"... when I become a doctor, what I want, more than anything, is to give people back their freedom, the way you gave me mine." - Sabina Spielrein, A Dangerous Method
A Dangerous Method is the Reader's Digest version of the story of Carl Jung and his relationship with Sigmund Freud. It is also the story of his non-professional relationship with his patient, Sabina Spielrein, who inspired him to think outside of the box in all areas of this personal life and his career as a psychoanalyst.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film for what it presented and not it's historical accuracy. I did a little research on Sabina Spielrein and found out that she may not have been as enlightened a character after her emotional breakthrough as was portrayed in the film. I have to say that Keira Knightley made a daring performance as a grotesquely wild, straightforward, and extremely intelligent, nerdy woman in true Cronenberg style. Yes, a lot of what was presented in the film may have been idealized, but I really liked those idealizations.
When we first meet Spielrein, Knighley deftly portrays a woman who was holding in her feelings so severely that when she expressed herself at all, her body contorted as if her emotional energy was trying to rip itself out of the clutches of her body. Jung took Spielrein through Freud's "talking cure" which produced amazingly quick results. After sharing all her repressed feelings and experiences through this therapy, she became much more centered and able to function in the world. Just goes to show you that when one acknowledges and lets emotional energy flow, life becomes more balanced.
The Spielrein character contributed many spiritual ideas, while in relationship with Jung, that he later used in his work and research. There are so many great quotes in the film regarding these ideas. One quote by Spielrein (to Jung) I especially like about male and female energies is, "Don't you think that there is something male in every woman and female in every man?" It is especially important in our spiritual awakening to acknowledge our male and female energies which create a whole person. Denying either one creates an imbalance, lack of awareness, and lack of the ability to live a full life.
Spielrein shared with Jung her experiences regarding her "inner voice" or "angel" who told her she was an exceptional person and gave her power to know what people are going to say. She also expressed interest in interplanetary travel, although flippantly. Her unusual experiences supported him in exploring intuition and psychic phenomenon. He grew to challenge Freud's point of view regarding psychological interpretation in light of sexual experience and said, "There must be more than one hinge into the universe."
Jung called Spielrein a catalyst in inspiring him to expand his boundaries in all areas of his life, especially his own sex life. Otto Gross, Jung's patient and fellow therapist played by Vincent Cassel, maybe went a bit overboard in his views of sexual freedom. But he brought up an important life changing point when he said regarding sex, "It seems to me a measure of the true perversity of the human race that one of it's very few reliably pleasurable activities should be the subject of so much hysteria & repression." Jung later elaborated by saying, "Why should we put such a frantic effort in suppressing our most basic instincts?"
So why is this film called "A Dangerous Method?" Because, theoretically, the method allows people to become self-empowered and thereby grow out of the box created by the oppressive rules of society. For me, this film is quite inspiring about the early ideals of the field of psychology. I think if emotional healing were more respected in psychology and spiritual practices, people would be experiencing a greater sense of enlightenment and freedom today. Jung expressed his therapy goals this way in the film, "I don't want to just open the door and show the patient his illness, squatting there like a toad. I want to try to find a way to help the patient reinvent himself; to send him off on a journey, [where] at the end is waiting the person he was always intended to be."
A Dangerous Method is widely available on DVD. I highly recommend it from a spiritual perspective.
Posted by Jean Jessup. Posted In : Docudrama