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Rolo, C.J. (1972). The Karen Horney Clinic and the Crisis. Am. J. Psychoanal., 32(1):106-109.
  

(1972). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 32(1):106-109

The Karen Horney Clinic and the Crisis

Charles J. Rolo

Karen Horney was born in Hamburg in 1885, the daughter of a German mother and a Norwegian sea-captain; she died in America in 1952. Albert Camus, the French writer, second youngest man to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, was born in Algeria in 1913, the son of a Spanish mother and an Alsatian agricultural worker; he was killed in a motor accident in France in 1959. The two never met, but they have something important in common. Both, in their altogether different fields, were staunch upholders of the humanist tradition, one of the bulwarks of Western Civilization, and they have a complementary message to us in this time of crisis.

The message of Karen Horney and Albert Camus, which is being translated Into action by the Karen Horney Clinic, is that there are no panaceas for the individual or for society. Camus compared the condition of the man to that of the legendary Sisyphus, condemned by the Gods to push a stone up a hill and never to reach the summit. But in Camus's reinterpretation of the myth, Sisyphus ceases to be a symbol of frustration. He becomes, instead, a symbol of man's struggling, steadfastly and courageously, to surmount his destiny. And Camus made this significant comment: “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

In a similar vein, Karen Horney — who believed that there exists in man “an autonomous striving toward self-realization” — saw emotional health as the ability, which neurosis impairs or destroys, to strive for self-realization; and not as the attainment of some state of Nirvana.

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