16 September 1885
|Died||4 December 1952 67) (aged|
New York City, U.S.
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Karen Horney ( // ; née Danielsen; 16 September 1885 – 4 December 1952) was a German psychoanalyst who practiced in the United States during her later career. Her theories questioned some traditional Freudian views. This was particularly true of her theories of sexuality and of the instinct orientation of psychoanalysis. She is credited with founding feminist psychology in response to Freud's theory of penis envy. She disagreed with Freud about inherent differences in the psychology of men and women, and she traced such differences to society and culture rather than biology. She is often classified as neo-Freudian.
Horney was born Karen Danielsen on 16 September 1885 in Blankenese, Germany, near Hamburg. Her father, Berndt Wackels Danielsen (1836–1910), was Norwegian but had German citizenship. He was a ship's captain in the merchant marine, and a Protestant traditionalist (his children nicknamed him "the Bible-thrower", as he did indeed throw Bibles).
Her mother, Clotilde, née van Ronzelen (1853–1911), known as "Sonni", was also Protestant, of Dutch origin. She was said to be more open-minded than Berndt, and yet she was "depressed, irritable, and domineering toward Karen".
Karen's elder brother was also named Berndt, and Karen cared for him deeply. She also had four elder half-siblingsfrom her father's previous marriage. However, there was no contact between the children of her father's two marriages.
Horney kept diaries beginning at the age of thirteen. These journals showed Horney's confidence in her path for the future. She considered becoming a doctor, even though, at that time, women were not allowed to attend universities.According to Horney's adolescent diaries her father was "a cruel disciplinary figure," who also held his son Berndt in higher regard than Karen. Instead of being offended or feeling indignation over Karen's perceptions of him, her father brought her gifts from far-away countries. Despite this, Karen always felt deprived of her father's affection and instead became attached to her mother.
From roughly the age of nine Karen became ambitious and somewhat rebellious. She felt that she could not become pretty, and instead decided to vest her energies into her intellectual qualities — despite the fact she was seen by most as pretty. At this time she developed a crush on her older brother, who became embarrassed by her attentions — soon pushing her away. She suffered the first of several bouts of depression — an issue that would plague her for the rest of her life.
In 1904, when Karen was 19, her mother left her father (without divorcing him), taking the children with her.
Against her parents' wishes, Horney entered medical school in 1906.The University of Freiburg was in fact one of the first institutions throughout Germany to enroll women in medical courses—with higher education only becoming available to women in Germany in 1900. By 1908, Horney had transferred to the University of Göttingen, and would transfer once more to the University of Berlin before graduating with an M.D. in 1913. Attending several universities was common at the time to gain a basic medical education.
Through her fellow student Carl Müller-Braunschweig—who later became a psychoanalyst—she met the business student Oskar Horney. They married in 1909.The couple moved to Berlin together, where Oskar worked in industry while Karen continued her studies at the Charité. Within the space of one year, Karen gave birth to her first child and lost both of her parents. She entered psychoanalysis to help herself cope. Her first analyst was Karl Abraham in 1910, then she moved to Hanns Sachs.
Karen and Oskar had three daughters. The first, born in 1911, was Brigitte Horney, who became a famous actress.
In 1920, Horney was a founding member of the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute. She then took up a teaching position within the Institute.She helped design and eventually directed the Society's training program, taught students, and conducted psychoanalytic research. She also saw patients for private psychoanalytic sessions, and continued to work at the hospital.
By 1923, Oskar Horney's firm became insolvent, and Oskar developed meningitis soon after. He rapidly became embittered, morose and argumentative. That same year, Horney's brother died of a pulmonary infection. Both events contributed to a worsening of Horney's mental health. She entered into a second period of deep depression; she swam out to sea during a vacation and considered committing suicide.
In 1926, Horney and her husband separated; they would divorce in 1937. She and her three daughters moved out of Oskar's house. Oskar had proven to be very similar to Horney's father, with an authoritarian personality. After studying more psychoanalytic theory, Horney regretted having allowed her husband to rule over his children when they were younger.
Despite her increasing deviation from orthodox Freudian doctrine, she practiced and taught at the Berlin Psychoanalytic Society until 1932. Freud's increasing coolness toward her and her concern over the rise of Nazism in Germany motivated her to accept an invitation by Franz Alexander to become his assistant at the Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis, and in 1932, she and her daughters moved to the United States.
Two years after moving to Chicago, Horney relocated to Brooklyn. Brooklyn was home to a large Jewish community, including a growing number of refugees from Nazi Germany, and psychoanalysis thrived there. It was in Brooklyn that Horney became friends with analysts such as Harry Stack Sullivan and Erich Fromm. She had a sexual relationship with Fromm that ended bitterly.
While living in Brooklyn, Horney taught and trained analysts in New York City, working both at the New School for Social Research and the New York Psychoanalytic Institute.
It was in Brooklyn that Horney developed and advanced her composite theories regarding neurosis and personality, based on experiences gained from working in psychotherapy. In 1937 she published The Neurotic Personality of Our Time, which had wide popular readership. By 1941, Horney was Dean of the American Institute of Psychoanalysis, a training institute for those who were interested in Horney's own organization, the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. She founded this organization after becoming dissatisfied with the generally strict, orthodox nature of the prevailing psychoanalytic community.
Horney's deviation from Freudian psychology led to her resigning from her post, and she soon took up teaching in the New York Medical College. She also founded a journal, the American Journal of Psychoanalysis. She taught at the New York Medical College and continued practicing as a psychiatrist until her death in 1952.
Horney looked at neurosis in a different light from other psychoanalysts of the time.Her expansive interest in the subject led her to compile a detailed theory of neurosis, with data from her patients. Horney believed neurosis to be a continuous process—with neuroses commonly occurring sporadically in one's lifetime. This was in contrast to the opinions of her contemporaries who believed neurosis was, like more severe mental conditions, a negative malfunction of the mind in response to external stimuli, such as bereavement, divorce or negative experiences during childhood and adolescence. This has been debated widely by contemporary psychologists.
Horney believed these stimuli to be less important, except for influences during childhood. Rather, she placed significant emphasis on parental indifference towards the child, believing that a child's perception of events, as opposed to the parent's intentions, is the key to understanding a person's neurosis. For instance, a child might feel a lack of warmth and affection should a parent make fun of the child's feelings. The parent may also casually neglect to fulfill promises, which in turn could have a detrimental effect on the child's mental state.
From her experiences as a psychiatrist, Horney named ten patterns of neurotic needs.These ten needs are based upon things which she thought all humans require to succeed in life. Horney modified these needs somewhat to correspond with what she believed were individuals' neuroses. A neurotic person could theoretically exhibit all of these needs, though in practice much fewer than the ten here need to be present for a person to be considered a neurotic.
The ten needs, as set out by Horney, (classified according to her so-called coping strategies) are as follows:
Moving Toward People (Compliance)
Moving Against People (Aggression)
Moving Away from People (Withdrawal)
Upon investigating the ten needs further, Horney found she was able to condense them into three broad categories:
Horney delves into a detailed explanation of the above needs (and their corresponding neurotic solutions) in her book 'Neurosis and Human Growth'.
Horney saw narcissism quite differently from Freud, Kohut and other mainstream psychoanalytic theorists in that she did not posit a primary narcissism but saw the narcissistic personality as the product of a certain kind of early environment acting on a certain kind of temperament. For her, narcissistic needs and tendencies are not inherent in human nature.
Narcissism is different from Horney's other major defensive strategies or solutions in that it is not compensatory. Self-idealization is compensatory in her theory, but it differs from narcissism. All the defensive strategies involve self-idealization, but in the narcissistic solution it tends to be the product of indulgence rather than of deprivation. The narcissist's self-esteem is not strong, however, because it is not based on genuine accomplishments.
Horney, together with fellow psychoanalyst Alfred Adler, formed the Neo-Freudian discipline.
While Horney acknowledged and agreed with Freud on many issues, she was also critical of him on several key beliefs.
Like many who held opposing views with Freud, Horney felt that sex and aggression were not the primary constituents for determining personality. Horney, along with Adler, believed there were greater influences on personality through social occurrences during childhood, rather than just repressed sexual passions. The two focused more on how the conscious mind plays a role in human personality, not just subconscious repression. [ citation needed ]Freud's notion of "penis envy" was particularly subject to criticism, as well. She thought Freud had merely stumbled upon women's jealousy of men's generic power in the world. Horney accepted that penis envy might occur occasionally in neurotic women, but stated that "womb envy" occurs just as much in men: Horney felt that men were envious of a woman's ability to bear children. The degree to which men are driven to success may be merely a substitute for the fact that they cannot carry, nurture and bear children. Horney also thought that men were envious of women because they fulfill their position in society by simply "being", whereas men achieve their manhood according to their ability to provide and succeed.
Horney was bewildered by psychiatrists' tendency to place so much emphasis on the male sexual organ. Horney also reworked the Freudian Oedipal complex of the sexual elements, claiming that the clinging to one parent and jealousy of the other was simply the result of anxiety, caused by a disturbance in the parent-child relationship.
Despite these variances with the prevalent Freudian view, Horney strove to reformulate Freudian thought, presenting a holistic, humanistic view of the individual psyche which placed much emphasis on cultural and social differences worldwide.
Horney was also a pioneer in the discipline of feminine psychiatry.As one of the first female psychiatrists, she was the first known woman to present a paper regarding feminine psychiatry. Fourteen of the papers she wrote between 1922 and 1937 were amalgamated into a single volume titled Feminine Psychology (1967). As a woman, she felt that the mapping out of trends in female behaviour was a neglected issue. Women were regarded as objects of charm and beauty—at variance with every human being's ultimate purpose of self-actualization.
Women, according to Horney, traditionally gain value only through their children and the wider family. She de-romanticized the Victorian concept of how a marriage bond should be. Horney explained that the "monogamous demand represents the fulfillment of narcissistic and sadistic impulses far more than it indicates the wishes of genuine love”Most notably, her work "The Problem of the Monogamous Ideal" was fixed upon marriage, as were six other of Horney's papers. Her essay "Maternal Conflicts" attempted to shed new light on the problems women experience when raising adolescents.
Horney believed that both men and women have a drive to be ingenious and productive. Women are able to satisfy this need normally and internally—to do this they become pregnant and give birth. Men satisfy this need only through external ways; Horney proposed that the striking accomplishments of men in work or some other field can be viewed as compensation for their inability to give birth to children.
Horney developed her ideas to the extent that she released one of the first "self-help" books in 1946, entitled Are You Considering Psychoanalysis?. The book asserted that those, both male and female, with relatively minor neurotic problems could, in effect, be their own psychiatrists. She continually stressed that self-awareness was a part of becoming a better, stronger, richer human being.
In the mid-1930s, Horney stopped writing on the topic of feminine psychology and never resumed. Her biographer B.J. Paris writes:
Horney's apparent loss of interest in feminine psychology has led some to contend that she was never really a feminist, despite the fact that she was far ahead of her time in her trenchant critique of the patriarchal ideology of her culture and the phallocentricity of psychoanalysis. Janet Sayers argues that although Horney's "rejection of Freud's work in the name of women's self-esteem has certainly inspired many feminists," she herself "was far too much of an individualist ever to engage in collective political struggle—feminist or otherwise."
Instead, she became increasingly interested in the subject of neurosis. Horney's mature theory of neurosis, according to Paris, "makes a major contribution to psychological thought—particularly the study of personality—that deserves to be more widely known and applied than it is."
Near the end of her career, Karen Horney summarized her ideas in Neurosis and Human Growth: The Struggle Toward Self-Realization, her major work published in 1950. It is in this book that she summarizes her ideas regarding neurosis, clarifying her three neurotic "solutions" to the stresses of life.The expansive solution became a tripartite combination of narcissistic, perfectionistic and arrogant-vindictive approaches to life. (Horney had previously focused on the psychiatric concept of narcissism in a book published in 1939, New Ways in Psychoanalysis). Her other two neurotic "solutions" were also a refinement of her previous views: self-effacement, or submission to others, and resignation, or detachment from others. She described case studies of symbiotic relationships between arrogant-vindictive and self-effacing individuals, labeling such a relationship bordering on sadomasochism as a morbid dependency. She believed that individuals in the neurotic categories of narcissism and resignation were much less susceptible to such relationships of co-dependency with an arrogant-vindictive neurotic.
While non-neurotic individuals may strive for these needs, neurotics exhibit a much deeper, more willful and concentrated desire to fulfill the said needs.
Horney also shared Abraham Maslow's view that self-actualization is something that all people strive for. By "self" she understood the core of one's own being and potential.Horney believed that if we have an accurate conception of our own self, then we are free to realize our potential and achieve what we wish, within reasonable boundaries. Thus, she believed that self-actualization is the healthy person's aim through life—as opposed to the neurotic's clinging to a set of key needs.
According to Horney we can have two views of our self: the "real self" and the "ideal self". The real self is who and what we actually are. The ideal self is the type of person we feel that we should be. The real self has the potential for growth, happiness, will power, realization of gifts, etc., but it also has deficiencies. The ideal self is used as a model to assist the real self in developing its potential and achieving self-actualization. (Engler 125) But it is important to know the differences between our ideal and real self.
The neurotic person's self is split between an idealized self and a real self. As a result, neurotic individuals feel that they somehow do not live up to the ideal self. They feel that there is a flaw somewhere in comparison to what they "should" be. The goals set out by the neurotic are not realistic, or indeed possible. The real self then degenerates into a "despised self", and the neurotic person assumes that this is the "true" self. Thus, the neurotic is like a clock's pendulum, oscillating between a fallacious "perfection" and a manifestation of self-hate. Horney referred to this phenomenon as the "tyranny of the shoulds" and the neurotic's hopeless "search for glory".She concluded that these ingrained traits of the psyche forever prevent an individual's potential from being actualized unless the cycle of neurosis is somehow broken, through treatment or, in less severe cases, life lesson.
The Karen Horney Clinic opened on May 6, 1955 in New York City, in honor of Horney's achievements. The institution seeks to research and train medical professionals, particularly in the psychiatric fields, as well as serving as a low-cost treatment center. Some patients are not suitable for psychoanalysis and are treated with psychotherapeutic modalities such as supportive psychotherapy, and psychoanalytic psychotherapy, all based on Horney's ideas.
The following are all still in print:
Psychoanalysis is a set of theories and therapeutic techniques used to study the unconscious mind, which together form a method of treatment for mental disorders. The discipline was established in the early 1890s by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud, who retained the term psychoanalysis for his own school of thought. Freud's work stems partly from the clinical work of Josef Breuer and others. Psychoanalysis was later developed in different directions, mostly by students of Freud, such as Alfred Adler and his collaborator, Carl Gustav Jung, as well as by neo-Freudian thinkers, such as Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, and Harry Stack Sullivan.
Neurosis is a class of functional mental disorders involving chronic distress, but neither delusions nor hallucinations. The term is no longer used by the professional psychiatric community in the United States, having been eliminated from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1980 with the publication of DSM III. However, it is still used in the ICD-10 Chapter V F40–48.
Psychoanalytic theory is the theory of personality organization and the dynamics of personality development that guides psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology. First laid out by Sigmund Freud in the late 19th century, psychoanalytic theory has undergone many refinements since his work. Psychoanalytic theory came to full prominence in the last third of the twentieth century as part of the flow of critical discourse regarding psychological treatments after the 1960s, long after Freud's death in 1939. Freud had ceased his analysis of the brain and his physiological studies and shifted his focus to the study of the mind and the related psychological attributes making up the mind, and on treatment using free association and the phenomena of transference. His study emphasized the recognition of childhood events that could influence the mental functioning of adults. His examination of the genetic and then the developmental aspects gave the psychoanalytic theory its characteristics. Starting with his publication of The Interpretation of Dreams in 1899, his theories began to gain prominence.
Otto Friedmann Kernberg is a psychoanalyst and professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is most widely known for his psychoanalytic theories on borderline personality organization and narcissistic pathology. In addition, his work has been central in integrating postwar ego psychology with Kleinian and other object relations perspectives. His integrative writings were central to the development of modern object relations, a theory of mind that is perhaps the theory most widely accepted among modern psychoanalysts.
Neo-Freudianism is a psychoanalytic approach derived from the influence of Sigmund Freud but extending his theories towards typically social or cultural aspects of psychoanalysis over the biological.
Heinz Kohut was an Austrian-born American psychoanalyst best known for his development of self psychology, an influential school of thought within psychodynamic/psychoanalytic theory which helped transform the modern practice of analytic and dynamic treatment approaches.
Nancy Julia Chodorow is an American sociologist and professor. She describes herself as a humanistic psychoanalytic sociologist and psychoanalytic feminist. Throughout her career, she has been influenced by psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Karen Horney, as well as feminist theorists Beatrice Whiting and Phillip Slater. She is a member of the International Psychoanalytical Association, and often speaks at its congresses. She began as a professor at Wellesley College in 1973, a year later she began at the University of California, Santa Cruz until 1986. She then went on to spend many years as a professor in the departments of sociology and clinical psychology at the University of California, Berkeley until her retirement in 2005. Later, she began her career teaching psychiatry at Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance. Chodorow is often described as a leader in feminist thought, especially in the realms of psychoanalysis and psychology.
Helene Deutsch was a Polish American psychoanalyst and colleague of Sigmund Freud. She founded the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute. In 1935, she immigrated to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she maintained a practice. Deutsch was one of the first psychoanalysts to specialize in women. She was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In psychology, womb envy, denotes the envy that men may feel of the biological functions of the female. The neo-Freudian psychiatrist Karen Horney (1885–1952) proposed this as an innate male psychological trait. These emotions could fuel the social subordination of women, and drive men to succeed in other areas of life, such as business, law, and politics. Each term is analogous to the concept of female penis envy presented in Freudian psychology. In this they address the gender role social dynamics underlying the "envy and fascination with the female breasts and lactation, with pregnancy and childbearing, and vagina envy [that] are clues and signs of transsexualism and to a femininity complex of men, which is defended against by psychological and sociocultural means".
Basic anxiety is a term used by psychoanalytic theorist Karen Horney. She developed one of the best known theories of neurosis. Horney believed that neurosis resulted from basic anxiety caused by interpersonal relationships. Her theory proposes that strategies used to cope with anxiety can be overused, causing them to take on the appearance of needs. According to Horney, basic anxiety could result from a variety of things including, "...direct or indirect domination, indifference, erratic behavior, lack of respect for the child's individual needs, lack of real guidance, disparaging attitudes, too much admiration or the absence of it, lack of reliable warmth, having to take sides in parental disagreements, too much or too little responsibility, over-protection, isolation from other children, injustice, discrimination, unkept promises, hostile atmosphere, and so on and so on."
Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel was a leading French psychoanalyst, a training analyst, and past President of the Société psychanalytique de Paris in France. From 1983 to 1989, she was Vice President of the International Psychoanalytical Association. Chasseguet-Smirgel was Freud Professor at the University College, London, and Professor of Psychopathology at the Université Lille Nord de France. She is best known for her reworking of the Freudian theory of the ego ideal and its connection to primary narcissism, as well as for her extension of this theory to a critique of utopian ideology.
In Freudian psychoanalysis, the ego ideal is the inner image of oneself as one wants to become. Alternatively, "the Freudian notion of a perfect or ideal self housed in the superego," consisting of "the individual's conscious and unconscious images of what he would like to be, patterned after certain people whom ... he regards as ideal."
Otto Fenichel was a psychoanalyst of the so-called "second generation".
Feminists have long struggled with Sigmund Freud's classical model of gender and identity development and reality, which centers around the Oedipus complex. Freud's model, which became integral to orthodox psychoanalysis, suggests that because women lack the visible genitals of the male, they feel they are "missing" the most central characteristic necessary for gaining narcissistic value—therefore developing feelings of gender inequality and penis envy. In his late theory on the feminine, Freud recognized the early and long lasting libidinal attachment of the daughter to the mother during the pre-oedipal stages. Feminist psychoanalysts have confronted these ideas and reached different conclusions. Some generally agree with Freud's major outlines, modifying it through observations of the pre-Oedipal phase. Others reformulate Freud's theories more completely.
Narcissistic rage is a psychological construct that describes a reaction to narcissistic injury, which is conceptualized as a perceived threat to a narcissist's self-esteem or self-worth. Narcissistic injury is a phrase used by Sigmund Freud in the 1920s; narcissistic wound and narcissistic blow are further, almost interchangeable terms. The term narcissistic rage was coined by Heinz Kohut in 1972.
Penis envy is a stage theorized by Sigmund Freud regarding female psychosexual development, in which young girls experience anxiety upon realization that they do not have a penis. Freud considered this realization a defining moment in a series of transitions toward a mature female sexuality. In Freudian theory, the penis envy stage begins the transition from an attachment to the mother to competition with the mother for the attention, recognition and affection of the father. The parallel reaction of a boy's realization that women do not have a penis is castration anxiety.
True self and false self are psychological concepts, originally introduced into psychoanalysis in 1960 by Donald Winnicott. Winnicott used true self to describe a sense of self based on spontaneous authentic experience and a feeling of being alive, having a real self. The false self, by contrast, Winnicott saw as a defensive façade, which in extreme cases could leave its holders lacking spontaneity and feeling dead and empty, behind a mere appearance of being real.
Narcissistic mortification is "the primitive terror of self dissolution, triggered by the sudden exposure of one's sense of a defective self ... it is death by embarrassment". Narcissistic mortification is a term first used by Sigmund Freud in his last book, Moses and Monotheism, with respect to early injuries to the ego/self. The concept has been widely employed in ego psychology and also contributed to the roots of self psychology.
Neurosis and Human Growth: The Struggle Toward Self-Realization is the magnum opus of German-American psychoanalyst Karen Horney. In it she outlines her theory of neurosis.
The Analysis of the Self is the first monograph by the Austrian born American psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut. His biographer Charles B. Strozier has called it a masterpiece.
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