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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 56 (2014) 2, 106 - 113


Sabina Spielrein: Child Psychiatrist avant la lettre Sabina Spielrein: Child Psychiatrist avant la lettre

J. De Vleminck

background Nowadays Sabine Spielrein is remembered primarily because of her very early work (directly influenced by Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung) or because of her ‘amour fou’ with Jung. As a result, we tend to forget her role as a pioneer of child psychiatry and psychology and as a contributor to child analysis and playtherapy.
aim To cast new light on Spielrein as a forgotten pioneer of child psychiatry.
method A review of the primary and secondary literature.
results The one-sided depiction of Spielrein and her work in the secondary literature has been corrected. Starting from her initial interest in psychoanalysis, the multifaceted Spielrein evolved towards developmental and experimental research. Spielrein’s importance lies with her pioneers role and her contribution to the developing (integrative) child psychiatry.
conclusion Spielrein’s largely forgotten work can be seen as a prefiguration of integrative child psychiatry.

keywords child observation, child psychiatry, child psychology, history of psychiatry, play therapy