Biography: Karen Horney (1885-1952)
Karen Horney was a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. She was born September 16, 1885, near Hamburg, Germany. Raised by a strict Norwegian father and a more liberal Dutch mother, she lived out tensions in her youth that would provide many of the themes of her later work. While a medical student in Germany, she married a fellow student in 1909 and they had three children.
Her personal life was already under great strain by 1915 and she underwent Freudian analysis with Karl Abraham. She herself began to take on patients for analysis in 1919 and would be affiliated with the Berlin Psychoanalytic Clinic and Institute until 1932, when she was invited to the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis; separated from her husband, feeling the Berlin psychoanalytic atmosphere too oppressive, fearing the threat of Nazism, she went to Chicago. Meanwhile, during the 1920s she had already begun to publish a series of papers that would take issue with some of the major tenets of orthodox Freudianism and she would continue her often lonely fight, in particular to have women's distinctive psychosexual issues considered. During the 1930s she would also develop theories about the importance of social and cultural factors in human development, which have been incorporated into contemporary psychology but which at the time were considered profane by many Freudians.
In 1934, she moved to New York City, where she built up a private practice while teaching at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and the New School for Social Research. She soon fell out with the orthodox Freudians there, and with Clara Thompson, Erich Fromm, and other prominent psychoanalysts, she founded the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis, which also established its own training institute and professional journal, the American Journal of Psychoanalysis, of which she served as an editor. She remained at the center of the storm in New York and international psychoanalytical circles as she was a difficult woman to get close to. But in the years following her death she has been recognized as a major figure in the psychoanalytical movement. She died in 1952.