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Horney’s Social Psychoanalytic Theory

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Horney, with her social psychoanalytic theory, rejected Freud’s emphasis on sexuality and his views on women and introduced the concept of basic anxiety.

Karen Horney

German-American psychiatrist Karen Horney helped establish the American Institute for Psychoanalysis before becoming a professor at New York Medical College in 1942. She developed the neo-Freudian approach to psychoanalysis, and believed that neuroses are caused not only by instinctual drives, but also by experiences in society.

Karen Horney (1885-1952), German American psychiatrist, born in Hamburg, and educated at the universities of Freiburg and Berlin. She was an instructor at the Institute for Psychoanalysis in Berlin from 1920 to 1932, when she immigrated to the United States. After serving as associate director of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis for two years, she taught at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute from 1934 to 1941. She became dean of the American Institute for Psychoanalysis, which she helped to found, in 1941 and a professor at New York Medical College in 1942.

Horney founded a neo-Freudian school of psychoanalysis based on the conclusion that neuroses are the result of emotional conflicts arising from childhood experiences and later disturbances in interpersonal relationships. Horney believed that such disturbances are conditioned to a large extent by the society in which an individual lives rather than solely by the instinctual drives postulated by Freud. Among her writings are The Neurotic Personality of Our Time (1936), New Ways in Psychoanalysis (1939), Self-Analysis (1942), Our Inner Conflicts (1945), and Neurosis and Human Growth (1950).

Horney

Social Psychoanalytic Theory

The term used for Horney’s approach to psychodynamic theory.

Horney broke with the Freudian tradition of emphasizing sexuality. Her view was, like Jung and Adler, was essentially optimistic.

Horney believed humans to be capable of growth and self-realization. This trend can be blocked, however, if as a child an individual acquires a sense of basic anxiety.

Basic Anxiety

A feeling of being isolated and helpless in a potentially hostile world. 

 

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Written by Joseph Eulo

May 28, 2008 at 6:54 am

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