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Karen Horney (/ˈhɔːrn/;[2][3] née Danielsen; 16 September 1885 – 4 December 1952) was a German psychoanalyst who practiced in the United States during her later career. Her theories questioned some traditional Freudian views. This was particularly true of her theories of sexuality and of the instinct orientation of psychoanalysis. She is credited with founding feminist psychology in response to Freud's theory of penis envy. She disagreed with Freud about inherent differences in the psychology of men and women, and she traced such differences to society and culture rather than biology.[4] As such, she is often classified as neo-Freudian.

Instead, she became increasingly interested in the subject of neurosis. Horney's mature theory of neurosis, according to Paris, "makes a major contribution to psychological thought—particularly the study of

Instead, she became increasingly interested in the subject of neurosis. Horney's mature theory of neurosis, according to Paris, "makes a major contribution to psychological thought—particularly the study of personality—that deserves to be more widely known and applied than it is."[21]

Near the end of her career, Karen Horney summarized her ideas in Neurosis and Human Growth: The Struggle Toward Self-Realization, her major work published in 1950. It is in this book that she summarizes her ideas regarding neurosis, clarifying her three neurotic "solutions" to the stresses of life.[22] The expansive solution became a tripartite combination of narcissistic, perfectionistic and arrogant-vindictive approaches to life. (Horney had previously focused on the psychiatric concept of narcissism in a book published in 1939, New Ways in Psychoanalysis). Her other two neurotic "solutions" were also a refinement of her previous views: self-effacement, or submission to others, and resignation, or detachment from others. She described case studies of symbiotic relationships between arrogant-vindictive and self-effacing individuals, labeling such a relationship bordering on sadomasochism as a morbid dependency. She believed that individuals in the neurotic categories of narcissism and resignation were much less susceptible to such relationships of co-dependency with an arrogant-vindictive neurotic.

While non-neurotic individuals may strive for these needs, neurotics exhibit a much deeper, more willful and concentrated desire to fulfill the said needs.

Theory of the self

The following are all still in print:

  • Neurosis and Human Growth, Norton, New York, 1950.