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Journal of Analytical Psychology, 2001, 46, 117128

Jungs analysis of Sabina Spielrein

and his use of Freuds free
association method
Axel Hoffer, Brookline, MA
Abstract: This paper examines Jungs use of Freuds free association method and his
own association experiments in his analysis of Sabina Spielrein in 19041905. Jungs
gradual rejection of the Freudian free association method is noted. By the time of their
split in 1913, Jung came to view Freuds method of using associations to analyse personal
complexes as reductive, limiting and backward-looking. He also felt that the Freudian
method threatened the analysand by creating confusion and a regressive dependency on
the analyst. Jungs early approach inclined away from personal pain in favour of analysing
autonomous, impersonal and collective phenomena. The historical question is raised
whether Jungs rejection of the use of the free associations of the individual analysand
might be as fundamental as their well-known disagreement about Freuds belief in the
central role of sexuality in neurosis.
Key words: association experiments, Burghlzli, directed associations, Ferenczi, free
associations, Freud, Jung, Spielrein.

I am very pleased to be invited by Joseph Cambray, one of the Editors of the

Journal, to contribute some thoughts on Jungs analysis of Sabina Spielrein at
the famous Burghlzli Hospital in Zrich during her treatment there from
August 1904 until May 1905. The invitation came at a particularly propitious
time in my work for a number of reasons. My earlier work had centred around
the theory behind Freudian technique, with a special interest in the controversial subject of analytic neutrality. My interest in psychoanalytic history
focused on the relationship between Freud and the Hungarian analyst, Sndor
Ferenczi as revealed in their correspondence (19081933). I had only some
passing familiarity with the Freud-Jung correspondence and little direct knowledge of Jungs work or that of his followers. I knew that Ferenczi had met
Jung even before he met Freud in 1908 and that Freud particularly appreciated
the creativity and imagination of both Jung and Ferenczi. After writing a paper
on free associations and their relation to Freud and Ferenczis so-called active
technique, I became fascinated by the early history of associations and was

2001, The Society of Analytical Psychology

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Axel Hoffer

eager to learn more. I learned that associations were in the air in academic
psychology at the fin de sicle (Falzeder 1999).
I recalled that early in my psychiatric residency, I had learned that Eugen
Bleuler, Director of the Burghlzli, coined the term schizophrenia to replace
Emil Kraepelins term, dementia praecox. He based the diagnosis on his wellknown four As of schizophrenia: autism, ambivalence, affect and association
disturbance. What was an association disturbance? I wondered. And what
can be learned from the associations themselves? I pondered as well. Now,
after many years of analytic practice based on Freuds free association method
and the analysis of defence, resistance and transference and their unconscious
determinants, I found myself returning to these early questions about associations. It was in this context that Carl Gustav Jungs analysis of Sabina
Spielrein was fortuitously brought to my attention.
Late nineteenth century academic psychologists and psychiatrists were
enthralled by the promise that a study of associations would reveal essential
secrets of how the mind works. Wundt, Ziehen, Breuer, Freud, Bleuler and
later Aschaffenburg, Riklin and Jung with their association experiments
mined this promising vein of discovery. Studying associations in individuals
and in groups of patients offered a novel method to discover secrets, be they
forgotten, disavowed or avoided. Knowing that both Jung and Freud were
interested from their earliest research in associational phenomena, I began to
wonder if there were differences between the use of associations in Jungian
and Freudian analyses.
Consequently I began asking analysts informally about their use of free associations in their clinical work. When I asked this question of a few American
and Swiss Jungian analysts, I was quite surprised by their answers. Most of
them told me that they did not use free associations, and if they did, they used
them in limited ways such as directed associations in dream analysis. Those
Freudian analysts with whom I raised the same question again a small number
and informally answered that the use of free associations was important,
often central, in their work. These responses to my inquiries raised a number
of questions for me. In particular, I want to consider in this paper the following two questions regarding the evolution of Jungs views about free association
from 1903 to 1913:
1. When Jung met Spielrein in August 1904, he was already enthusiastic about
Freuds approach to hysteria and his book, The Interpretation of Dreams
(1900). What role did Freuds free association method and Jungs association
experiments play in Jungs analysis of Sabina Spielrein?
2. Freud never changed his view that the patients free associations and the
analysts even-hovering attention were the foundation of the psychoanalytic
method and process. Indeed, free association remained for Freud the fundamental rule of psychoanalysis. What factors contributed to Jungs ultimately
rejecting Freuds free association technique? Was it primarily because of the
deterioration of their personal relationship or were there clinical-theoretical

Jungs analysis of Sabina Spielrein


reasons? Could Jungs rejection of the use of the free associations of the individual
analysand be as fundamental, I wondered, as their well-known disagreement
about Freuds belief in the central role of sexuality in neurosis?
After reading Freuds The Interpretation of Dreams in 1900, Jung recalls,
I put it aside because I did not yet grasp it. At the age of twenty-five, I lacked
the experience to appreciate Freuds theories. In 1903 I once more took up The
Interpretation of Dreams and discovered how it all linked up with my ideas
(Jung 1967, p. 169). Indeed, at the beginning, Jung seemed to join Freud on
the same path with both using associations as the new method to understanding repression and the unconscious. Indeed, Jung himself stated: that the
association experiment devised by me gives the same results in principle, and
that psychoanalysis is no different from an association experiment (Jung
1906, para. 18).
Yet we should note that right from the start, Jung and Freud approached
associations from a different vantage point. Jung first became known for his
association experiments which studied associational phenomena by cataloguing responses to one hundred standard stimulus words in groups of patients
and normals. His early approach was more statistical and hence more traditionally scientific than Freuds. He was particularly interested in the significance
of prolonged delays in response time and in differences in the reproduction of
results. The tests were used for diagnostic purposes, comparing the responses
of normal subjects with patients carrying different diagnostic labels. The results
pointed to feeling toned complexes, which may be unconscious to varying
The association tests were also being considered as possible aids to the
judicial system to assess whether an alleged criminal was telling the truth.
Interestingly, in a little known paper, Freud (1906), even before he had met
Jung, had written a paper on the judicial use of Jungs association experiments,
comparing the criminals response with that of the neurotic in analysis. Freud
noted that the neurotic could produce test results suggesting guilt, arising from
unconscious factors, unrelated to his actual innocence of the crime in question.
Freuds focus was on the internal and unconscious conflicts of the individual;
Jung was categorizing diagnostic groups according to similar responses to his
tests. From the beginning it appears that Freud took the individual as a starting
point for his generalizations; by contrast, Jungs early inclination was to go
from the general to the individual.
What role did Freuds free associations and Jungs association experiments
play in Jungs analysis of Sabina Spielrein?
Let us turn now to the hospital records documenting the hospitalization of
nineteen-year old Sabina Spielrein at the Burghlzli in Zrich from August 17,
1904 until her discharge to begin her medical studies at the Medical Faculty in
Zrich in June 1, 1905. The actual record is published in English for the first


Axel Hoffer

time in this Journal (Minder 1994/2001, trans. Barbara Wharton) and the
reader will find an excellent, comprehensive review of her treatment also in
this Journal (Graf-Nold 2001). I will limit my comments to some references to
associations in the record of her treatment.
The initial admission note serves to introduce her:
August 17, 1904
Tonight at 10:30 patient is admitted by medical police and an uncle Patient
laughs and cries in a strangely mixed, compulsive manner. Masses of tics, rotating
head, sticks out her tongue, legs twitching. Complains of a terrible headache, saying
that she was not mad, only upset, at the hotel, she could not stand people or noise.
With private nurse in E II.

Jungs anamnesis revealed a highly conflicted relationship between the patient

and her parents. Father is described as tyrannical and punitive, frequently
threatening suicide. Both parents beat the patient.
Once when, at thirteen, her mother punished her, she hid and doused herself with
ice-cold water (winter!) to catch her death of cold. At the age of 15 she tried to starve
herself in Karlsbad because she had made her mother angry.
(August 18, 1904)

She had become unmanageable at the Heller hospital in Interlaken where she
had been previously hospitalized.
The anamnesis continues:
Pat[ient] loves her father painfully. She cannot turn to her father, he does not really
understand her, he says hurtful things to her. Because of her strong narcissism she
cannot give in to her father, and when her father is sad, she cannot talk to him and
she is again deeply hurt. He has hit pat[ient] and she has had to kiss his hand in return.
(At this point numerous tics, grimaces and gestures of abhorrence.) It gradually
emerges that he has hit her several times on her bare buttocks, most recently in her
eleventh year, from time to time in front of her siblings. It takes a powerful battle
to entice patient to make this confession. At this point the tics seem in keeping with
the affect, as they express abhorrence and revulsion. Insists several times she would
and could never talk about it, and furthermore did not want to be cured at all
Insists that if she had to say everything it would upset her so much that things would
go really bad later. The doctor would then see what would happen.
(August 18)

I want to call attention to the intense sado-masochistic relationship which is

revealed in the report so far which includes not only the sexualized relationship
with the father but also the implications for the [transference/countertransference] relationship with Jung that he battled to entice the patient to make
this confession. Her resistance to saying everything that comes to her mind is
expressed in her explicit threat that something would happen if she did.
On October 16, 1904, Jung was absent all day.
The following day she reports that she constantly and with great longing imagines
her doctor squeezing her left hand tightly until it hurts. She desires this painful

Jungs analysis of Sabina Spielrein


treatment with all her strength. The next day she has a high grade hyperaesthesia in
her left hand. I want this pain, pat[ient] says calmly, I want you to do something
really bad to me, to force me to do something that I am opposed to with all my

Again, we note the unmistakable sexualization of the doctor-patient relationship.

In the note of October 18, 1904, we find a reference to her associations:
Pat[ient] now knows that she has to get used to a freer way of life; this thought
came clearly into her consciousness for the first time during a walk outside the
sanatorium. She is afraid of going out and of the future; she tries to postpone going
out as long as possible by means of the pain in her feet.

On November 4, 1904, the excellent humane and progressive treatment

provided at this time at the Burghlzli is well exemplified in Jungs use of
occupational therapy in the form of enlisting the patient to pursue medical
research and studies. The note states: [The patient] made a correct diagnosis
of epilepsy from a letter handed out at the clinic and correctly supported her
diagnosis. Thus, even this early in this hospitalization, she was given
responsibilities which helped make it possible for her ultimately to leave the
hospital and to become a medical student. And later, in the same note:
She breaks off writing a letter in order to write down, with her eyes closed, all the
fantasies that go through her mind. In these associations the doctors again play a
central role, and her favourite pastime, numerous pranks.
January 8, 1905
With the New Year, marked decline, states of violent excitement, many gestures
of disgust. In the night a great fright: there might be a cat or someone else in her
room, someone was suddenly speaking in her ear. She felt something moving on her
back like a snail and something grasped her side like a hand. When the mood is
analysed the following is revealed:
On New Years Day a year ago, a big row at home (angry scenes with father). Many
such scenes followed. Finally she recalls, with great affect, scenes when her father
beat her. When she was thirteen years old, her father once threatened her with a
beating; he took her into a special room and ordered her to lie down. She implored
him not to beat her (he was about to lift her skirt from behind). Finally he gave in,
but he forced her to kneel down and kiss the picture of the grandfather and to swear
always to be a good child. After this humiliating scene the boys were outside waiting
to greet her.
Pat[ient] emphasizes during this account her fathers comments which offended her
sense of shame. Finally [after] a three-hour analysis it transpires that since her fourth
year she has experienced sexual arousal after the beatings, she cannot hold her
water, has to press her legs together, later even has an orgasmic discharge. In the
end it was enough to see or hear her brother being beaten to make her want to
masturbate In recent years it went so far that the slightest hint could trigger off
this impulse. She says that she only has to be laughed at, which symbolically implies
humiliation, to cause her to have an orgasm Basically all her expressions of disgust
and her negative behaviour can be associated with this complex. When [her doctor]


Axel Hoffer

told her recently that she had to agree to regulations, agree was perceived as
submit; it triggered the complex and caused her to masturbate. During the act,
pat[ient] wishes on herself all manner of torments; she pictures these as vividly as
possible, in particular being beaten on her bare bottom, and, in order to increase her
arousal, she imagines that it is taking place in front of a large audience.

Exactly what is meant by a three-hour analysis [emphasis added] is not clear.

Clearly Jung and his patient are engaged in elaborating the sado-masochistic
fantasies with highly sexualized intensity. After deciding to abreact this complex, the patient experiences great relief and the pains in her feet and headaches disappear, according to Jungs report. It is noteworthy that in the early
history of psychoanalysis, the conventional (Freudian) analytic frame with
regular 50-minute hours four or five days a week had not yet been established.
For example, in a letter dated June 1, 1916, Freud (Falzeder & Brabant 1996,
p. 130) responds to Ferenczis request for more analysis:
I will thus reserve for you two hours a day from the middle of June on. I also hope
to see much of you otherwise, and you should at least have one meal with us daily.
Technique at least will require that nothing personal will be discussed outside the

The blurring of analytic boundaries of all kinds was not unusual in these early,
heady days of psychoanalysis.
In the note of January 29, 1905, we learn:
At every stimulation of the complex she still reacts with her back, hands, tongue
and mouth, though significantly less so. She is now aware of it and hides her expression of disgust behind her hands. She recently tried associations with acquaintances
and on this occasion it was shown that she could not say her complex trigger word
to beat. So she omitted it during the experiment.

This is an explicit reference to the association experiments, as distinct from

free associations. Although it was not a formal experiment, the report indicates
she was familiar with them.
In the same note, Jung reports: She is now asked what was going on before
I entered the room. What was going on that made her head feel so heavy?
(29 January). These two questions seem to me to be a specific invitation for
her to free associate. We then learn:
She had been reading Forels Hypnotism: but the feeling could not have resulted
from this. When [the doctor] opens the book to find the passage that triggered off the
father complex, the [patient] suddenly displays defensive movements and gestures of
disgust, and indicates the passage in the book which she had just been reading: The
pseudological story of Gottfried Keller, spec[ifically] the place where he describes
how he is caned by other boys.

Thus, we can infer with some confidence that Jung used a combination of techniques in learning about the shameful secrets which appeared to lie behind her
dramatic symptomatology. At the beginning, he obtained a standard history
from the patient, an anamnesis. Later, he exhorted her to confess, in what was

Jungs analysis of Sabina Spielrein


referred to as a battle in the treatment. Over time, association experiments

were presumably employed, along with a three-hour analysis resulting in a
vivid description of the patients complex. The complex, which was traced
back to age four, consisted of sexual stimulation triggered by beatings on the
buttocks by her father. Her symptoms initially worsened, then improved, as
the affects related to the complex were reactivated, then abreacted.
Jung was familiar with Breuer and Freuds Studies on Hysteria (18931895)
and Freuds The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) at the time he began his
analysis of Spielrein. Even though she was a hospitalized patient and Freuds
cases were not, it is clear from the nature of her symptoms and the course of
her treatment that Spielrein had much in common with the patients described
by Breuer and Freud. There has been controversy about whether Spielrein
was psychotic. It is my impression that if she were admitted to an American
hospital today, she would be diagnosed as a young woman in an adolescent
turmoil, not psychotic, and probably suffering from a borderline personality
disorder. For the enthusiastic, youthful Jung, Spielrein provided what can
only be described as a textbook-perfect picture of Freuds hysteria: multiple
hysterical symptoms, reversible by abreaction, seemingly caused by sexual
trauma at the hands of her father in a girl with a predisposition to hysteria and
exaggerated anal erotism. Indeed, Jung presented Spielreins case in Amsterdam in 1906 which he published as a paper in 1908 entitled: The Freudian
theory of hysteria.
After using Freuds technique with such remarkable success with Spielrein,
it is no wonder that Jung became a disciple of Freud. What were the factors
which caused him to change his mind about Freuds approach? Let us now
proceed to my second question:
Might this difference between Freudian and Jungian analysis the use versus
the disuse of free associations of the individual analysand be as
fundamental as their well-known disagreement about Freuds belief in the
central role of sexuality in neurosis?
Goodheart (1984, quoted in Charlton 1986, p. 155) suggests that Jungs earliest
paper, On the psychology and pathology of so-called occult phenomena
(1902), based on his personal relationship with Hlne Preiswerk (Helly)
contained intense and conflicted emotional currents which led him away from
a deeper examination of the unacceptable areas of their interaction, away from
the use of free association, and toward the elucidation of sub-personalities,
mythopoetic aspects of the patients phantasies, and the existence of the
autonomous psyche.

He continues by pointing out that Jungs solution to this dilemma was to move
away from the complex interaction between patient and therapist and to
substitute an internal reality which existed relatively autonomously from the


Axel Hoffer

external world of perception and relationship. Along similar lines, Charlton

(1986) notes:
Jungs brilliance and intuition led him to make important contributions to the understanding of the psyche of man, especially in terms of the mythopoetic and archetypal
elements of personal and cultural reality. However, from his initial observations
onward Jung moved away from the direct clinical confrontation of the neurotically
conflict-torn individual.
(Charlton 1986, p. 157; italics in the original)

These statements contrast with Freuds (1894, pp. 512) view that the analyst,
by analysing, helps the patient acknowledge and bear the painful, incompatible ideas which are the motives for defence.
If someone with a disposition [to neurosis] lacks the aptitude for conversion, but if,
nevertheless, in order to fend off an incompatible idea, he sets about separating it
from its affect, then that affect is obliged to remain in the psychical sphere. The idea,
now weakened, is still left in consciousness, separated from all association. But its
affect, which has become free, attaches itself to other ideas which are not in themselves incompatible; and, thanks to this false connection, those ideas turn into
obsessional ideas. This, in a few words, is the psychological theory of obsessions and
(italics in original)

In Jungs own words we learn of his personal difficulty with free associations:
From the beginning I had conceived my voluntary confrontation with the
unconscious as a scientific experiment which I myself was conducting and in whose
outcome I was vitally interested. Today I might equally well say that it was an experiment which was being conducted on me. One of the greatest difficulties for me lay
in dealing with my negative feelings. I was voluntarily submitting myself to emotions
of which I could not really approve.
(Jung 1967, p. 202)

I understand this to mean Jungs acknowledgement of his difficulty both in

bearing painful feelings and in putting aside his self-criticism in the interest of
enhancing the freedom to associate. These difficulties are not unique to Jung;
they are difficulties for anyone using Freuds method of free association.
However, over time, Jung became increasingly critical of the use of free associations in Freudian analysis as reductionistic, backward-(instead of forward)
looking and circular. For example, in relation to Jungs conceptualization of
the transcendent function, Charlton (1986) notes:
Jung came to criticize the psychoanalytic method of free association, utilizing the
term reductive analysis to describe the limited nature of the results attainable with
such a technique. He felt that free association was a procedure which could start
anywhere, with a sensory perception, a dream image, a traffic sign even, and would
end up in the midst of the individuals personal history and childhood neurotic

Jungs analysis of Sabina Spielrein


complexes. In the hands of a psychoanalyst free association would then inevitably lead
to the train of causal connections, beginning in childhood, which resulted in later
neurotic conflicts and in that sense could only describe where an individual had
been, but would do nothing to point towards where an individual might be going.
(Charlton 1986, p. 158)

Charlton continues (ibid., p. 159):

Utilizing the notion of the transcendent function, Jung believed that the transference
could best be understood not in terms of its historical roots but in terms of its purpose. The analysts focus of attention is aimed at possible themes of developmental
significance which might indicate the direction of psychic movement, based upon the
notion that the psyche is centred on a goal-directed function (the transcendent
function) and that images, dreams and symptoms are unconscious statements of the
potential for further individuation.

It now becomes clear that Jung actively discarded Freuds free association
because he viewed it as returning the patient to his personal past and complexes with little hope of a progressive or therapeutic purpose. He argued that
free associations have limited therapeutic or progressive value because they only
bring the patient back to where he has been. By devaluing free associations of
a personal nature, Jung could simultaneously exclude from the analysis topics
pertaining to the individuals sexuality. Contrast Jungs view that free associations only lead back to the dead-end of the personal complex with Freuds
view (1919, p. 161) that psychoanalysis is followed naturally by psychosynthesis: responding to critics who suggested that psycho-analysis should be
followed by psycho-synthesis, Freud asserted:
In actual fact, indeed, the neurotic patient presents us with a torn mind, divided by
resistances. As we analyse it and remove the resistances, it grows together; the great
unity which we call the ego fits into itself all the instinctual impulses which before
had been split off and held apart from it. The psycho-synthesis is thus achieved
during analytic treatment without our intervention, automatically and inevitably.
(Freud 1919, p. 161)

For Jung, however, Freuds free association method was not only therapeutically questionable but also potentially destructive and threatening to both
analyst and analysand. Perhaps the fact that Jungs clinical work at the time
he was at the Burghlzli was still primarily with schizophrenic patients contributed to these views. Jung (1929, para. 101) warned:
[The analysand] is still in an undesirably passive condition where everything is
rather uncertain and questionable; neither he nor I know the journeys end. Often it
is not much more than a groping about in an Egyptian darkness. In this condition
we must not expect any very startling results the uncertainty is too great for
that. Besides which there is always the risk that what we have woven by day the
night will unravel. The danger is that nothing permanent is achieved, nothing
remains fixed.


Axel Hoffer

Here, Jung sees free association threatening to create in the analysand unwarranted and potentially harmful dependency upon the analyst and the treatment
Jung (1930, para. 53), while not denying the extraordinary power of the
retrospective tendency, argues that the attitude is all-important. Freud emphasizes the aetiology of the case, and assumes that once the causes are brought
into consciousness the neurosis will be cured. But mere consciousness of the
causes does not help any more than detailed knowledge of the causes of
war help to raise the value of the French franc. And Jung concludes (1930,
para. 65),
It looks as if Freud got stuck in his own pessimism, clinging as he does to his
thoroughly negative and personal conception of the unconscious. You get nowhere
if you assume that the vital basis of man is nothing but a very personal and therefore
very private affaire scandaleuse

Jung maintains that the human soul is to be found not solely in the personal
psyche but also in the collective one.
I am reminded of Jungs intense description (which I found painful to read)
of what he felt as he was telling Freud his now well-known dream of the Two
skulls. I will first place this sad example of impossible conditions for a dream
analysis in its historical context. Jung (1967, pp. 1812) begins the story with
his attempt to analyse a dream of Freuds. He writes:
Freud had a dream I would not think it right to air the problem it involved. I
interpreted it as best I could, but added that a great deal more could be said about
it if he would supply me with some additional details from his private life. Freuds
response to these words was a curious look a look of the utmost suspicion. Then
he said, But I cannot risk my authority!1 That sentence burned itself into my
memory; and in it the end of our relationship was already foreshadowed. Freud was
placing personal authority above truth.

By this time, both men clearly mistrusted each other. Also Freud had already
interpreted two fainting spells triggered by a discussion with Jung as related to
Jungs death wishes toward him. Thus Jung explains his need to lie to Freud
about his associations to the skulls on the basis of his anticipation that Freud
would misuse his honest associations to justify the imposition of his preformed theories about secret death wishes.
Jungs report of his own long dream concludes as follows:
Thick dust lay on the floor, and in the dust were scattered bones and broken pottery,
like remains of a primitive culture. I discovered two human skulls, obviously very
old and half disintegrated. Then I awoke.

He continues:
What chiefly interested Freud in this dream were the two skulls. He returned to them
repeatedly, and urged me to find a wish in connection with them. What did I think

Jungs analysis of Sabina Spielrein


about these skulls? And whose were they? I knew perfectly well, of course, what he
was driving at: that secret death wishes were concealed in the dream. But what does
he really expect of me? I thought to myself. Towards whom would I have death
wishes? I felt violent resistance to any such interpretation.

Jung then falsely told Freud that his associations were to his wife and his
sister-in-law. He adds, being newly married, I knew perfectly well that there
was nothing within myself which pointed to such wishes (Jung 1967, p. 183).
In the days prior to the dream, Jung was questioning the premises of Freudian
psychology. He wondered what the relationship was between its almost
exclusive personalism to general historical assumptions. He went on to say,
My dream was giving me the answer it postulated something of an altogether
impersonal nature underlying that psyche. It clicked as the English have it and
the dream became for me a guiding image which in the days to come was to be
corroborated to an extent I could not at first suspect. It was my first inkling of a
collective a priori beneath the personal psyche. This I first took to be the traces of
earlier modes of functioning. Later, with increasing experience and on the basis of
more reliable knowledge, I recognized them as forms of instinct, that is, as archetypes.
(Jung 1967, p. 185)

In conclusion, it seems clear that the single path which these two creative and
ambitious men trod together from 1903 definitively diverged in 1913. Freud
used free associations to help the analysand reconstruct and re-experience the
crucial memories and affects from the individual analysands personal history
in the transference. What Jung saw as circular, Freud viewed as an opportunity for growth. By means of the analysis of the repetition compulsion manifested in the transference relationship, early conflicts with their painful affects
and incompatible ideas could be worked through, thereby overcoming impediments to further development and freedom of personal choice.
By contrast, Jung could no longer agree with Freud that the dream is a
faade behind which its meaning lies hidden. Instead, Jung (1967, p. 185)
embraced dreams as a part of nature, which harbours no intention to
deceive, but expresses something as best it can, just as a plant grows . Since
for him Freuds free associations led backwards to the dead end of personal
complexes they no longer served a useful purpose. Jung urged forward, not
backward, movement away from the personal toward the impersonal and
collective. His vision (1930, para. 65) for analytical psychology was to step
out of [the] narrow, stuffy personal corner [of Freudian psychoanalysis] into
the wide realm of the collective psyche, into the very soul of humanity.
1. In their excitement accompanying the discovery of the unconscious, the pioneers of
depth psychology believed this kind of mutual, alternating analysis was possible.
Interestingly, in 1926, Ferenczi (Hoffer, 1994) offered to analyse Freud, who declined
appreciatively but firmly. My impression is that Ferenczi understood the refusal as a


Axel Hoffer

resistance to analysis and an unwillingness to trust anyone enough to enter into the
intimacy inherent in an analytic relationship. Of course, an analytic relationship
requires a high level of trust and trustworthiness. But even beyond the issue of trust, in
my view, an analytic relationship cannot be a mutual one. Psychoanalysis, in order to
enhance the freedom to associate and to elucidate conflicts at the deepest levels, requires
relative anonymity in an asymmetrical relationship in which the consistent focus of
attention is on one person, the analysand.

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I want to thank the following friends and colleagues for the many kind
ways they have helped me as I prepared to write this essay: Dr Heinz Bker,
Dr Nina Bakman, Dr Joseph Cambray, Dr Peter Dreyfus, Dr Angela Graf-Nold,
Dr Bernhardt Kchenhoff, Dr Alex Moser, Dr David Oswald, Dr Sabine
Richebcher, Dr Cordelia Schmidt-Hellerau, Dr Bennett Simon and my
brother, Dr Peter T. Hoffer.