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Karen Horney

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Kelsey Loden

on 22 April 2014

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Transcript of Karen Horney

Womb Envy
Horney argued that men envied women because of their capacity for motherhood, in which men play a small role.
This envy results in overcompensation which leads to men seeking achievement in their work.
She based this theory on the pleasure she had experienced in childbirth.
The Flight from Womanhood
Horney believed that women might choose to deny their femininity and to unconsciously wish that they were men. She referred to this as flight from womanhood.
She believed that this was a condition that arises from childhood fantasies about the difference in size between the adult penis and the female child's vagina.
This produces a conflict between the unconscious desire to have a child and a fear of intercourse.
Motherhood or Career?
Horney's Family Relationships
Her father was a ship's captain and a "harshly religious" man. Horney traveled with him on a few long voyages.
Her mother was nicknamed Sonni and was much more open-minded.
Horney developed a close relationship with her mother because of her lack of affection from her father, who preferred her brother Berndt.
Medical Education
1906 - Horney entered medical school at the University of Freiburg in Germany against her father's wishes.
1908 - Horney transferred to the University of Gottingen.
1911 - Horney received her M.D. degree from the University of Berlin.

Early Life
Born on September 16, 1885 to Clotilde and Berndt Danielson in Blankenese, Germany.
Karen was the youngest of 6, with 4 half-siblings from her father's previous marriage and an older brother Berndt.
Karen Horney
Karen and Berndt
Horney had a close relationship with her older brother Berndt.
At age 9, Horney developed feelings for her brother, which he rejected.
This incident was the start of Horney's lifelong battle with depression.
Married Life
Karen Horney met and married her husband, Oscar Horney, while she was still in school in 1909.
They had three daughters: Renate, Marianne, and Brigitte Horney.
Oscar and Karen Horney were married for nearly 20 years, before separating in 1926 and divorcing in 1937.
As an early feminist, Horney expressed concern about the psychological conflicts in defining women's roles, contrasting the traditional ideal of womanhood with a more modern view.
Traditional women's roles endorsed by men are to love, admire, and serve the men in their lives. The female's identity is reflected of her Husband.
Horney suggested that women seek their own identity, which would develop their ability to pursue careers.
Holli Dawkins, Kelsey Loden, and Hannah Sullivan
Horney's Journey to Psychoanalysis
Horney became interested in psychoanalysis during her early medical career.
In 1915, she began studying with Freud's protege, Karl Abraham.
She began taking patients in 1919 and worked at the Berlin Psychoanalytic Clinic until 1932.
She moved to New York in 1934 and taught courses on clinical technique at the New York Institute for Psychoanalysis and maintained a private practice.
Feminine Psychology
Early in her career, Horney expressed her disagreement with Freud's views on women.
1922 - Began working on her version of feminine psychology.
1922 - Became the first woman to present a paper on the topic at an international psychoanalytic congress, which happened to be chaired by Sigmund Freud.
Horney's Rebuttal to Penis Envy
Horney was critical of Freud's penis envy theory due to inadequate evidence from Freud's clinical interviews.
Horney did not deny that many women believe themselves to be inferior to men.
However, she claimed that Freud's penis envy theory was incorrect and that this perceived inferiority was due to a biological basis of feelings.
The Oedipus Complex
Horney disagreed with Freud's Oedipus complex.
She removed sex from the Oedipus complex, and reinterpreted the situation as a complex between dependence on ones parents and hostility toward them.
Traditional roles create conflict that to this day, some women have difficulty with.
Cultural Influences of Feminine Psychology
Horney recognized the impact of social and cultural forces on the development of personality.
She also noted that different cultures and social groups view women's roles in different ways, something that she observed when she moved from Germany to New York.
An example of the power of culture to shape women's lives and expectations can be found in Chinese culture, where women are still considered to be subordinate to men.
Because of these cultural influences, there can be many different feminine psychologies.
Discussion Question
Karen Horney refuted Freud's ideas of penis envy and countered it with her theory of womb envy. Do you think womb envy exists in modern society? Is this a motivating factor behind feminine psychology?
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