The Sigmund Freud Museum is dedicating the special exhibition “So this is the strong Sex.” Women in Psychoanalysis to women from the early history of psychoanalysis. Marie Bonaparte, Helene Deutsch, Emma Eckstein, Anna Freud, Lou Andreas-Salomé and Sabina Spielrein had a major influence on the work of Sigmund Freud and on the development of psychoanalysis.
“So this is the strong sex” – Emma Eckstein is said to have once greeted Sigmund Freud with this ironic allusion. Succinctly, this quotation conveys the possible new interpretations of predominant gender roles. As patients, these women provided Sigmund Freud with the basis for his discovery of the unconscious; the “father of psychoanalysis” himself confirms how he developed his treatment method known as the “talking cure” together with them.
In addition to their practical work as analysts, these protagonists made substantial contributions to the development of psychoanalytical theory, inspiring Freud’s works or even anticipating them, as in the case of Sabina Spielrein. Their involvement in the international dissemination and global institutionalisation of psychoanalysis is equally undisputed: Sabina Spielrein in Switzerland and Russia, Lou Andreas-Salomé in Germany, Marie Bonaparte in France, Helene Deutsch in the USA, and Anna Freud in England.
The biographies and works of these different figures, all impressive, are focused on in the exhibition along with Freud’s theoretical work from the perspective of feminism, gender and queer studies criticism.