WOS 505 The Psychoanalytic Feminine Psychology Of Karen Horney, MD

Faculty: Dr. Ann-Marie Neale (Profile)


Dr. Karen Horney (pronounced Horn-eye) was one of the most prominent and well-respected psychiatrists, psychoanalytic therapists and personality theorists of the twentieth century. She was one of the first female psychoanalytic personality theorists to publically challenge the traditional (Freudian) psychoanalytic explanation for female personality development. In addition, Dr. Horney was a pioneer in the recognition that cultural influences are significant factors in understanding early human development as well as subsequent behavior and motivation. She also differed from traditional psychoanalytic theorists in her emphasis on present day circumstances rather than childhood. Karen Horney’s significant Mature Theory of Personality which examines the importance of self in relation to others is covered in the e-course: The Mature Personality Theory of Karen Horney, MD.

This course will focus on Dr. Horney’s disagreement with Sigmund Freud and the leading psychoanalysts of her era regarding female personality development. In addition, students will have the opportunity to read her thoughts on the role of culture in determining personality development as well as neurosis in adult women. Her book New Ways in Psychoanalysis published in 1939 was not well received by traditional Freudian personality theorists in her professional circle. In fact, in 1941, as a direct result of the publication of this controversial book, Dr. Horney was asked to leave the New York Psychoanalytic Institute where she was a respected trainer, mentor and therapist. Despite her differences with Sigmund Freud, she remained an advocate of psychoanalytic personality theory and traditional psychoanalysis. Some of Dr. Horney’s writings may seem out-dated to present day readers; nevertheless, they were both innovative and challenging at the time and had significant impact on the development of modern day understanding of female personality development. Remember that the required readings for this course were written from 1922 through 1939; therefore, if you are interested in the history of modern feminist theory and are willing to “suspend your disbelief” about traditional psychoanalytic explanations for female development, I believe you will find them fascinating, challenging and historically significant.

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