Karen Horney on Psychoanalysis
Published on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 at 5:34 pm and is filed under Famous Psychologists
In “New Ways in Psychoanalysis” she re-defined the transference and counter-transference of psychotherapy but in “Introspection” she described the process of analysis according to the new paradigm. The psychologist Karen Horney refined her ideas on the psychoanalytic psychotherapy in subsequent works (1950, 1987, 1991), but she focused on the present than the past, the structure of (personality, neurosis, character and depression) more than on the genesis.
Freud believed that psychoanalysts have regression reactions that force the patient to carry on the analyst’s feelings, learned from his childhood experiences. Horney believed that the emergence of hostile emotions and fear among patients (negative transference) are due to the structure of their character. Therefore, the analyst should use these emotions to understand his defensive strategies and internal conflicts. Like transference, contra-transference is the structure of character of psychologist. The psychoanalytic must understand his unconscious, his own defensive strategies that they are not obscured by the similar defensive strategies of patients and not to encourage these defensive strategies in the provision of psychological help.
Karen Horney found out defensive strategies of her patients and tried to discover their function and importance. Psychotherapy and psychological help aim to help people control their own instincts in a situation of stress or neurosis, and to reduce their anxiety and fear that they could fix out without neurotic solutions. The last goal of psychological counseling and psychotherapy – is to “restore the man, to help him return the center of gravity within himself” (1939, p. 11)
“Resistance of therapy – is an effort to improve the function of patient’s neurosis, but not only his desire to maintain status quo. Thus, he wants to keep his neurosis, but with no problems and disorders associated with him”.
(Horney, 1987, p.73)
Karen Horney showed the counseling and psychoanalytic process as a joint venture where both analyst and patient follow the same goal. If the analyst takes the “authority setting” the patient may feel “helplessness”, while the goal of psychoanalysis – is to encourage “the initiative and resourcefulness” of the patient (1942, p. 301).
In Horney’s view, both patient and analyst have their own responsibilities. The 3 main tasks of patients – are: to express themselves through free association; to reveal the unconscious forces and impulses and the impact of these forces on their lives; to change behavior patterns that interfere in their relationships with themselves and others. Psychoanalysis consists of 5 components: monitoring, understanding, interpretation and assistance in resisting the “simple human help”. By the simple human help suppose that the analyst can give the patient the same, “that one gives to a friend”: emotional support, encouragement and interest in the happiness of others”.
“In the end, the psychotherapists are the tool with which therapists work. So you have to keep in s good shape”
(Karen Horney, 1987)
Psychotherapy is necessary for patients to help them cope with sadness, anxiety, depression and painful awareness of the truth about themselves. The therapist helps overcome the fear of helplessness, gives the impression that the problem can be solved. Patients feel insecure when “they are deprived of glory and splendor” realize that they are “not holy and loving, powerful and independent, as they thought” (1942, p. 145). In this situation they need someone who believes in them when their hope is gone.
In the course of counseling and psychoanalysis, patients not only lose their halo, but face with their ugly sides, which are the product of neurosis. A common reaction of patients in psychoanalysis – is constructive self-hatred and rejection of themselves. The psychologist understands that they “are curious and fighting human being” and “still loves and respects them”.
“The analyst can build different assumptions, may give the patient an idea of things, he can stimulate the patient’s desire to be himself, but to grow and develop the patient must do himself”
(Karen Horney, 1991).
The therapist helps patients understand their defensive strategies, the function they perform, and their destructive impact on the patient’s life. This understanding leads to confusion of patient, especially if there is affected his emotional and intellectual areas. This is not enough is there is no desire for mental health. People should be motivated for the hard work to change themselves, not only for the fact that they can eliminate suffering and stress , but also to give an opportunity to demonstrate the constructive forces of the real “me”. The therapist must be an unconditional partner of “I” which is in danger (1950, p. 362).
Karen Horney believed in innate forces of human psychology and made her theory more optimistic. In her view, Freud had not “clear understanding of the structural internal forces of man” and “he had to deny his authenticity”. For him, creativity and lose are sublimated forms of libido and desire for self-actualization was considered only “as an expression of libido” (1950, p. 378)
For Horney, the purpose of consultation and psychotherapy was not to transform “hysterical misery into everyday unhappiness but to help the patient to achieve his sense of joy and self-realization”.
For reflection. Introspection
Try to make introspection. Take a book or a notebook, sit in a calm place and do the following:
1. Design your own problem. Select it, write about it briefly;
2. Write a paragraph or two about your behavior in this situation;
3. Does this problem do only minor difficulties in specific terms?
4. Make a list of benefits and costs associated with this problem and compare them with other psychological and actual losses and gains in life;
5. Immerse in your problem. Have you ever had similar feelings? If you remembered something, write down your memories.
6. If is possible, read your writings to another person. Pay attention to what you feel when you tell about self-analysis: What do you feel while you read various parts of introspection? What you did not like? What do you think needs a further explanation?