History of Therapy: Karen Horney

History of Therapy: Karen Horney

History of Therapy: Karen Horney

Karen Horney was a German psychoanalyst who made significant contributions to humanism, self-psychology, psychoanalysis, and feminine psychology. Her refutation of Freud’s theories about women generated more interest in the psychology of women among experts in the psychological community. Horney also believed that people were able to act as their own therapists, emphasizing the personal role each person has in their own mental health.

History of Therapy: Karen Horney: Biography

Karen Horney was born in Germany on September 16, 2885 near Hamburg, Germany.  Her father was a ship’s captain and was very traditional and religious. According to Horney’s adolescent diaries, she felt neglected by her father and believed he preferred her brother. As a result, she became very attached to her mother. At around age nine, Karen developed a crush on her older brother. When he pushed her away, she became depressed. Bouts of depression would continue to plague her for the rest of her life.

Horney devoted herself to school. She began medical school in 1906 and married a law student Oskar Horney in 1909. In 1926, Horney left her husband. Four years later, she moved to the US with her three daughters. Once in the US, she befriended other prominent intellectuals and developed her theories.

History of Therapy: Karen Horney: Theory

Karen Horney developed theories based on her personal life and how she was able to deal with her problems. Her theory on neurosis is still widely used. Neurosis is a “psychic disturbance brought by fears and defenses against these fears, and by attempts to find compromise solutions for conflicting tendencies” (The Neurotic Personality of Our Time, 28-29). Horney believed that neurotic feelings and attitudes are determined by the way a person lives, and cannot be diagnosed without looking at cultural background. In contrast, Freud believed that instinctual drives that are frequent in culture are biologically determined.

Karen Horney’s theoretical approach to psychoanalysis is describing it towards people’s personalities. The goal of analysis is to change the person’s opinions and perception of life by seeking self-realization. It helps people towards their best further development.

Basically, Karen Horney viewed neuroses as coping mechanisms that are a large part of normal life. She identified ten neuroses. These include the need for power, the need for affection, the need for social prestige, the need to exploit others, the need for personal admiration, and the need for independence.

While Karen Horney followed much of Sigmund Freud’s theory she disagreed in one major area: his views on the psychology of women. She rejected the concept of “penis envy,” that women in essence, are envious of men. She thought it was both inaccurate and demeaning. Instead, Karen Horney proposed the concept of “womb envy.” This theory supposes that men experience feelings of inferiority because they are unable to give birth to children. She thinks that the impulse of men to engage in creative work in every field is borne from overcompensating from their lack of power in the creation of a human being.




History of Therapy: Sigmund Freud

History of Therapy:  Sigmund Freud

History of Therapy:  Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud is probably one of the most well-known therapists of all time. He pioneered new techniques that are still used in psychotherapy today. His theory of personality is the most comprehensive ever developed.  He was the founding father of psychoanalysis.

History of Therapy:  Sigmund Freud:  How he changed psychotherapy

Early psychology focused on conscious human experience. Sigmund Freud changed the face of psychology by proposing a theory of personality that emphasized the importance of the unconscious mind. It was Freud’s belief that all of our actions and behaviors can be traced back to their unconscious thoughts and desires. Freud worked with many patients suffering from what was known then as hysteria. He postulated that their early childhood experiences and unconscious impulses contributed to their adult personality and behavior.

History of Therapy: Sigmund Freud: Development of psychoanalytic therapy

Psychoanalytic therapy is based on the work of Sigmund Freud, who developed his theories in the 1800’s. In 1885, Freud went to work with another psychiatrist, Jean-Martin Charcot, who used hypnosis to treat women who were suffering from what was then known as hysteria. These women presented with partial paralysis, hallucinations, and nervousness.

Freud took what he learned and continued to research hypnosis in treatment. He then worked with another psychiatrist who had discovered that women suffering from hysteria benefited by talking about it. Freud combined the “talk therapy” technique with hypnosis and began to use them both in his practice.

History of Therapy: Sigmund Freud: Ongoing work

Sigmund Freud continued to develop his theory over a period of over half a century. In 1923, Sigmund Freud described his constructs of the id, ego, and the superego. According to Freud, the id is the most primitive part of personality. It operates according to the pleasure principle and seeks instant gratification. Freud also believed that every living human had a life and death instinct. He called the life instinct the eros and the death instinct the thanatos. Both the life and death instinct are part of the id. The energy that powers the id, according to Freud, is the libido.

In Freud’s theory, the ego is extremely objective. It operates according to reality and deals with the demands of the environment. It regulates the libido and keeps the id in check. It acts as the control center.

The superego represents the values and standards of an individual’s feelings of pride and heightened self-esteem. The superego is the part of the personality that strives for perfection.

Freud believed that the development of these three factors determines a person’s behavior in any given situation. Their behavior in a situation in turn develops their personality. Sigmund Freud put a lot of importance on the early years of childhood because that’s when he believed the three parts of personality were developed. He called these early years the psychosexual years, and he believed that each child went through five stages. Some people, Freud believed, became stuck in certain stages and for that reason; they were unable to fully develop.