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Thesis (M.S.)

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Neuroses, Personality


While studying medicine, Horney became interested in psychoanalysis and took her first training analysis with Karl Abraham in 1911. Abraham's descriptions of the oral, anal, and phallic character types, along with his account of the neurotic "slogans" unique to each, was to affect Horney's conceptualization of various "mottos," which she described as common to certain neurotic characters develooed in her later work. Her close kinship with Melanie Klein, her coanalysand with Abraham, fostered in Horney an appreciation for what Klein saw as the deep importance of early object relations in the genesis of neurosis. Horney's concepts of "basic anxiety" and her descriptions of the origins and implications of repressed hostility are connected to this exposure to Kleinian dynamics. Throughout the years between 1915-1934, Horney practiced and published from a point of view grounded in orthodox Freudian principles. During these years, Horney was a member of the Berlin Psychoanalytic Society and a founding analyst in the Berlin Polyclinic, the first low cost clinic for psychoanalysis, as well as a center for psychoanalytic education and training analysis. This was a great time in the evolution of psychoanalytic thought and many prime movers in the field practiced in Berlin. These included: Franz Alexander, the first student at the Institute, Sandor Rado, Ernst Simmel , Wilhelm Reich, and Eric 1 2 Fromm. It may be, in fact, that through her contacts with Reich and Fromm, two analysts with Marxist leanings, an appreciation for sociocultural dynamics in personality functioning was stimulated in Horney's thinking.