Spielrein was a young Russian-Jewish woman of 18, with mental problems, when she arrived in 1904 at a clinic in Zurich. She was from a family that had many cases on mental illness. She was Carl Gustav Jung's first patient. He was 29 and married. She formed an intense attachment to Jung, who seems to have reciprocated. Together, Sigmund Freud and Jung hatched the theory of countertransference to explain these feelings. Once cured, Sabina, who had been a gold-medal student, became the first female psychoanalyst and, within eight years, was practising alongside Freud and Jung and was a highly respected member of a formerly all-male profession.
She got over her love for Jung, married a Russian named Pavel and bore a daughter. At the start of WWI her husband returned to fight for Russia and she fled with her daughter to Geneva. She was the first person to give a lecture on child psychology. Later, she returned to Russia and worked as a child psychologist, which was very much in favour with Stalin at the time. After five years, Stalin abolished child psychology. During WWII, she trusted the Germans, having lived and worked with them for so long, did not flee and was killed, along with her children, by the Nazis.