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Weiss, F.A. (1954). Karen Horney: Her Early Papers. Am. J. Psychoanal., 14(1):55-64.

(1954). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 14(1):55-64

Karen Horney: Her Early Papers

Frederick A. Weiss

Science has often found it fruitful to look at long-familiar facts from a fresh point of view. Otherwise there is a danger that we shall involuntarily continue to classify all new observations amongst the same clearly defined group of ideas.”9 This statement by Karen Horney expresses the spirit of sincere acceptance and creative reevaluation of previous observations which have characterized her work from the beginning. The study of her early papers provides a fascinating experience. It means participating in that process of constructive questioning which is the status nascendi of any pioneering step in the development of science.

Looking back on her very first paper, “The Technique of Psychoanalytic Therapy,”1 written in 1917, we can already discern beginnings of the new ways which in the subsequent thirty-five years led her, step by step, to a creative reformulation of the meaning and structure of psychoanalysis.

Unity of Theory and Therapy

“The analytical theories,” Horney states, “have grown out of observations and experiences which were made in applying this method. The theories, in turn, later exerted their influence on the practice.”

This emphasis on the basic unity of theory and practice prevented Horney's work from getting lost in ideological speculations and always kept her close to the fertile soil of human experience. At the time this paper was written the evolution of psychoanalysis had led to the abandonment of three earlier concepts:


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