10 thoughts on “‘A Dangerous Method’: Misperceptions about Psychoanalysis

  • February 3, 2012 at 6:39 am

    I have just read above articles and I am very much interested to watch this movie. As I am a psychologist and dealing the client with mental healh problems by using Cognitive behaviour therapy as well as sometime using psychoanalytic theory also. this movie may be helpful for me. I will try my best to watch this movie.

    • February 3, 2012 at 10:46 am

      Psychoanalysis has come a long way since then and nobody really believes any long that “abreaction” will do much other than provide temporary relief (I talk about this issue on my other website, in a post about the toilet function of friendship. My point was simply that it was historically inaccurate. It also seems very odd to make a movie about the birth of psychoanalysis and leave out the unconscious mind.

  • February 3, 2012 at 8:35 am

    I have not seen the film myself, but I assume that the producers were more concerned with appealing to a general audience than with appealing to experts on pyschoanalysis or dream reserch.

    Someone with a true interest in these fields should not be getting their information from a film.

    • February 3, 2012 at 10:43 am

      You’re right, but why bother to go to all the trouble to research, write and film a story about historical figures and get it wrong? They obviously took great care to get most things right.

  • February 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    I saw the film at the weekend and have written a short review here:


    I agree with your point of view Joseph, I think the role that Speilrein and Gross play in Jung’s development is exaggerated. The role of Freud as the greatest of psychologists – and the greatest influence on Jung is minimised.

  • February 21, 2012 at 4:54 am

    “Even worse, the conclusion of this film tells us that what truly matters in life boils down to romantic passion. In their final meeting, Jung tells Spielrein that his love for her was the most important experience of his lifetime …”

    The movie ends with Jung in his mid-30s, i.e. he’d lived less than half his life at that time.

    • February 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      You’re right, of course, but that seems irrelevant. It’s the final message of the filmmaker — why even give those lines to Jung? Why not have him say something else?

  • February 29, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Could not disagree more overall. I’ve only read parts of the book but the part’s I’ve read have been great, very detailed and very accurate. On top of that, in my view the film is a masterpiece!Don’t suffer from delusional thinking, large budget films are NEVER made for a phd audience. Then MUST amuse and entertain, and this film is masterful! Did you guys see the lighting, costumes, makeup, props, locations, action sequences? Very good stuff. And the content was FANTASTIC and close enough to deadly accurate for FILM.As far as real psychological beef I challenge any professor to get as much across in a 99 minute university lecture as that movie did. Be sure to cover early psychoanalytic history, Freud, Jung and Spielrein. Review Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, the concept of free association, Jung’s emerging thoughts on types, Spielrein’s thoughts on the masculine/feminine yin/yang, etc. Remember you have a whole 99 minutes. BTW, throw in some great material from Otto Rank, talk thoroughly and realistically about professional ethics, transference, counter transference, and childhood trauma. Be sure to touch on the Jewish/Christian aspects of early analysis, the concept of a collective unconscious, and other “easy to address” topics, etc.After watching that entertaining movie did anything stick with you? Were you inspired by anything? I could not help but think … did Spielrein ever impact Anna Freud? Any of that kids stuff trickle down to the Hampstead Child-Therapy Clinic in London. The historical context of the movie was terrific. Yes of course they have to abbreviate things and wash over technical detail. They only had 99 minutes to deliver.The movie was jamb packed with awesome technical points! I dare say not much more could ever fit in!Freud and Jung diverged. Jung wanted more, was burned by psychological difficulty himself, failed personally with proper professional boundaries, was human. Freud was arrogant, had some odd habits himself. Rank contributed but also had personal difficulties. Sandor Ferenczi was in there too. Spielrein had issues but in the end rose above and became an actual contributor. That is a ton of content.I can’t imagine getting more technical material across with reasonable fidelity in 99 minutes. I’ve done ample reading in early psychoanalysis and I found the movie absolutely captivating and for the most part dead on.

  • March 10, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I am not sure, how you interpreted the movie because the movie portrayed Jung’s thoughts as “superstition”, Jung as flawed and lacking boundaries and a man not to be trusted while Freud was perfect in every way. The comment to Spielrein was made in a personal context and maybe his relationship with her was a single defining moment up to that point in his life. In the end, it is the ideas that they put forth that we honor. They were just human and flawed like the rest of us.

  • March 16, 2016 at 8:38 am

    ‘A Dangerous Method’ is a beautiful movie. I love the Actress Keira Knightley (Sabina) acting, she really put her heart in this film and also Michael Fassbender (Jung’s) acting.


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