Born in 1885 near Hamburg, Germany.
Her father, Berndt Wackels Danielsen (1836–
1910), was a ship's captain, a traditional devout
with a patriarchal thinking (his children
nicknamed him "the Bible-thrower").
Her mother, Clotilde, née van Ronzelen (1853–
1911), known as "Sonni", was very different, being
much more open-minded than Berndt.
In 1906, Karen entered medical school -The
University of Freiburg was in fact one of the first
institutions throughout Germany to enroll women
in medical courses.
In 1909 she married to Oscar Horney, a Berlin
They were divorced in 1937 as a result of
different concerns, and her increased
involvement in the psychoanalytic movement.
In 1932 she was invited to come to the United
States and assume the position of associate
director of the Chicago Psychoanalytic
In 1934 she moved to New Yyticork
City, opened a private practice, and taught at
the New York Psychoanalytic Institute.
In 1937 she published the book The Neurotic
Personality of Our Time, which had wide
By 1941, Horney was Dean of the American
Institute of Psychoanalysis, a training institute
for those who were interested in Horney's own
organization the Association for the
Advancement of Psychoanalysis.
She also founded a journal, named
the American Journal of Psychoanalysis.
She taught at the New York Medical College
and continued practicing as a psychiatrist until
her death in 1952.
Genuine love and healthy discipline is
necessary to establish feelings
of safety and satisfaction.
If these needs are not met, the child
develops basic hostility toward the parents.
This repressed hostility leads to basic anxiety:
a feeling of helplessness and isolation in a
Basic Anxiety can lead to neurosis, but not
Horney believed that social forces in
childhood, not biological forces, influence
She insist that the social relationship between
the child and his or her parents is the key factor
of personality development.
In childhood we try to protect ourselves
against basic anxiety in four ways:
a. Securing affection and love
b. Being submissive
c. Attaining power
There are several ways by which we may
gain affection, such as trying to do
whatever the other person wants, trying
to bribe others, or threatening others into
providing them the desired affection.
EXAMPLE: “If you love me, you will not hurt
Being submissive as means of self –
protection involves complying with the
wishes either of one particular person or
of everyone in our social environment.
EXAMPLE: “If I give in, I will not be hurt.”
By attaining power over others, a person can
compensate for helplessness and achieve
security through success or through a sense of
persons seem to believe that if
they power , no one will harm them.
Such people attempts to become independent
of others, not relying on anyone else for the
satisfaction of internal or external needs.
The withdrawn person achieves independence
with regard to internal or psychological needs
by becoming aloof from others, no longer
seeking them out to satisfy emotional needs.
Neurotic needs – irrational defences against
anxiety a permanent part of personality and that
The 10 neurotic needs are as follows:
Affection and approval
A dominant partner
Achievement or ambition
Self – sufficiency
Narrow limits to life
AFFECTION & APPROVAL
A DOMINANT PARTNER
NARROW LIMITS TO LIFE
MOVING TOWARD THE PEOPLE
( the compliant personality )
MOVING AGAINST THE PEOPLE
( the aggressive personality )
MOVING AWAY FROM PEOPLE
( the detached personality )
The compliant personality displays attitudes
and behaviours that reflect a desire to move
toward other people ; an intense and
continuous need for affection and approval, an
urge to be loved, wanted, and protected.
Compliant personalities manipulate other
people, particularly their partners, to achieve
their goals. They often behave in ways others
find attractive or endearing.
The source of these behaviour is the person’s
They act tough and domineering and have no
regard for others.
To achieve the control and superiority so vital
to their lives, they must consistently perform at
a high level. By excelling and receiving
recognition, they find satisfaction in having
their superiority affirmed by others.
Aggressive personalities may appear of their
abilities and uninhibited in asserting and
People described as a detached personalities are
driven to move away from other people and
maintain distance. They must not love, hate, or
cooperate with others or become self – sufficient.
Their need for independence makes them sensitive
to any attempt to influence, coerce, or obligate
They need to feel superior, but not in the same
way aggressive personalities do.
Detached personalities suppress or deny all
feelings toward other people, particularly feelings
of love and hate.
MOVING TOWARD PEOPLE
These neurotics see themselves as
loving, generous, unselfish, and sensitive. They
often take a subordinate role, see others as more
intelligent and capable, and their own self image is
often only a reflection of how other people see
MOVING AGAINST PEOPLE
These neurotic individuals want to be tough or
ruthless. Seldom admit mistakes and see
themselves as being powerful and superior. Seek
to dominate others within relationships.
MOVING AWAY FORM PEOPLE:
These neurotics have a heightened need for
privacy, independence, and self-sufficiency. Can
often appear to be aloof and unapproachable, and
feel discomfort in most social situations.
The idealized self-image: The difference between who
you are and who you think you are.
To protect ourselves from feelings of isolation and
inferiority, we generate a favorable mental concept of
who we are.
This idealized self image is dependent on the neurotic
trend adapted by the individual
Compliant People (toward) : See themselves as good
Aggressive People (against): See themselves as strong
Detached People (away): See themselves as self-reliant
Neurotic Claims : Neurotics believe they have
special privileges in life and become extremely
frustrated when their wishes are not granted.
Neurotic Pride: A false pride based upon your
idealized self-image Neurotic individuals
avoid people who dont "recognize" the innate
superiority of the Neurotic individual.
Neurotic Search for Glory :
Self-idealization: The drive to make the idealized
Need For Perfection: in order to achieve the
idealized self-image, the neurotic falls prey to
the Tyranny of the Should.
Neurotic Ambition: the compulsive drive toward
Drive for Vindictive Triumph: Neurotics want to
show their superiority over others, and prefer
to do it in a way which can cause humiliation
Horney countered these idea by arguing that
men envied women because of their capacity
Receives a most surprising impression of the
pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood.
As a result of these feelings of inferiority,
women may choose to deny their femininity
and to wish, unconsciously, that they were
This is referred as the flight from womanhood,
a condition that can lead to sexual inhibitions.
With this, women distrust and resent men and
reject their sexual advances.
Horney recognized the impact of social and
cultural forces on the development of
She also recognized that the different culture
and social groups view women’s roles in
Horney’s position that the feminine psyche is
influenced, even determined, by cultural
The methods used to assess the functioning of the
human personality were essentially those favoured by
Freud - free association and dream analysis – but with
She suggested that analysis should be an “exquisitely
cooperative enterprise” between patient and therapist.
Through free association, the analyst gradually
uncovered the patient’s early experiences and emotion,
similar to peeling the layers of an onion.
Horney also believed that dream analysis could reveal
a person’s true self, and that dreams represented
attempts to solve problems, in either a constructive or a
She concluded that the “safest clue to the
understanding of the dream is in the feelings of the
patient as he has them in the dream”.