Beatrice Moses Hinkle was born in San Francisco on October 10, 1874. She enjoyed the benefits of being privately educated, and soon developed a great sensibility for the arts and literature. Beatrice was an extraordinary thinker, a skill developed by the strong encouragement of her parents who were committed to educational methods and thrive for success. No more is known about her family relations.
In 1892, Beatrice married Walter S. Hinkle, a lawyer and assistant district attorney. Later that year, Beatrice entered the Cooper Medical School which later was taken over by Stanford University. Sadly, her husband died in 1899 after only seven years of marriage. Although the sadness caused by her husband's death, Beatrice had a good motive to lift her hope again when she finally graduated from the medical school and became a physician.
Her talent and dedication brought more satisfactions to her life when she was appointed as San Francisco's city physician. This particular fact was very important in her career because this was the very first time a female doctor was given such a responsibility. Hinkle was the first woman physician in the country to hold a public health position (McHenry, 1980).
While working as a physician, Hinkle became very intrigued in the time's latest method of mental treatment: psychotherapy. Because of the intense controversy created by Sigmund Freud and his psychoanalysis, Hinkle could not help but feel very curious and attracted to this fascinating "new way." In her search for more information about psychoanalysis, she moved to New York City in 1905 where she found good sources from the controversial psychoanalytic school, and was also overwhelmed by the fluent art of the "big apple."
Once in New York, she became associated with Dr. Charles R. Dana who helped her to get familiar with the psychoanalytic theory. Hinkle's fascination with the human unconscious was so enormous that in 1908, both Hinkle and Dana, founded the country's first psychotherapeutic clinic at Cornell Medical School (McHenry, 1980). Yet, her main goal was to personally meet the creator of the psychoanalytic theory, Sigmund Freud. Driven by this motive, Dr. Hinkle went to Vienna in 1909 to study under Freud's tutelage.
However, Freud's lack of recognition to women's psychological autonomy led her to change her mind about Freud's understanding of the human psyche. Thus Freud's thinking pushed her to aligned herself with the psychoanalytic group that supported Carl Jung's theories. By the time of Freud's glory as a psychologist, his one time friend (who later became his "ex-friend") Carl Jung, was also developing his own theories which were less biased than Freud's, and tended to prove Freud wrong in some aspects of his theories. Freud could not tolerate such disrespect, and removed Jung's name from his list of friends. He also made sure that everyone within the psychoanalytic circle in Vienna would be aware of this "disruption."
Dr. Hinkle was fascinated with Jung's ideas and proposals. She thought that Jung's theories were more adaptable to both males and females than those proposed by Freud. Dr. Hinkle knew well the difference between Freud and Jung, having studied with both; respectful of Freud, she preferred Jung's treatment of the unconscious (Karier, 1986).
Dr. Hinkle thought that one of the most attractive parts of Jung's theories was referred to the relief for those in revolt against the repressive character of the patriarchal society that under girded Freud's worldview (Karier, 1986). In this aspect, Jung proposed that the mother is the real dominant figure in the child's life and not the father as proposed by Freud. This also allowed for a break with the masculine dominance of Freudian psychology without blurring the traditional distinctions between masculine and feminine psychosexual roles.
About this particular Jung's assertion, Dr. Hinkle expressed: "Jung's development of this point of view shows very clearly that, just as the problem of the father is the great fact of Freud's psychology, the problem of the mother is the essence of Jung's, with the struggle carried on between the two great forces of love and power" (Karier, 1986, p. 291). This Jung's consideration of the female psyche as independent from males, attracted the admiration of Dr. Hinkle in such degree that she became the official translator of his work in America. Tired of hearing Freud's assertion that female psyche was a derivation of the male's, Dr. Hinkle returned to New York in 1915 determined to spread Jung's words in America.
Despite her opposition to Freud's patriarchal views, Dr. Hinkle remained a fan of his work. She noted that "When professor Freud of Vienna made his early discoveries in the realm of the neuroses, and announced that the basis and origin of the various symptoms grouped under the terms hysteria and neuroses lay in unfulfilled desires and wishes, unexpressed and unknown to the patient for the most part, and concerned chiefly with the sexual instinct...It was not realized what far-reaching influence this unpopular and bitterly attacked theory would exert on the understanding of human life in general...It has in fact led to a new understanding and evaluation of the whole conduct of human life" (Hinkle, 1916, p. 7).
By 1916, Dr. Hinkle published a translation of Jung's theories of the unconscious titled "The Psychology of the Unconscious," the first publication in America of Carl Jung's work. She was a fundamental part of the book since her own ideas were included in this work. She renewed these theories and remained a constant contributor. Dr. Hinkle added several theories of her own that were constructed through her personal experience with both Freud and Jung. She broadened the context of terms such as "complex" and "repression." She explained that " This important group of ideas or impressions, those that come out from the patient's mind while being psychoanalyzed, with the feelings and emotions clustered around them which are betrayed through this painful process, was called by Jung a complex" (Hinkle, 1916, p. 14).
Repression, in her theories, was the phenomenon that banishes these painful memories so once the patient states that there is nothing else to say or he cannot remember anything else he has been quite honest. She said that this reaction is a normal mechanism by which nature protects the individual from such painful feelings as are caused by unpleasant thoughts. "Then there is 'resistance'" she continues, "which is an important mechanism which interferes with a free flow of thought and produces the greatest difficulty in further conduct of the analysis since it blocks the return of the painful memories" (p. 14).
In 1916, Dr. Hinkle was included in the faculties of Cornell Medical College and the New York Post-Graduate Medical School (McHenry, 1980). She became one of the most famous female psychoanalyst within the psychological society of New York, and probably the earliest practitioner of Jung's theories in the United States. A very creative mind, Dr. Hinkle was constantly writing and investigating the human mind.
By 1923, she published her major book, "The Recreating of the Individual," which draws a parallel between women and artists. In this peculiar work, Dr. Hinkle states that the reactions of artists toward their art is extremely similar to that which mothers in general possess toward their children [which means that children are artistic creations of the mothers]; so any judgment or criticism against both the art and children is taken very personal by the artist and the mother, they share the same sensibility and the same possessive pride (Hinkle, 1923).
She also vindicates the female's creative orientation by saying that the male artist is closer to the psychology of woman than to the psychology of men. This is because women are biologically equipped with the necessary qualities to be considered purely creative beings. In this part, she agrees with Freud when he says that women are "an unknown continent;" Hinkle said that women are not only "unknown" but also misunderstood, mysterious, and as unfathomable to the man as the artist has been to the average person (Hinkle, 1923).
Dr. Hinkle published a vast number of articles, and translated Dirk Coster's "The Living and the Lifeless" in 1929. She was a tireless worker, and by the time of her retirement, she decided to move to Washington, Connecticut and opened a sanatorium so she would be busy and doing what she really wanted to do: psychoanalysis. Thus, she expanded her practice to "roughland," her personal retreat, where she funded her private sanatorium. Dr. Hinkle died in New York City on February 28, 1953 at the age of 79. Her legacy in the field is still active and investigated. She definitely was one of the earliest female pioneers in the development of the psychoanalysis, but most of all, she was a fundamental piece for the inclusion of women within the psychoanalytic school.
- Hinkle, B. (1916). Psychology of the unconscious: A study of the transformations and symbolisms of the libido. New York: Vail-Ballou Press.
- Hinkle, B. (1923). The recreating of the individual. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company.
- Karier, C. (1986). Scientists of the mind: Intellectual founders of modern psychology. Chicago, Illinois: University of Illinois Press.
- McHenry, R. (1980). Famous American Women: A Bibliographical dictionary from Colonial times to the present. New York: Dover Publications.
Source: Webster University