Karen Horney Psychiatry

Karen Horney was born in Germany, September 16, 1885. Born and reared in a family where her father, a sea captain, was known as a cruel, harsh disciplinarian one minute and the next, calling her “his little lamb,” brought Karen into much confusion and she began to suffer from depression in childhood and it continued throughout her entire life.

Some of her confusion stemmed from being raised by an extremely harsh father, and then abruptly, he would do nice things for her. Her mother stayed out of it, as was customary of the times. The father would bring her beautiful gifts from around the world and 3 times took her on great sea voyages.

Karen began to have disciplinary problems and became rebellious. In 1906, despite her parents objection, and “against the opinions of polite society” she began to study psychiarty. She is considered a pioneer in being a female in the field of psychiatry.

In 1909 she married Oskar Horney, had 3 daughters and she, herself, entered psychoanalysis. She had married a harsh cruel authoratative man like her father, and like her mother, she looked the other way. Her husband went broke from his many business failures and when he died in 1923, she did a lot of self-reflection, wrote many essays on the subject of neurosis and her theories as to the causes.

In 1926, she and her children moved to Brookyln, New York. Brooklyn, at the time, was considered to be a real hub-bub for many intellectuals. She practiced her psychiatry and published a book, “The Nuerotic Personality of Our Time” written in 1937. It was during the late 1920’s, she discovered parental confusion contributed to many personality inner conflicts.

Karon Horney agreed with most of Sigmund Freud’s observations and teachings, however she totally disagreed with his popular “penis envy” theory in which women were thought to desire a penis to be more powerful, like men. Karen refuted this idea, that there was no such thing as “penis envy”, rather it was the power men had in society and the inequality of women having lesser rights, that lay at the heart of the issue.

In 1946, Karen publishes another book, “Are You Considering Psychoanalyisis.” This was considered a self-help book. Karen, before her death in 1952, came to the conclusion that “self-awareness is part of becoming a better, stronger, richer human being.”

In May of 1955 the “Karen Horney Clinic” was established in New York City in honor of all her work in the psychiatric field. The clinic serves as a research and training center, as well as treating low-income people who need psychiatric help.

Dr. Karen Horney was quite a remarkable woman. Her achievements have been the basis for understanding self, and helping to change the way society views females in male dominated disciplines.