Kurt Freund 1914 – 1996
Kurt Freund died on October 23, 1996 at the age of 82 following a long battle with cancer. Many of us remember him as a pioneer in the study of sexual offenders whose influence can be found in a good deal of what we do in ATSA and other similar organizations. Most probably never got to meet Dr. Freund or hear him speak about the paraphilias but, to those privileged few, it appears that the experience left a lasting impression. For Helen, he was an encouraging father. To me, he was a friend and mentor—really, the man who helped set the course of my life. You may find it curious that I refer to him as "Dr. Freund" throughout this paper. My mother raised me to be properly deferential to my elders and, simply put, that is what I always called him.
Dr. Freund was the first recipient of the ATSA Award for Significant Achievement, which was given in 1988. In fact, as Bill Marshall tells me, there was no real discussion of
who would win the first award—it was obvious. To many, myself included, Dr. Freund was the father of modern forensic sexology (with no slight intended to the other true "giants" in our field). While Masters and Johnson, Kinsey, and others studied sexuality in the grander scheme of things, Dr. Freund was fascinated by the darker side of sexuality including, for that matter, homosexuality, which was still part of the "darker side" at that time.
All of us in the field of sexual offender work are, and will be for years to come, indebted to this remarkable man, even if some are not aware of Kurt's influence on their work. I for one, remember Kurt with admiration and affection. In one of the most memorable moments in my career, I had the honor of presenting Kurt with the first of what was to become ATSA's Significant Achievement Award. I cannot think of anyone who better deserved to be the inaugural recipient of this award.
A Meeting with Destiny
In the summer of 1984, I was lost. I had very little idea what to do with myself. School was not going well, and I had decided to try my hand at the job market. A trip to the University of Toronto Career Counseling and Placement Centre landed me an interview at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry (which later became part of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health [CAMH]—these names will be used interchangeably throughout this paper). At the time, all I knew was that they wanted someone with familiarity with psychophysiological methods. I had taken psychophysiology the term before and thought that this might be a selling point. My first interview was with the incumbent research assistant in the Research Section of Behavioural Sexology, I.G. Racansky. He was the one who broke the news that the job was essentially "measuring penises" (this was to be the topic of many party gags for friends—"Hey, ask Robin what he does for a living..."). My second interview was with Dr. Ray Blanchard and, only after getting by him did I meet Dr. Freund.
At the time of meeting, I had no idea who Kurt Freund was. What I did know was that I was 21 and he was a lot older (70 to be precise, I learned later). Short, bald, funny accent—some have affectionately likened Dr. Freund to Yoda, George Lucas' sage Jedi Master, which fits in so many ways. Anyhow, I believe he hired me because I was young and because I stuttered, which I think he mistook for naïve and easily controlled. We spent the next seven years learning just exactly how stubborn we each could be; however, always in the cause of precision in research. If nothing else, Dr. Freund taught me to be precise.
In some respects, my relationship with Dr. Freund was like Mitch Albom's relationship with Morrie (as related in Tuesdays with Morrie). Okay, sure, we talked mostly about deviant sexuality, but each and every morning we met to discuss the progress of our current research projects and to conjecture about where we would go next. You might find it odd that I use the term "we" when speaking of work with Dr. Freund but, truly, research for Dr. Freund was a collaborative process. Dr. Freund also taught me to be inclusive, to be a team player. In addition to talking about sexual deviance, Dr. Freund and I talked about current events and, every once in a while, he would let me know a little of his past and of his life outside of behavioral sexology. I spent many hours talking and reminiscing with Helen before setting out to write this paper.
Dr. Freund would not be happy that we are writing this. He eschewed public attention and always felt awkward when someone acknowledged his work in a public way. Generally, I always saw him as an intensely personal man; one who wanted to be left alone to do his work. Indeed, the Research Section of Behavioural Sexology was squirreled away in the back corner of the research wing at the Clarke Institute. His secretary of nearly 20 years, Freda Salutin (mother of the famed Canadian playwright and social commentator, Rick Salutin), was not far from his age and, in so many ways, was a perfect choice. She was the grandmotherly foil to his strict, disciplined, and sometimes socially-awkward approach. Few people knew that because his section was only staffed for half a secretary, Dr. Freund made up the rest of her wages from his own salary.
In the latter years of his life, Dr. Freund received many "lifetime achievement awards", much like the ATSA Significant Achievement Award. While always appreciative of the sentiment of the colleagues bestowing these honors, he privately referred to these as his "tombstones". To share a funny story, Dr. Freund had several nails sticking out of the wall in his office. In his closet, was a stack of the tombstones, some of which he would pull out and put on the vacant nails, depending on who was visiting. When the dignitary had left, the plaques went back to their hiding place. To be fair, Dr. Freund would have been very upset to know that he had offended anyone, even unwittingly, and especially those whom he regarded as friends. This story is shared to show you a bit of the man, not to upset those who thanked him for his contributions by granting awards.
Writing this paper has been a cathartic process for both Helen and me. Helen believes that her mother, Anna (who passed away on January 28, 2004 at the age of 95), would be very pleased to know that we are writing this paper, and that her husband's story is being told. On the 10th anniversary of his passing, we hope to share some of Dr. Freund with the rest of you.
What stands out in my memory of Kurt is his absolute fearlessness in the face of political correctness. It was as if he was oblivious to the concept. The following example will serve as an illustration but there are many others. Kurt had put forward the hypothesis that voyeurism, exhibitionism, obscene telephone calling, toucheurism - frotteurism, and at least some cases of the preferential rape pattern were distortions of normal courtship behavior. Kurt was a biologist at heart and borrowed the concept of courtship from the ethologists' descriptions of lower animals' fixed-action patterns leading to mating. To feminist scholars, who of course viewed rape as an act of aggression and an example of men's domination of women, referring to rape as a disorder of courtship was anathema. During a coffee break at the Clarke Institute late in his life, he told me he could not understand why his concept of Courtship Disorders had not been more influential in the field. When I suggested to him that the rest of us did not have his courage, I had the impression that he did not understand my response.
Howard E. Barbaree
Kurt Werner Freund was born on January 17, 1914 in Chrudim in the Bohemian province of the Czechoslovak Republic. His family were German Jews, and they generally
spoke German and thought of themselves as such, at least until the war. At that point, things became difficult, because they were considered Jews by the Germans, but Germans by the Czechs. Dr. Freund's parents were Heinrich and Hella (née Pick) and he had a younger brother named Hans. His mother's younger sister, Emily Pick, was only 12 years older than him and was Dr. Freund's closest family member. He maintained a very close relationship with her for much of his life.
Dr. Freund received his medical degree from Karlovy (Charles) University in Prague on December 18, 1937. He later achieved the academic level of Docent (Doctor of Science) in 1962, also from Charles University. Little known to most of us, Dr. Freund also had a certificate in philosophy which, in hindsight, explains the breadth of his reading and understanding of the human condition. His collection of reprints—all catalogued (and read!)—filled four-plus floor to ceiling hanging file cabinets in Mrs. Salutin's office. He frequently hired psychiatric patients from the back-to-work project in the Occupational Therapy department to help organize papers and paste typewritten reference information on literally thousands of Rolodex cards.
Dr. Freund was unable to practice as a physician for several years during the war, because of his Jewish heritage. His clinical career, proper, started in 1948 at the University Psychiatric Clinic, where he stayed until the early 1960s when he moved to the Psychiatric Research Institute of Prague in Bohnice, associated with the Ministry of Health. Most of his work was completed there and he also taught at the Charles University.
Dr. Freund met Anna Hloun when he was a medical student, and they married on January 13, 1942. Anna was a pianist who taught music. Shortly after marrying, German law changed and it was no longer safe for them to live together. Anna was not Jewish and, apparently, being married to a Jew increased a person's jeopardy, vis a vis the gas chambers. As we all now know, those were very difficult times for Jews in Europe, especially in areas controlled by Germany. For a while, mixed marriages helped to prolong the Jewish half's right to life and especially while there was a 'mixed blood' infant on the way. However this 'Nazi regulation' changed and Dr. Freund and Anna were forced to divorce in 1943 in order to protect Anna and newly-born Helen. In fact, Anna was forced to write a letter denouncing her "ex-husband" and later had to pretend to "get rid of the baby". For a short time, Helen was sent to an orphanage to be adopted by arranged family in order to keep her safe. Her parents were able to reclaim her six months after the war; however, the foster family was reluctant to give her up—they were actually unaware that she had parents. Dr. Freund and Anna remarried in 1945 after the war. Their son, Peter, was born in 1948. Helen remembers that her parents "inspired" one another.
Dr. Freund did not speak a lot about the war to me during our morning meetings. Knowing something of European history, I was sure that he had likely suffered greatly, but I was reluctant to pry. I learned most of what I now know about that period of his life only as a consequence of writing this paper. During the war, both Dr. Freund and Anna were keenly aware that things were very dangerous for people of Jewish decent, or for those who did not share beliefs with the Nazi Party. They had to be immensely vigilant against being caught by the Germans and narrowly escaped death on numerous occasions by both luck and extreme presence of mind. Dr. Freund tried in vain to get his parents and younger brother to flee but, like many others, they could not believe that matters would become so inhumane and out of hand. As a tragic consequence, Dr. Freund lost his parents and brother Hans to the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Anna's mother (a “political prisoner”) and his beloved Aunt Emily survived the war, but not without great hardship. Like most Jews and other displaced persons, they lost all of their belongings. Dr. Freund worked courageously as a physician for the partisans in Slovakia during the war. He and Anna were graciously assisted and hidden, often at considerable peril, by many people they met.
Kurt Freund was directly responsible for my getting involved in research with sexual deviants. I found him to be a very kind and considerate gentleman, a scientist devoted to his work, very concerned regarding scientific rigour. My most personal contact with him was our last meeting in Minneapolis in 1989. We sat and drank coffee and he told me about his beginnings, his family and how they had suffered in World War II, his work in Czechoslovakia and his escape from that regime. He need not have told me any of this and I was quite touched by it. We lost him shortly thereafter. When I think back on how he influenced my work, I realize that I miss him still.
D. Richard Laws
After the War
Czechoslovakia was controlled by the Communist Party after 1945. As was common for people not wanting to make trouble, Dr. Freund joined the Party in 1946, but was expelled in 1948 for not towing the line. He did not believe in totalitarianism or the brutality that was often associated with the Party's methods. However, as a teacher at the University, it was wise for him to be a member so, in 1950 and with the assistance of a colleague, he reaccepted membership in the Community Party. In reality, Dr. Freund could not have dared to refuse membership, as many purges of dissidents were going on, and he might have faced incarceration or the gallows. Even still, Dr. Freund endured several frightening interrogation sessions at Pankrac Jail. Helen remembers that her father always spoke plainly and with courage and tenacity about his political beliefs. She believes that his approach may have saved him to a degree, as officials may have thought him to be somewhat "crazy" because of his bold comments in spite of the great danger in making them.
To remember Kurt as a citizen and political person: In about 1955, in still dangerous Stalinist times, Kurt gave us lectures on psychopathology. When lecturing about antisocial psychopaths, Kurt remarked that—as far as our rulers of that time had been concerned, we were in the hands of such psychopaths. Truth has had priority in Kurt's considerations.
Dr. Freund remained a reluctant member of the Party until he left Czechoslovakia in 1968. His membership was to haunt him for many years after, particularly in regard to his efforts to seek employment and travel in the United States of America. Indeed, in spite of many attempts to explain his membership, his assertions were never accepted by the State Department and he always had to apply for a special visa. For her part, Anna was also a member of the Party, but she successfully resigned her membership in 1953. In fact, according to Helen, her mother made "quite a show" of her resignationin front of all attending members (and on behalf of a few of them), virtually strutting to the Party officer’s desk and handing in her membership card while deriding Party officials for their indoctrination and failure to deal with continued rampant anti-Semitism. Interestingly, Helen was never allowed as a child to join the youth school organization (or the university party later).
He was a pioneer in the field of human sexuality. His emphasis on the scientific method, for example looking objectively at differences in erotic arousal patterns, was groundbreaking. He led the way in documenting that homosexual men were no more strongly attracted to children than heterosexual men. He was years ahead of his time in documenting how testosterone-lowering interventions could be helpful in treating the paraphilias. His compassion for his patients, his thoughtful enlightenment, and his commitment to the scientific method will continue to serve as a positive role model for generations to come.
Fred S. Berlin
Life in Canada
Dr. Freund and his family fled Prague in August 1968, five short days after 200,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 5,000 tanks invaded Czechoslovakia to end the "Prague Spring" of political liberalization. Because he had assisted radio against the Russians, Dr. Freund went into hiding in order to avoid being "taken at night and arrested". He was able to secure passports for his family and sent them (son Peter and his pregnant wife, Helen and Rudy and their 13-month old son Erik) ahead while he and Anna remained behind so he could inform the military that he was leaving the country. They left with nothing but the clothes on their backs and a few things they could carry.
Dr. Freund first considered emigrating to Australia, but was dissuaded by that country's compulsory military service, which he was afraid might have applied to Peter or his grandson(s). He also considered going to the USA, but was deemed unwelcome because of his former membership in the Communist Party. Dr. Freund was ultimately invited to come to Canada. Although he was not technically required to do all of the exams of other medical practitioners, he decided that it would be the right thing to do. Fairness was always crucial to Dr. Freund but, curiously, he seemed less inclined to fight for his own rights than for those of others. As an example, although he was one of the more internationally-acclaimed and prolific researchers in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, Dr. Freund never rose above the rank of Lecturer. He was a humble man and did not fight this, but I have always felt a bit of protective outrage that his value to the department was never properly acknowledged.
Upon arriving in Canada, Dr. Freund took a position at the newly opened Clarke Institute of Psychiatry. The story varies from source to source, but it appears that comments he made at an early meeting of clinical staff may also have affected his position in the Department of Psychiatry. In the sexological community, Dr. Freund was well-known for his work regarding homosexuality; however, most of those writings were in Czech. As a consequence, others in the clinical community—largely dominated by psychoanalysts at the time—mistakenly believed that he was an authority on the treatment of homosexuals. As the story goes, Dr. Freund once publicly and, apparently, embarrassingly opined that it was not the homosexuals who were in need of treatment.
Rather, he believed that those who persecuted them for their preference were the ones in need of treatment. This opinion got him fired from his new position at the Clarke Institute and it was only after others on the clinical staff threatened to quit that he was reinstated. However, Helen believes that the clinical director of that era never forgot or forgave the public embarrassment. Interestingly, many consider Dr. Freund's early work towards the decriminalization and cessation of persecution of homosexuality in Czechoslovakia prior to 1960 to have been pivotal in leading to the American Psychiatric Association's decision to remove it from the DSM.
My memory is that he was a pure (and impressive) "sexologist", which was really foreign to the field at the time, and still might be. In the context of the time, the mantra was that sexual criminal conduct was only about aggression and violence—not really a sexual issue. Much of that thinking pervades even today. At the time, Dr. Freund was the pure sexologist—doing what I considered to be the first real studies in arousal and resisting the idea that it was just about hatred of women or children. But most importantly, I got him comfortable with giving me hugs at ATSA conferences, which my colleagues had said was an impossible task. I also had dinner with him once at Gene Abel's home on Stone Mountain and the conversation turned to the Holocaust. With a tear in his eye but tenderness in his words, he declined to discuss it. I have always wondered how so many of us emerge from tragedies and yet turn to the helping field.
Dr. Freund had an old world work ethic, believing that "young people should work". He included himself in that. He arrived at work every day, without fail, at 8:00 AM or earlier and often stayed until well after "quitting time". He also frequently continued to work after arriving home in the evening. In fact, at the age of 72, Dr. Freund bought not one but two of Apple's first generation Macintosh personal computers—one for the office, one for home. He admirably embraced the PC revolution at an age when most people were enjoying their retirement. A side benefit to the rest of us was that his clinical notes were now readable; Dr. Freund had some of the best medical chicken-scratch around. It also helped me and his other research assistants to improve on his English grammar. Dr. Abel fondly noted how difficult it was to read Dr. Freund's early English language papers.
Dr. Freund and his family rented a cottage on Georgian Bay in Ontario's cottage country. He spent many weekends and summer holidays there with his family and friends. According to Helen, her father loved to entertain and, in sometimes stark contrast to his professional demeanor at work, he was very warmhearted, charming, and funny. Dr. Freund was a keen observer of the arts, particularly with respect to music. He was especially fond of the recordings of the Academy of Ancient Music (www.aam.co.uk), but listened politely with apparent interest (feigned or real, I am not sure) to my explanations of the sociopolitical events leading to the birth of the Sex Pistols, the Clash, and punk rock in general. Remember, he was in his 70s and I was in my 20s.
Helen started medical school in Czechoslovakia, but eventually established a successful career in nursing, recently retiring from Health Canada as an occupational health nurse. Her husband Rudi is now Professor Emeritus of computer science at the University of Toronto, where he taught until his recent retirement. After many years of "searching for himself" (which, incidentally, worried Dr. Freund to no end) after finishing a degree in physiology, their son Erik finished at the top of his class in chiropractic studies to honor his grandfather's memory. Dr. Freund's son, Peter, completed his university studies in mathematics in the early 1970s and continues to live in Munich with his long-term partner working as a mathematician. Peter’s daughter Martina is a pediatrician in Munich, and his son Richard is a mathematician in Brazil.
It would be virtually impossible to fully summarize all of the contributions Dr. Freund
made to our field in this one article. In the following, I have chosen to highlight a few particularly important aspects of his research. In general, I believe it is safe to say that Dr. Freund's work in the assessment, classification, and treatment of sexual deviance knew few bounds.
As a graduate student, I was drawn to his work. Dr. Freund was a hard-driving scientist always searching for clarity and perfection in diagnosis. His use of the term hebephilia has been widely adopted, and his belief that answers would be found in neuroscience is now coming to pass. He was a good friend and continues to be a major influence in my work.
Helen does not know for sure what drew her father's attention to sexuality, but she has a couple of hypotheses. She remembers a "near miss" situation that occurred when she was about four years old and a patient who had escaped from the psychiatric hospital tried to lure her away. However, she also remembers that her father was always driven by justice—which was likely strongly instilled in him by his experiences during the war. Of particular importance to Dr. Freund were the rights of homosexuals. His development of the phallometric device was initially intended to assist the government in "weeding" homosexuals out of the military. It was in this process that he began to understand and appreciate the nature and dire social consequences of being homosexual. It changed his thinking.
Freund was a member of a vanishing breed—a sexologist whose research and clinical activities included paraphilias and sexual offending, sexual orientation, gender identity disorders, and sexual dysfunctions. Sex researchers nowadays tend to work in separate silos. Thus, people who are familiar with Freund's work in the area of sexual offending may be unaware that he was one of the major theorists of the late 20th Century in the area of sexual orientation or that he published influential papers on transsexualism. In terms of his enormous scope, Freund was a sexologist in the tradition of Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Magnus Hirschfeld, and Havelock Ellis. Freund influenced a generation of sex researchers, and through them, he continues to influence their students and their students' students. Meeting Freund was certainly the pivotal event in my own career. Before Freund, I never thought of doing sex research; after Freund, I never considered doing anything else. Freund's work will always be the benchmark by which I measure my own achievements.
Dr. Freund's single greatest contribution to behavioural sexology was the development of the phallometric test. Elegant in its simplicity, the phallometric device allows researchers and clinicians to establish an individual's sexual interests and, sometimes, preferences. Although phallometry was the major contribution, access to and refinement of the technology allowed Dr. Freund and his collaborators to investigate many aspects of human sexuality, from homosexuality to pedophilia to sexual dangerousness.
In the beginning, there was Desire,
And Desire was with Men and filled their Penises.
And Freund saw it and said that it was good.
And then Freund separated Sexual Arousal from Sexual Preference,
where before there had been only Darkness.
And Freund assessed all of the Deviants that creepeth upon the Earth,
Using Stimuli according to their Kind.
Those that lusteth after Children, he called Pedophiles,
And those that desireth the coercion of Women, he called Paraphilic Rapists.
Then Freund saw that from Courtship Disorders came Deviance.
But the People understood it not and they remained in Darkness,
Knowing not from whence Desire comes,
For the Penis swells with Desire because it has blindly multiplied its possessors upon the earth.
Dr. Freund's work with the phallometric test was not always encouraging. Having successfully demonstrated that the phallometric test could distinguish age and gender preferences, Dr. Freund wanted very badly to show that his test procedure could also be used to differentiate activity preferences. In particular, he wanted to be able to phallometrically diagnose sexual dangerousness (e.g., sadism and paraphilic rape proneness), specifically because of the immense potential for harm and violence inherent in such persons. He had used the method in his early research on the courtship disorder hypothesis, but did not consider those data sufficient for the purposes of individual diagnosis. Over the course of my tenure with him (seven years), we threw everything but the kitchen sink at the problem—including use of pre-arousing stimuli, button-pressing techniques (following Vern Quinsey's lead), videotaped rape scenes, and even presentation of filmed hysterectomy and mastectomy surgeries. Although we were generally able to distinguish patients from controls as groups, the specificity of the test never approached that of the test for pedophilia. In short, we failed miserably in our efforts to develop a phallometric test protocol for sexual dangerousness capable of aiding in individual diagnosis and, as a consequence, I have always been skeptical of reports asserting that this can be done.
Kurt's insightful Courtship Disorder Theory, derived from basic animal research and dependent upon phallometric testing to confirm aspects of the theory, markedly influenced the theoretical speculations of others. I still consider this to be one of the most elegant theories in our field.
I would be remiss if I did not exploit this opportunity to publicly correct oft-misquoted research on which I collaborated with Dr. Freund. In 1989, we (along with Doug Rienzo) published "Heterosexuality, Homosexuality, and Erotic Age Preference" (The Journal of Sex Research, 26, 107-117) and, in 1992, we published "The Proportions of Heterosexual and Homosexual Pedophiles Among Sex Offenders Against Children" (Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 18, 34-43). These articles have frequently been cited by fundamentalist lobbyists as proof-positive that homosexuals are more inclined to molest children. This was not a finding of our research, period. What we found was that, among men with a sexual preference for children, there was an over-representation of men with a same-sex preference. To reiterate, among men with a sexual preference for children, as diagnosed using Dr. Freund's phallometric test, there was a higher relative incidence of homosexuality. In all other research we conducted, we never found that androphilic (i.e., a preference for male adults) men had any greater relative erotic interest in children than did their gynephilic (i.e., a preference for female adults) peers. Dr. Freund was and would continue to be greatly distressed that any of his research would contribute to the persecution of any group of people.
Kurt Freund held a set of core beliefs about human sexual behavior that informed his empirical research, his theorizing, his clinical practice, and his clinical teaching. Important among these beliefs were the following: (1) The main determinants of erotic preferences are biological and probably prenatal, (2) erotic preferences cannot be fundamentally altered in adults, and (3) erotic preferences can and should be measured objectively and quantified to whatever extent possible. Freund was not the only proponent of these views, but he was—for long decades in which they were deeply unpopular—one of their major proponents.
I left Dr. Freund's department at the Clarke Institute in 1991 to start doctoral studies and to assist Ron Langevin in establishing one of the first pilot projects for the community-based treatment of sexual offenders for the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). I later became the first community-based sex offender treatment specialist hired by CSC and the program I brought in-house ultimately became the model for CSC's National Sex Offender Maintenance Program. The seed planted by Dr. Freund was growing and coming into bloom. However, being off-site, I no longer had my morning meetings with Dr. Freund. I had a wife and small child and my studies and work to contend with, and the weeks between conversations became months. In hindsight, it never really occurred to me that he would die—I thought I had all the time in the world to pick his brain and get more ideas. I couldn't miss him more if I tried.
I remember another story about Kurt. He was being cross-examined by a defense lawyer. The lawyer said with a note of incredulity and disapproval in his voice, "Isn't it true Dr. Freund, that you are more than 80 years old?!?" After a short pause, Kurt replied, "Yes, but I can't help it."
Through the late 1980s and into the early 1990s, Dr. Freund's health began to fail. He required a pacemaker, and had gastrointestinal difficulties that required a strict and, unfortunately, bland diet (Helen recalls that her father always loved zesty food). Earlier in his life, Dr. Freund had been a smoker and, in early 1994, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He agreed to undergo radiation therapy, but refused chemotherapy and surgery. Most of all, Dr. Freund was concerned that the cancer would spread to his brain and that it would affect his mind. He was very fearful that he would become a burden on others, and was acutely aware that Anna's Alzheimer's was progressing. Nonetheless, faced with the inevitability of his condition, he decided to live life to the fullest. He dropped his diet and started to go out to restaurants and social events with many family members and friends from Canada and abroad. To a degree, he was almost able to "forget" that he was sick.
In speaking with his friends and colleagues in preparing this paper, there was considerable debate as to whether or not to document the circumstances of Dr. Freund's death. Those who knew him are aware that he committed suicide, as was also documented in the obituary in the New York Times; however, there continues to be sensitivity about reiterating this fact. However, Helen is very clear on this issue—the truth is important and must be told.
"Father tortured us with talking about his plan." When Dr. Freund started to experience pain in his neck, he knew that the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. He saw this as a harbinger of its eventual spread to his brain and, from then on, he stepped up his plans for death. Dr. Freund was a member of Dying with Dignity (www.dyingwithdignity.ca) and had obtained information on assisted suicide from them and the Apolinar Clinic in Prague. He was afraid, however, that he would not be successful and asked Helen to help him, but she could not. Helen believes that her father had made his decision as early as March 1994 (shortly after diagnosis) and remembers that he treated his suicide plans much like a research project: "It was a well-researched, well-calculated plan". However, she was always afraid that he would make a mistake and do it too soon stating, "I could not accept it." Anna believed her husband's scheme to be callous, and frequently tried to postpone it.
On the morning of October 23, 1996, Anna woke up and found a "Do Not Enter" sign on her husband's door. Upon entering the room, the building superintendent found her husband dead and they summoned Helen from her work assignment—Helen believes that her father made sure she was seeing clients far away. On the table were an empty bottle of wine and two bottles of pills—muscle relaxants and sleeping pills. All around the room were posted signs saying "Do Not Resuscitate", again, in deference to his wish not to be left in a vegetative state. Helen believes that her father's approach to his suicide was "aesthetically-minded, meticulous, and peaceful". I have always seen his choice of suicide as typically Freundian—data-based and precisely implemented but, at the time, it did not stop me from being really angry at him. There was no funeral and his body was donated to science. Eventually, some of his ashes were sprinkled on the grass across from the window of the office he occupied for 20 years at the Clarke Institute; the remainder was spread on the grounds of the Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital in Prague. A small group of friends, associates, and admirers gathered for a short memorial at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, where he had worked so hard for so long, including the week before he died.
Finally, psychiatrist Kurt Freund, one of the world's leading experts on the study of deviant sexual arousal, passed away last week at the age of 82. Dr. Freund's last words were, 'Whatever happens to me, could someone please make sure that the headline on my obituary does not contain the phrase "deviant sexual arousal"? Would that be too much to ask from you, you dirty bastards.'
Norm MacDonald, Weekend Update, Saturday Night Live
In death, Dr. Freund was eulogized in the media around the world, most notably in the New York Times and, astonishingly, on Saturday Night Live. I am not sure how he would have reacted to knowing that his death would be lampooned as such but, having come of age during the Belushi/Ackroyd/Curtin/Chase/Murray years of SNL, I am proud of the fact that Dr. Freund's presence extended to one of the comedic cultural icons of our era.
In the 10 years since Dr. Freund's death, we have seen much growth in our field. In particular, we have moved away from the perils of unstructured clinical judgment. Dr. Freund would have been very happy about this, as he would with Karl Hanson's finding that deviant sexual arousal (via phallometry) is the most robust predictor of recidivism. He would also have been pleased that we have worked feverishly to better define what we mean by treatment. Dr. Freund did not "believe" that treatment could change paraphiliacs, but he was a firm adherent to the idea that proper counseling and sensible risk management could assist some persons in remaining offense-free. He always knew, and we should remember, that we cannot stop them all from offending, but we can help a good many of them. As many of the quoted practitioners and researchers have noted in this paper, we owe much of the place of therapeutic sex drive reduction in that "sensible risk management" to Dr. Freund's early work in that regard.
Dr. Kurt Freund was a true gentleman and read extensively in the scientific and nonscientific areas. I visited him in his laboratory on a number of occasions at the Clarke Institute, and he was always the same: a gentleman who insisted on a vigorous scientific approach. He remained gracious, objective and interested in the field until his death. Throughout his life, he was indeed the right man with the right experience and scientific knowledge that the field desperately needed. Dr. Freund should be considered the father of the scientific approach to the study of the paraphilias. We all miss you, Kurt.
Gene G. Abel
Most of all, I think Dr. Freund would be pleased to see that there are now serious efforts to better define and diagnose pedophilia and the other paraphilias, particularly in the mainstream mental health community and not just in obscure sexological journals. At present, his phallometric method remains the only reliable tool for assessing gender and age preference but, curiously, site-to-site standardization remains elusive. Ray Blanchard tells me that there is already one study "showing that cooperative homosexual and heterosexual subjects can be almost perfectly discriminated by their brain activity during exposure to visual stimuli depicting men and women"—as he called it, a virtual "phallometric fMRI". Of all in Canada, Dr. Blanchard was likely Dr. Freund's closest and most admired research collaborator.
I only met him once, in the early 1990s, and he cheerfully remembered me as "the guy with the French name who publishes with Vern Quinsey." That was good enough for me. He told me he liked my work and I felt very rewarded by his encouragement. He influenced my approach to research by being very sceptical of theoretical notions that were inconsistent with knowledge from other fields (in his case, ethology and learning). His notion that different paraphilias may have similar causes despite very different behavioural manifestations was ground-breaking and I continue to pursue these ideas in my research.
Dr. Lalumière’s comments above refer generally to Dr. Freund's courtship disorder hypothesis, which has been noted in the comments of others. It may be that this hypothesis, and the sort of thinking that derives from it, is where Dr. Freund's greatest legacy lies. At its heart, the courtship disorder hypothesis is an attempt to place deviant sexual behavior in the greater context of sexual behavior in general, and across species. It forces us to better define the terms "normal" and "deviant", which we humans, as a species, continue to do poorly and on which ATSA conference planning committees sometimes let me rant (thanks).
I had the privilege of publishing several papers and book chapters with Dr. Freund before he died. In fact, I was the second author on his last paper, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior in 1998. Probably his greatest influence on me was the fact that he was both a productive researcher and a clinician who had compassion for the clients he saw in his practice, many of whom had one or more paraphilias that meant they would leave a life of restricted sexual expression (if they refrained from acting upon it) or conflict with the law (if they didn't). We often talk about the ideal of the clinician scientist in practice but few actually achieve this blend.
Dr. Seto and others make an excellent point. There was an important duality in Dr. Freund's understanding of sexual deviance that was marked by both realism and humanism. Frequently upon diagnosing a patient with a paraphilia, Dr. Freund would say, "This man is very dangerous, he can never be free." However, invariably the next statement would be, "What a poor, poor man." If I have any skill as a clinician in working with sexual offenders, it derives principally from the compassion instilled in me by Dr. Freund.
Throughout this article I have included quotes and thoughts from many of Dr. Freund's friends and colleagues. What was most heartwarming was the unanimous identification of Dr. Freund's work as a "pivotal moment" in the development of their careers. That so many people remember and, perhaps more importantly, miss Dr. Freund has been very touching for Helen. A short three weeks after Dr. Freund's death, I was given the ATSA Graduate Research Award. That was a bittersweet experience. Although I had let him know that I had been selected, I am not sure he truly appreciated his role in that process. My study empirically validating the presence of childhood overidentification in homosexual pedophilia (i.e., emotional congruence) was borne of a clinical observation, but completion of the study required methodological precision and a depth of understanding I would never have had but for Dr. Freund's influence. At the Awards Luncheon, Bill Murphy presented the award, which I dedicated to Dr. Freund. As I write these closing remarks, his picture is over my desk, forever watching and inspiring.
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