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A Document: Jung to Freud 1905: a report on Sabina Spielrein

Dear Professor,

The daughter of Mrs Spielrein, Miss Sabina Spielrein, student of medicine, suffers from hysteria.

The patient suffers significantly from an hereditary weakness, both father and mother being hysteric, especially the mother.

A brother of the patient has suffered severely from hysteria from an early age.

The patient is turning twenty and her affliction appeared distinctly about three years ago.

But of course her pathogenic experiences reach far back to her early years.

By using your method I have analysed the affliction fairly thoroughly and with considerable success, even at the outset.

The analysis has essentially established the following:

The physical chastisements administered to the patient’s posterior by her father from the age of four until seven had unfortunately become associated with the patient’s premature and now highly developed sexual awareness.

This sexuality came to be expressed by the patient from very early on by her Bernard Minder rubbing her thighs together to commence an act of masturbation.

Masturbation always occurred after she underwent punishment from her father.

After a while the beatings were no longer necessary to initiate sexual arousal; it came to be triggered through mere threats and other situations implying violence, such as verbal abuse, threatening movements of the hands, etc.

After a time she could not even look at her father’s hands without becoming sexually aroused, or watch him eat without imagining how the food was ejected, and then being thrashed on the buttocks, etc.

These associations extended to the younger brother too, who also masturbated frequently from an early age.

Threats to the boy or ill-treatment of him aroused her and she had to masturbate whenever she saw him being punished.

Gradually any situation which reflected violence aroused her, for instance being told to obey.

As soon as she was alone she was plagued by obsessional fantasies, for example, she would imagine all kinds of torments; the same thing happened in her dreams: for example, she often dreamt that she was eating her lunch and simultaneously sitting on the lavatory and that everything was going straight out through her bottom; at the same time she was surrounded by a large crowd of people watching her; on another occasion she was being whipped in front of a great mob of people, etc.

Thus her situation at home naturally became untenable.

After numerous severe disturbances she was brought to Switzerland about a year ago, first to a sanatorium.

The doctor there however was no match for her frankly demonic moods and contrary behaviour.

She drove everyone there to despair.

Finally the private clinic could no longer cope and she was brought to us here at the asylum.

She initially harassed everybody, tormenting the nurses to the limits of their endurance.

As the analysis progressed, her condition noticeably improved and she finally revealed herself to be a highly intelligent and talented person of great sensibility.

There is a certain callousness and unreasonableness in her character and she lacks any kind of feeling for situation and for external propriety, but much of this must be put down to Russian peculiarities.

Her condition improved so much that she could commence studies last summer term.

She suffers enormously whenever she meets with members of her family, something that the mother cannot quite comprehend, but which should be obvious on reading the above (Mrs Spielrein knows about the most important part of her daughter’s complex).

During treatment the patient had the misfortune to fall in love with me.

She raves on to her mother about her love in an ostentatious manner, and a secret perverse enjoyment of her mother’s dismay seems to play a not inconsiderable part in this.

In view of this situation her mother therefore wishes, if the worst comes to the worst, to place her elsewhere for treatment, with which I am naturally in agreement.

Remaining at your service and most faithfully yours,

Dr Jung. ~Carl Jung, A Document: Jung to Freud 1905: a report on Sabina Spielrein, Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2001, 46, 67–72

We are of the same substance as that table. Our discrimination, the awareness is the difference.  ~Carl Jung, C. G. Jung, Emma Jung and Toni Wolff – A Collection of Remembrances, Pages 90-95

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