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Film “A Dangerous Method” Explores Role of Sex in Therapy

Carl Jung (actor Michael Fassbender) has an affair with patient Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) in the film "A Dangerous Method." Photo courtesy of

The newly released film “A Dangerous Method” from acclaimed director David Cronenberg looks at the relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, founders of the early psychology movement.

The pair parted ways partly because the married Jung had sex with one of his patients Sabine Spielrein, who is portrayed in the film by Keira Knightley.

Social worker Stanley Siegel, LCSW, wrote his thoughts about the film in this column in Psychology Today. Siegel said social workers and other mental health professionals should never have sex with clients.

In fact, a strict code of ethics has emerged in the hundred years since the film took place to ensure there are boundaries between mental health providers and clients.

However, Siegel said encouraging clients to act out deep sexual desires in a safe, consensual manner can be therapeutic.

He wrote about one of his clients, “Jason,” who dated women who were like his wealthy, cold, and critical parents. In therapy Jason admitted he wanted a more caring, tender and loving partner. With the help of Siegel he was able to connect with a woman who sought the same thing in a mate.

To learn more about how social workers help clients improve their mental well-being visit the National Association of Social Workers’ “Help Starts Here” Mind and Spirit Website by clicking here.

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