Say it aint so, C.G.: What kind of man was Jung?
September 14, 2008 12:57 AM   Subscribe

I recently heard a rumor that Carl Gustav Jung would rape female patients and hypnotize them so they would have no memory of the attack. Is there any truth to this, or is this the sort of story professional rivals spread to discredit his ideas?
posted by bunky to Human Relations (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
That seems unlikely.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:14 AM on September 14, 2008

Very unlikely. Hypnotizing a memory "away" is not foolproof by any means. Perhaps you could give us a cite for your "rumor?"
posted by amyms at 1:20 AM on September 14, 2008

I'm no Jungian expert, but this sounds ridiculous. It's not anything I'm aware that he was accused of by any rivals or detractors (and he had plenty of both).

Where did you hear this rumor? Is it possible that your source mixed up Carl Jung with Jung Myung Seok (aka Joshua Jung)?
posted by scody at 1:24 AM on September 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

I bet you it somehow derives from that silly Rubenfeld danbrownish stunt: "A sex murder mystery in which Carl Gustav Jung, betrayer of psychoanalysis and a man who got away withmurder(figurativelyspeaking)for most of his career, is one of the possible suspects."

And from an interview:
Question from Witches_TRIBEunal: From what I have read on your book, Carl Jung is not portrayed very nicely. Is that because you prefer Sigmund Freud's methods?

Jed Rubenfeld: You're right. I'm taking a lot of heat from the Jungians. But the portrayal of Jung is historically accurate. He really did, for example, write a letter to one of his patient's mothers, telling her that if she did not pay him a lot more money, he would sleep with her daughter. Actually, there's always been a lot of controversy among Jung's biographers over some very hotly contested issues. Some claim he was actively involved with the Nazis while others say his work in association with the Nazis was inadvertent. But in 1909, he was still Freud's disciple, and the relationship between the two men was fascinating and difficult for both. Jung was just then beginning his decisive break with Freud. My book tells some of that story.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 5:15 AM on September 14, 2008

This sounds more like a really bad episode of The X-Files than an actual fact.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 7:38 AM on September 14, 2008

Jung was a bit of a womanizer, and is rumored to have slept with at least one patient, Sabina Spielrein. He also had a longstanding affair with Toni Wolff. He was surrounded by so many female admirers that his inner circle called them the "Thousand Virgins". He hardly needed to rape anyone for sex, and nothing else in his life suggests that he was of the raping persuasion.
posted by RussHy at 8:01 AM on September 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

What about acquaintance-rape or "trust" rape? Sex that seemed consensual to the participants, but only because his influence over his patients trumped their ability to have consent?
posted by gjc at 9:25 AM on September 14, 2008

He hardly needed to rape anyone for sex

Nor does any rapist.

That said, I have never heard any such rumor, and I've done tons of research on Jung. Was Jung's sexual behavior with female patients appropriate? Not by today's standards, to be sure, and probably not by the standards of his day.

But this Svengali/Rasputin scenario seems nonsensical. For one thing, hypnosis doesn't work like that. For another thing, rape doesn't work like that--the likelihood that any given person who had just been raped would be in a state to be hypnotized is extraordinarily small.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:20 AM on September 14, 2008 [3 favorites]

The following may possibly be sources of the concepts that Carl Gustav Jung would rape female patients and hypnotize them so they would have no memory of the attack.

The Intimate Hour: Love and Sex in Psychotherapy by Susan Baur

While married, Jung entered into a passionate 12-year relationship with Sabina Spielrein, who was then 19 years old. She was institutionalized and had been diagnosed as having a psychotic hysteria when her treatment began with Jung.
The author asks whether it is ever possible to enter into an intimate and erotic therapeutic relationship that is not exploitative.

A therapist having sex with patients is considered abuse.

Three considerations are important in providing a context for the following discussion. First, comparing therapist-patient sexual intimacies with other forms of sex abuse is by no means an original idea; numerous clinicians and researchers have analyzed the various ways (e.g, in terms of dynamics, characteristics of perpetrators, uses of power, lack of genuine consent, and consequences for victims) in which sexual intimacies with patients are similar to rape and incest (e.g., Bailey, 1978; Barnhouse, 1978; Bates & Brodsky, 1989; Borys, 1988; Burgess, 1981; Chesler, 1972; Connel & Wilson, 1974; Dahlberg, 1970; Finkelhor, 1984 ; Freud, 1915/1983; Gabbard, 1989; Gilbert & Scher, 1989; Herman, Gartrell, Olarte, Feldstein, & Localio, 1987; Kardener, 1974; Kavoussi & Becker, 1987; Maltz & Holman, 1984; Marmor, 1972; Masters & Johnson, 1976; Pope & Bouhoutsos, 1986; Redlich, 1977; Russell, 1986; Saul, 1962; Searles, 1959; Siassi & Thomas, 1973; A. A. Stone, 1990; L. G. Stone, 1980; M. Stone, 1976).

The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung
by Richard Noll "A revisionist biography by Noll, who has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology."

Noll suggests that Jung had Messianic delusions, and that he, at least for a time, considered himself as something of an Aryan Christ offering psychic salvation to his disciples and patients. “Jung considered himself a heresiarch of the first order, a redeemer who offered redemption to others so that they, too, could be involved in the grand work of bringing to life the new god that was trapped within everyone, waiting to be released” (page 251).

A review of the book by the New York Times.

McLynn patiently follows Jung through his years at the Burgholzli hospital in Zurich; through his love affair with Freud, who called him his ''beloved son'' until their bitter split in 1913; and through all the gyrations of Jung's later life --his fascination with alchemy and ''ambivalent'' attraction to Nazism in the 1930's, his turn toward astrology and flying saucers in the 1950's, his ascension as ''the New Age guru'' in the years just before his death on June 6, 1961.

A review by Jeffrey Satinover, past-President of the C.G. Jung Foundation of New York, of
The Jung Cult: Origins Of A Charismatic Movement. By Richard Noll

In 1932, Jung conducted a seminar on Tantric (or Kundalini) Yoga, the contents of which remain semisecret to this day. (Only graduates of the Institute may purchase copies, and must sign an agreement not to reproduce their content.) The seminar participants were all current or former patients of Jung, at least one of whom-and probably more-had been Jung's own soror mystica.

My opinion: many great thinkers, innovators, scientists, artists, leaders of all kinds in a variety of fields can be mentally or emotionally unwell in any number of ways or do obviously inappropriate things. This does not mean, imo, their creations/innovations/vision/works are fraudulent or less valuable. It means, imo, that they should not be put on pedestals as ideal people. Genius or being "gifted" and moral behavior may not happen in the same person. Examples: Freud, Jackson Pollock, Einstein.
posted by nickyskye at 2:25 PM on September 14, 2008 [4 favorites]

He was surrounded by so many female admirers that his inner circle called them the "Thousand Virgins". He hardly needed to rape anyone for sex...

People don't normally rape other people simply because they lack a willing sex parter.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:01 PM on September 14, 2008 [5 favorites]

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