Karen Horney Essay

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Karen Horney, born Karen Danielsen, was born on September 16th, 1885 in Blankenese, Hamburg, Germany. Her father, Berndt Wackels Danielsen, was a ship captain and her mother was named Clotilde van Ronzelen. She had an elder brother named Berndt, and four other half siblings from her father’s previous marriage. Karen was a momma’s girl because her father greatly favored her older brother. When she was 9 years old she decided to start being more ambitious and put aside petty things. When she was a teen, she developed feelings for her older brother. Berndt, being embarrassed by his sister’s advances, pushed her away. This caused several cases of depression that would later follow her for the rest of her life. In 1920, she had her first job involving psychology, working at the Institute for Psychoanalysis in Berlin. She worked there for many years, later taking a job at The New School in New York City. In 1923, her husband became very bitter and argumentative because of his business’ debt and his development of meningitis. The same year, Karen’s brother died of a pulmonary infection. These events quickly worsened Karen’s mental health. She developed a second case of a depression. At one point, she swam out to sea and tried to commit suicide. In 1930, Karen and her three daughters moved to Brooklyn, NY. Her first was to establish herself.’ Her first job in the United States was working as the Associate Director of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. She furthered her studies and developed her theories involving neurosis and personality. In 1937, she published her book, The Neurotic Personality of Our Time. By 1941, Karen was the Dean of the American Institute of Psychoanalysis. This was a training institute for those interested in Karen’s own organization, the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. She created this organization because she was displeased with the strict ways of the psychoanalytic community. She reigned from her previous job, and started teaching at the New York Medical College. She taught here until her death in 1952. Horney’s theory on neurosis is one of the best of all time, and still used today. She offered a different way of viewing neurosis. She related it to normal day life a lot more than other theorists did in the past. She saw neurosis as a way of “interpersonal control and coping.” This is what we try to do on a day-today-basis. Her theory was based off of her life and how she dealt with her problems. According to Horney, “neurosis is hoe people cope and have control over interpersonal issues that happen day to day.” Horney believed that neurosis wasn’t the result of a negative malfunction of the mind in response to external stimuli. Influences during childhood were an exception. She emphasized that the key to understanding someone’s neurosis, was to focus on how the child perceived the events, rather than the parent’s intentions. Horney named ten patterns of neurotic needs. These ten needs are based on what she thought all humans needed to succeed in life. She changed the needs depending on the patient’s neurosis. “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 are as followed:
Moving Toward People
1. The need for affection and approval; pleasing others and being liked by them.
2. The need for a partner; one whom they can love and who will solve all problems.
Moving Against People
3. The need for power; the ability to bend wills and achieve control over others—while most persons seek strength, the neurotic may be desperate for it.
4. The need to exploit others; to get the better of them. To become manipulative, fostering the belief that people are there simply to be used.
5. The need for social recognition;…