I'll be the first to admit that I'm normally not a big movie buff. However, I am excited to see the new film A Dangerous Method centered on the relationship between Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud and Sabina Spielrein. The film stars Michael Fassbender as Jung, Viggo Mortenson as Freud and Keira Knightley as Spielrien.
While you may be familiar with the friendship and later enmity between Jung and Freud, Spielrein is a less familiar figure. While she is best-known as Jung's patient and lover, she was an important psychoanalyst in her own right. During the early years of their friendship, Jung and Freud apparently talked about Spielrein considerably and their discussions about her case likely had a major influence on the early development of psychoanalysis.
Spielrein went on to become a psychiatrist and played a major role in introducing psychoanalysis in Russia. She also introduced the concept of death instincts, an idea that Freud later built upon and adapted as his own.
So why did Spielrein remain in obscurity for so long? Her life was cut tragically short in 1941, when she was killed by the Nazi's in Russia. While she wrote more than 30 papers, all were in French and German and many of her writings have yet to be translated. It wasn't until the 1970s when the letters she exchanged with Jung became known, finally shedding some light on her life and influence on psychology.
A Dangerous Method comes out in U.S. theaters on November 23, 2011. Learn more in this biography of Sabina Spielrein.
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