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Horney, K. (1946). The Future of Psychoanalysis. Am. J. Psychoanal., 6(1):66-67.

(1946). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 6(1):66-67

The Future of Psychoanalysis

Karen Horney

We separated from the orthodox Freudian group of psychoanalysts five years ago for carefully thought out reasons. The fact that, as a radical minority group striving for reformulations, we were suppressed, mattered but little. We were sufficiently aware of the historical process going on to be able to take the suppression in our stride. But the sterility of the scientific discussions gave us a feeling of futility because we ran up against a blank wall of petrified dogmatism. The determining factor in our decision to form a new association was the realization that what separated us from Freud was nothing more or less than a whole philosophy of life.

The basic philosophy of Freud is a pessimistic one. In a symposium at the New School for Social Research in 1944, Brill—following strict Freudian concepts—said most clearly that man is at bottom driven by elemental instincts of sex, greed, and cruelty. Freud himself has expressed the same idea in terms of men being like porcupines who are bound to hurt one another if close.

We, on the other hand, believe that man has potentialities for good and evil, and we see that he does develop into a good human being if he grows up under favorable conditions of warmth and respect for his individuality. On the other hand an individual who is thrown into insoluble inner conflicts becomes inhibited and destructive. As the analysis of such an individual progresses, we see him becoming constructive and creative. He begins to grow as a human being. This is what psychoanalysis has become for us: a means for liberation and growth as a human being.

Between these two philosophies there is no bridge. We believe in human potentialities and the possibility of bringing them out through analysis. We felt therefore that we had an obligation to the younger generation of psychiatrists—the obligation of educating them in this spirit, helping them to become more constructive themselves, and enabling them to help their patients become more constructive.

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