Karen Horney

Life itself still remains a very effective therapist.


Karen Horney was born in Germany on September 16, 1885

Died December 4,1952, New York City

Early Life

Karen Horney dealt with depression early in life. She described her father as a strict disciplinarian and was very close to her older brother, Berndt. When he distanced himself from her, Horney became depressed, a problem she would deal with throughout her life.


In 1906, Karen entered medical school.The University of Freiburg was in fact one of the first institutions throughout Germany to enroll women in medical courses—with higher education only becoming available to women in Germany in 1900. By 1908, Horney had transferred to the University of gottingen, and would transfer once more to the university of Berlin before her graduation in 1913. Attending several universities was common at the time to gain a basic medical education.



Karen Horney developed a theory of neurosis that is still prominent today. Unlike previous theorists, Horney viewed these neuroses as a sort of coping mechanism that is a large part of normal life. She identified ten neuroses, including the need for power, the need for affection, the need for social prestige, and the need for independence.