Essay about Karen Horney: Her Life and Work

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Karen Horney: Her Life and Work Karen Horney, a psychoanalyst perhaps best known for her ideas regarding feminine psychology, faced much criticism from orthodox Freudian psychoanalysts during her time. Robert Sternberg said that creativity is always a “person-system interaction” because many highly creative individuals produce products that are good, but that are not exactly what others expect or desire. Thus, creativity is only meaningful in the context of the system that judges it. If this is true, I believe that Karen Horney made truly creative contributions to the field of psychology, and particularly to the domain of psychoanalysis. She broke rules in a domain that was itself fairly new, and in doing so presented ideas that…show more content…
She always felt that she was treated differently than her brother and wondered if it was because as a boy he was built differently, if people simply felt differently about boys and girls, or if it was because he had qualities she lacked; it didn’t help that her father allowed his son freedom, privilege and education and denied his wife and daughter these things (Rubins, 1978, p. 10). Horney’s mother disagreed with this and supported her daughter’s quest for education. This presence of a strong female role model is likely to have affected her later ideas on feminine psychology. Horney felt rejected by her father and was very competitive with her brother. She used her intellect to surpass him and became a rebellious child. When Horney was in medical school at the University of Berlin, she was psychoanalyzed by Karl Abraham, one of Freud’s most ardent supporters. She was also trained in the Freudian tradition. Horney’s ambivalent feelings toward her father, dependence on her mother, resentment of playing a secondary role to her brother, and the conflict within herself between the roles of professional woman and homemaker were all confronted in her analysis. However, she was unhappy with the analysis because she wanted the childhood issues fixed, not just brought back up. She was still troubled by depression and asked, “Does not the real work

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