Feminine Psychology Horney’s Perspective

FemininePsychology: Horney’s Perspective

FemininePsychology: Horney’s Perspective

KarenHorney is one of the psychologists who have advanced the field ofpsychoanalysis in the recent past. Her position contradicts Freud’sperspective because she states that women do not appear inferiorbecause of their biological or anatomical differences compared tomen, but because culture has denied them an opportunity to actualizetheir real selves (Frager &amp Fadiman, 2013). Horney tries tosuggest that all people, both men and women, have the real self thatrequires some optimum conditions for it to be realized. This impliesthat Horney rejects the notion held by former psychoanalysts(including Freud) who held that anatomy is the basis of womenidentity and problems.

Horneysuggests that childhood experiences also contribute towards theactualization of one’s self, but the most important thing is thepathological conditions that prevail in a family set-up. Theseconditions are responsible for the child’s feeling of unsafe,unvalued, and unloved, which in turn leads to the development ofbasic anxiety (Frager &amp Fadiman, 2013). The alienation ofchildren from their real self by the environmental forces is thebasic feature of neurosis. In this case, the real self refers tointrinsic factors (such as talents and capabilities possessed by anindividual), which must be provided with suitable conditions for theperson possessing them to put them into practice. The basic anxietydevelops when children’s neurosis prevents their parents fromexpressing values and love to them.

Selfactualization is a factor of the interaction between an individualand the environmental conditions. Unfavorable conditions force peopleto build up defensive strategies. This occurs following theseparation of an individual from the real self. However, thedefensive strategies adopted by the affected person become repetitivebecause they increase the basic anxiety instead of resolving it. Inconclusion, the main concept emphasized in Horney’s theory is thatthe environmental conditions are the key determinant of selfactualization.


Frager,R., &amp Fadiman, J. (2013). Personalityand personal growth (7th ed.).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.