Psychoanalytic Social Psychology: Karen Horney



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Psychoanalytic Social Psychology: Karen Horney

  • Psychoanalytic Social Psychology: Karen Horney


Born near Hamburg, Germany

  • Born near Hamburg, Germany

  • Encouraged to study medicine by her mother

  • Received her degree from University of Berlin

  • Experienced challenges of having a career and children

  • Moved to US in 1932

  • Disagreements with Freudian perspective led her to found the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis and American Institute of Psychoanalysis



Anxiety result of social and environmental forces

  • Anxiety result of social and environmental forces

  • Basic Anxiety

  • Base evil

    • Negative factors that provoke insecurity called base evil


Defense attitudes

  • Defense attitudes

  • Neurotic needs or trends

    • Defense attitudes that become exaggerated or inappropriate strivings
    • Three types of coping strategies
      • Primary modes of relating
      • Moving against
      • Moving away






Real self

  • Real self

  • Idealized self

    • Represents what we think we should be and is used as a model to assist us in developing our potential and achieving self-actualization
      • Alienation
      • Tyranny of the should




The Tyranny of the Should

  • The Tyranny of the Should

    • Can you name some significant “shoulds” that you have devised to safeguard your image of self, such as being a good student or maintaining an ideal weight?
    • Can you identify the origin of your “shoulds”?
    • Can you think of different “shoulds” that diverse cultures foster?
    • What might happen if you were to give up one of the “shoulds” that is giving you problems?


Psychological theory that focuses on women’s experiences

  • Psychological theory that focuses on women’s experiences

  • Womb envy

    • Women have a superior role in sexual life due to ability to bear and nurse children; men experience intense envy
    • Impressive achievements of men in creative fields may be seen as compensations for inability to bear children


Used free association and dream analysis as her assessment of personality

  • Used free association and dream analysis as her assessment of personality

  • Systematic self-analysis

  • Stimulated research in

    • Feminine psychology
    • Hypercompetitiveness
    • Attachment theory
    • Parenting styles


Horney was engaged in scientific activity and believed her method and therapy must be open to scientific investigation and research

  • Horney was engaged in scientific activity and believed her method and therapy must be open to scientific investigation and research

  • Theory reflects deep philosophical commitments

  • Particularly valuable contributions to art of performing therapy






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