Another Woman Gets Robbed? What Jung, Freud, Piaget, and Vygotsky Took from Sabina Spielrein

By Aldridge, Jerry | Childhood Education, Annual 2009 | Go to article overview

Another Woman Gets Robbed? What Jung, Freud, Piaget, and Vygotsky Took from Sabina Spielrein


Aldridge, Jerry, Childhood Education


I wonder how many people have ever heard the name "Sabina Spielrein." Certainly not as many as have heard the names of Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Jean Piaget, and Lev Vygotsky. While Spielrein had numerous face-to-face encounters, some personal and some professional, with all four men, and the accounting of her life and the interactions she had with them has been the content of numerous publications (Kerr, 1993; Marton, 2002), the story of what she contributed to their lives and works has not been told. To that end, this article will concisely describe how Sabina Spielrein's life, work, and theories influenced the theories of Jung, Freud, Piaget, and Vygotsky.

The professional contributions of numerous women in the 19th and 20th centuries were marginalized or even credited to men. In essence, many of these women were callously cheated out of the credit they were due. For example, according to Sadker and Sadker (1994), Catherine Littlefield (Kitty) Greene had as much to do with the invention of the cotton gin as Eli Whitney. She "came up with the breakthrough idea of using brushes for the seeds" (p. 67). However, Eli Whitney was credited with inventing the machine and was given full title to it. At that time, "It was especially unlikely for a lady to patent an invention. Textbooks tell the story of names registered in the patent office, but they leave out how sexism and racism denied groups of people access to that registry" (p. 67).

Critical and feminist theorists have described the marginalization of women and their contributions (Aldridge & Goldman, 2007; McLaren, 2005; Sadker & Sadker, 1994; Wink, 2005). These writers have reported how men have been credited for women's contributions, and here we examine how Jung, Freud, Piaget, and Vygotsky benefited from Sabina Spielrein's ideas.

First of all, who was Sabina Spielrein? She was born in Rostov, Russia, to Jewish parents in 1885. She was the oldest of five children, with three brothers and one sister. When her only sister died of typhoid fever, Spielrein suffered from mental illness (Maehler, 2006). She was eventually admitted to Burgholzli hospital in 1904, where she was Carl Jung's first patient (Kerr, 1993).

Spielrein's condition improved "to the extent that in June of 1905, she was released from the institution and began to study medicine in Zurich" (Maehler, 2006, p. 7). While under Jung's care, the relationship between Spielrein and Jung developed into an affair (Kerr, 1993). Eventually, Jung put an end to the affair (Marton, 2002). Shortly afterwards, Spielrein "turned to the great Sigmund Freud either to confide in him, or to ask for advice" (Maehler, 2006, p. 8). Freud was "impressed by Sabina's frankness and intelligence and corresponded with both Sabina and Jung" (p. 8).

After her marriage to a Jewish doctor named Pavel Scheftel, Spielrein had a child named Renata. Pavel eventually returned to Russia while Spielrein moved to Geneva and worked as a psychoanalyst. There, she worked closely with Jean Piaget and, according to Piaget (Bringuier, 1980), Spielrein was the only person who ever psychoanalyzed him.

Eventually, Spielrein moved back to Russia and became a mentor to Vygotsky and Luria. According to Kerr (1993), "Listing the ten greatest psychologists of this century is a matter of fashion and taste, but on anyone's list five names would inevitably appear and Spielrein knew them all firsthand: Freud, Jung, Piaget, Luria, and Vygotsky. But whereas with Jung and Freud, she had been their student, and with Piaget his colleague, with Vygotsky and Luria, her role was altogether different" (p. 498). She was their mentor.

Spielrein was fond of German life and culture and did not heed the warnings about Nazi atrocities (Maehler, 2006). In 1942, she and her two daughters were among a large Jewish population who were executed when German troops invaded Rostov, Russia, where Spielrein was living at the time (Marton, 2002). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Another Woman Gets Robbed? What Jung, Freud, Piaget, and Vygotsky Took from Sabina Spielrein
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.