Karen Horney and Character Disorder: A Guide for the Modern Practitioner

Karen Horney and Character Disorder: A Guide for the Modern Practitioner

Karen Horney and Character Disorder: A Guide for the Modern Practitioner

Karen Horney and Character Disorder: A Guide for the Modern Practitioner

Synopsis

"Dr. Irving Solomon prepares practitioners to conduct Horneyan therapy and successfully treat character disorder, the most common dysfunction of our time. Dr. Solomon presents, in a concise and organized fashion, Karen Horney's ideas regarding character psychopathology, accompanied by many illustrative vignettes for practical application. Today's clinician will find that Horney's orientation provides a means of conducting brief treatment that is also meaningfully deep. The book will be of interest to mental health professionals, as well as to lay individuals who seek knowledge of the self, since it realistically, vividly, and authoritatively touches on a multitude of common, easily recognized character trends that destructively complicate our well-being."

Excerpt

My first contact with Karen Horney's psychoanalytic theory and therapy originated from a surprising source. I had just begun a four year postdoctoral training program in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis at Adelphi University. During the first year the students were required to participate in a course dealing with the basic principles of psychotherapy. The class at that time was taught by Jules Nydes, a much admired instructor, former analysand of the eminent Freudian psychoanalyst, Dr. Theodor Reik. Much to my astonishment Nydes asked us to read the chapter, [The Road of Psychoanalytic Therapy] in Karen Horney's book Neurosis and Human Growth (1950a, pp. 333–365). As I began to study the chapter I recalled vaguely that Horney was labeled a NeoFreudian and definitely out of favor with the dominant classical Freudian camp, but I was struck by the finding that her writing was remarkable for its crystal-clear expression. In contrast to the vast majority of psychoanalytic writers of journal papers and books, Horney vigorously wrote better than they in simple, lucid prose about problems of the inner heart in conflict with itself.

She also led me to an elegant, necessary panoramic view of psychotherapy. I liked her recognition that therapy (i.e., in my practice mainly once-per-week sessions) is urgent; that it is, like much of life, fired at us point blank within each session. I sensed her respect for the right of each patient to restore his or her vitality, to take stock of their own capabilities and not hide their strengths because of basic anxiety (i.e., Horney's concept). She, in her chapter, reminded me once more of the significance of Montaigne's wise statement about self-depreciation, namely, that [It is . . .

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