable with my explanations in my response to you. They were probably too complicated because instead of understanding I received heavy personal attacks. So I will try again, in a more simple way:
1. I fully respect Barbara's decision to work independently from my ideas. Why should she be assistant for her whole life?
2. She is free to use in her forum every kind of therapy, also the IFS, even if I consider it as harmful, because she is now free from my opinion.
3. But I can't recommend a therapeutic method that I don't appreciate. This would mean violating my conviction that I don't want to do.
Please let me know if now I was clear enough to be understood.