Psychology Study Material: Main Concepts in Horney՚s Theory and Goal of the Therapy

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Main Concepts in Horney՚s Theory

Basic Anxiety

Basic Anxiety

A Major Concept: If The Environment Is Hostile And The Child Feels Lonely And Isolated, Then This Anxiety Develops. It Can Be Overcome By Proper Parental Nurturing

Basic Hostility

  • Children develop such hostility if parents are over strict, punishing, indifferent, or inconsistent.
  • Children feel very aggressive and hostile but cannot express it. Repressed hostility leads to anxiety.

Social Interaction and Interpersonal Styles

She talked about the ways in which people interact with each other, and these were thought to have an impact upon the personality of an n individual:

  • Moving away from others: seeking self-sufficiency and independence
  • Moving toward others: being compliant and dependant
  • Moving against others: trying to gain control, power, and independence


  • Arise from emotional conflicts that arise from childhood experiences, and disturbances in interpersonal relationships in later life
  • Relationship with the real self and the ideal self
  • Horney maintained that the real self includes those things that are true about us at any particular time. The ideal self reflects what we would like to become. For normal people, the ideal self is the goal that they would like to reach in the future; it is something around which they can organize their lives and to which they can aspire. For the neurotic person, according to her, the relationship between the real and the ideal self is a problem. In the first place, the neurotic՚s impression of the real self is distorted. For him, the ideal self is a wish instead of reality and idealized self is an unrealistic, immutable dream

Goal of the Therapy

For her, the goal is to create a realistic relationship between the real self and the ideal self. Horney was optimistic about human nature and the ability to change. Human interactions caused problem and human interactions solved problems also.

Behavioural Approach

  • The psychological model that focuses on the overt, observable, behaviour. The model grew out of the rejection of psychology՚s early emphasis on the inner working of the mind, suggesting instead that observable behaviour should be the focus of the field. John B. Watson was the first person that advocated the behavioural approach. This is a psychological approach that considers the relationship between behaviour and environmental stimuli as the focus of study; observable behaviour is what psychology should be studying, understanding, and explaining.
  • This approach dominated psychology for most of the 20th century What do the Behaviourists Study?

They specifically study:

  • Observable/overt behaviour
  • Specific measurable responses
  • How particular types of behaviours are controlled by particular types of environmental stimuli

Method of investigation: Data are typically collected under controlled laboratory conditions, employing technological assistance

What the Behaviourists Are Not Interested in:

They are not interested in:

  • Unconscious
  • Inner motivation
  • Biochemical processes
  • These and all other states, which are not being observed with the naked eye or cannot be evaluated.

Behaviourist Analysis

Behaviourist Analysis is done for seeing and establishing the relationship between the stimulus and response/behaviour.

Three Step Approach

  • The antecedent environmental conditions: are analysed. i.e.. , the conditions preceding the action/response/behaviour, and that lay a ground for it.
  • The behavioural response is studied: study of the action or behaviour that is to be understood, described, predicted, and controlled.
  • Observable consequences are explored: the impact resulting from the target behaviour i.e.. how it affects the environment or other people.

Basic Terminology

  • Stimulus: A physical energy source that has an effect on a sense organ, thus producing a response.
  • Response: The action, behaviour, or reaction triggered by a stimulus.
  • Environment: External factors, variables, conditions, influences, or circumstance affecting one՚s development or behaviour.
  • Variable: A behaviour, factor, setting, or event that can change/vary in amount or kind.
  • Learning: A relatively permanent change in behaviour that takes place as a result of practice and/or experience.