Personality 1 Horneys Theory

Horneys Theory of Personality


There are many theories of personality and the main factors that influenced its formation and characteristics were established in the 1900s. However, if to talk about the most outstanding and versatile ones, it is necessary to study and analyze the works of Karen Horney. The Horneys ideas, theories, and researches today represent the best scientific basis in relation to the theory of personality. Having struggled from stress and numerous depressions in her childhood, Horney afterwards became one of the first women to study psychology that was the beginning of her outstanding career. The importance of her theory can be easily seen by the amount of achievements she reached in her life, founding and directing the American Institute for Psychoanalysis, establishing and editing the American Journal of Psychoanalysis, Teaching at the New School, living an active social life and traveling. Today, Horney is considered to be one of the founders of the psychological science of that period; consequently, it is important to study her theory, analyze it, and try to see how it can be implemented in practice basing on the researches of Robert Frager and James Fadiman (Frager & Fadiman, 2012).

The difference of Horneys theory from all the other approaches of that period consisted in the way she analyzed males and females. Although she is considered to be the neo-Freudist psychoanalytic as she studied Fraud works in details and recognized his serious contribution to her formation as a specialist, she seriously criticized his approaches and theory of the psychology of women. The most interesting part of her theory is the revolutionary at those times approach to the female personality, the main factors that shape and influence it and how it acts within the society. She underlined the pressure women are exposed from the early childhood that had the main impact on their personality. The key role was given to the culture that surrounded young girls and harmed their psychological stance. The special interest represents her concept of womb envy that was considered to be stronger that the prior concept of the penis envy, which was the reason why women were regarded as the defective men. To mention some doubtful aspects, the idea of feminine masochism represented Horneys view on the deeper emphasis of the cultural factors and social conditions that made women more masochistic than men. This theory was later proven to be more of an exceptional character and till now it cannot be considered as a reliable one. If I was a professional psychotherapist, the theory would greatly help me to understand the nature of female neuroses and identify the main reason of the psychological trauma women might have since their early childhood. As it was mentioned above, Horney can be compared with Freud as she took a lot from his works and his influence can be easily seen in her thoughts about envy, complexes, and childhood traumas. In addition, she is sometimes considered as the neo-Alderian specialist as a series of important similarities can be seen in their ideas such as masculinity complex.

Implementing the Horneys theory of personality in my personal life, I can see a series of factors and evidence that disprove it. I do not find the concept of masculinity complex very reliable as I think that women do not have to wish to become men, but should endeavor to gain more respect and value remaining females. A problem of sex discrimination still exists, however, now it has another appearance and scale. Personally, I think that women are already a dominant gender as long as they are able to give birth to a new human being and they are just fighting for the equality in rights, freedom, image, and reputation within the society. In addition, I doubt that the womb envy and penis envy are the concepts of big importance and universal character as personally I have never met a person that really felt that towards the opposite gender. Men are not feeling sad about the fact they cannot give birth to a child, even vice versa; men are quite satisfied with the fact they will never feel the birth pain. The same can be said about women as they are also quite satisfied with their appearance, abilities, and life.

At the same time, I find the majority of Horneys thoughts and ideas very logical and truthful, and I think that her meaning for the modern psychoanalysis is priceless. I do believe in the importance of the childhood trauma analysis and the culture impact, either negative or positive. I think that my personality was highly influenced by my parents and relatives; therefore, my familys culture had a great impact on my formation. It can also be seen on my childhood friends as we have been growing in similar families and culture and we are still very close as we have the same life priorities and orientations, the same interests, hopes, and dreams. I also support her later review of the theory when she made it a neutral gender concept. I think that men and women face the same influence when they are children and the childhood trauma has the same meaning for males and females personality. Horney stressed the importance of the social factors for the personality development and I think that is right as every day we have to cope with our inner conflicts and do our best to gain social appreciation, support, and attention. It can be older sister, best friend, parents, college professor, or the working team; we all need to have positive relations with the social environment. People do act within the social environment to get the feeling of realization and that fact can be easily seen in a classroom. There were a lot of cases when friends of mine or I tried to do their best just to gain the appreciation of the professor or to support their positive image. Many students do the same to make their parents be proud of them, which shows the desire to get a particular kind of reply from the social authorities such as your parents or older relatives. Therefore, the theory of personality refers to both men and women.

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