Term Paper: Using Horney or Sullivan to Interpret Personal Experience

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Karen Horney

Application of Karen Horney's Theory of Self and Neurosis in Experiencing Personal Conflict or Anxiety

Psychoanalysis as a major field in the study of psychology has developed, over the years, to a great extent, wherein developments are created, increasing extant literature on psychoanalysis, during and even after Sigmund Freud's prime as the lead psychoanalytic psychologist of the modern human society.

Among these "developments" in the field of psychoanalysis is the creation of the neo-Freudian movement, which was coined to describe the development of psychoanalysis, serving as an alternative but "offspring" discipline of Freud's psychoanalytical movement. One of neo-Freudianism's proponents is Karen Horney, noted German-American psychiatrist who provided a different perspective in discussing the psychoanalytical roots and discussions of abnormal behavior exhibited and still unexplored in human society.

Among Horney's contributions to the field of psychoanalysis is her study of the occurrence of neurosis among individuals, tracing its roots from childhood towards its intensification in adulthood. At a more general level, she also delved into the study of the individual per se, creating a 'theory of the self,' which explains the psyche, motivations, and perceived significance of the individual in the context of his/her society.

Given these contributions and new ideas on psychoanalysis, this paper provides a discussion of Horney's theories and concepts concerning anxiety, self-development, and self-awareness. The discussion and analysis is based on the application of Horney's ideas to my experiences, specifically relating her ideas to my personal development as an individual, facing common experiences of anxiety and conflict.

Horney's analysis of neurosis involved a deeper look into its roots and development in the individual. Neurosis is analyzed in a different perspective, wherein she posited that more than abuse or neglect, it is parental indifference that serves as the catalyst that prompts the individual to develop attitudes and characteristics akin to neurosis. For Horney, an individual who felt loved and needed, at certain points in his/her life as a child, are better off developing into adulthood than children who never felt loved nor needed by their parents or loved-ones at all. The lack of feelings of being loved or needed makes the individual crave for attention, love, and reciprocated need from another person.

However, the process described is just the first phase that the neurotic individual goes through as s/he develops anxiety to neurosis due to his/her unfulfilled wants and needs. As the individual grows older, s/he increases his/her desire for attention and social recognition by the people s/he knows. Although there is a great need to seek other people's attention and approval, the neurotic individual also has the propensity to manipulate and gain control over other people, which is his/her way of demonstrating that s/he is not a needy person, that s/he can control people even though realistically, she knows that she is not in control of these individuals.

Ultimately, the neurotic individual, at the last stage of his/her neurosis, undergoes social detachment and isolation, no longer seeking approval nor attention, but instead with the intention to perfect one's self, in accordance to his/her perception of the "ideal self" -- what s/he should be, as s/he ascertained this ideal self to be.

Relevant to Horney's theory of neurosis is her theory of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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