Freud and Horney Theories

Freudand Horney Theories

Freudand Horney Theories

Differenttheories have been put forwards to explain the process of humangrowth and development. The Feud’s theory of psychoanalysis andHorney’s mature theory are some of the perspectives developed toadvance the field of human development. This paper will identify thekey areas of convergence and divergence with regard to thedevelopment of ego or pessimism and the development of the real self.

Thetwo perspectives have three major similarities. First, the twotheorists, Freud and Horney, agree that childhood experiencescontribute towards human development that is the development of egoin the case of Freud’s theory and real self in the case of Horney’stheory (Frager&amp Fadiman, 2013). Thisimplies that Freud and Horney acknowledge the fact that the pastexperiences determine the probability of developing ego or becomingoptimistic in later stages of development.

Secondly,the two theories have some biological basis. Freud uses hisbackground in the field of neurology to advance the theory ofclassical psychoanalysis. This is based on the observation that somepsychological phenomena could be explained by the neural functioningmodels, which implies that some biological process could influencethe eventual development of the ego. Horney, on the other hand,integrates the biological aspects into human development byconsidering the issue of human interactions (movement towards,against, or away from other people) into her theory (Frager&amp Fadiman, 2013). Thisimplies that human relations play a major role in the development ofone’s real self and helping people actualize their inner beings.

Third,the two theories are in agreement that the environment has a role toplay in human development. The emphasis on the role of childhoodexperiences indicates that Feud believed that environmentalconditions during childhood could determine one’s capacity toexpress ego or pessimism in later developmental stages. Similarly,Horney suggests that self actualization requires the existence offavorable conditions.

Thetwo perspectives have two major points of divergence. First, althoughboth Freud and Horney argue that childhood experiences have thecapacity to influence the development of ego and the real self,Horney considers the childhood experiences in their totality whileFreud focuses on sexual experiences only. Horney argues that allexperiences that children are subjected to by the culture affectstheir neurotic developed and the capacity for their selfactualization. For example, wrong individuals and events in culturedetermine whether children will feel unloved, unvalued, and unsafe,which then leads to the development of anxiety (Frager&amp Fadiman, 2013). Freud,on the other hand, believes that childhood experiences that affectthe development of the ego must be sexual in nature.

Secondly,the two theorists differ in their view of the past experiences. Freudargues that the past challenges, especially those that are sexual innature, are the major causes of pessimism and barriers of humandevelopment. Horney, on the other hand, believes that the past sexualdifficulties are more of the results of personality problems ratherthan the causes of the personality challenges. According to Horney,viewing the past origins as the most appropriate ways of explainingdifferences in human development and delivering therapy isineffective and leads to circular reasoning (Frager&amp Fadiman, 2013).

Inconclusion, the two theories are similar in that they focus on theimpact of childhood experiences, have some biological basis, and therole of environmental conditions on human development. However, theydiffer in some several ways, including the scope or range of thechildhood experiences considered in each theory and the view ofsexual problems either as causes or results of the humandevelopmental problems.


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