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Kelman, H. (1964). Discussion. Am. J. Psychoanal., 24(2):143-144.

(1964). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 24(2):143-144


Harold Kelman, M.D.


Dr. Salzman stated that Horney's “formulations … deductively arrived at were framed in the twentieth century language of field relationships” available “for further exploration and testing.” I shall attempt a substantiation in the spirit of Horney's work and of the scientist who exclaimed to a colleague, “Today I have found out that my theory was scientific. Someone has just disproved it.”

The validation of a theory is its own invalidation. Truly open-ended, it should prompt questions which bring to light new data for which it was neither adequate, appropriate nor sufficiently comprehensive. In this productive sense, a theory is proven wrong.

New Ways in Psychoanalysis (1939) opens with: “My desire to make a critical re-evaluation of psychoanalytical theories had its origin in a dissatisfaction with therapeutic results.” From her first paper, “The Technique of Psychoanalytic Therapy” (1918), to her last, “The Paucity of Inner Experiences” (1952), this invalidating process is evident in the constant discarding, revising and expanding of previous concepts, through the adding of new ones and in giving new perspectives and dimensions to the flux of her formulations.

Horney's methodology is that of twentieth-century science which searches for what is truer through rigorous description, guided by laws having the attributes of approximation, of probability, of being unitary and open-ended. Simplicity, clarity, rigor and elegance, attributes of scientific theorizing, characterized Horney's formulations as they did her written style.

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