Psychoanalytic Social Psychology
- Our essential challenge is to be able to relate effectively to other people.
Basic anxiety: an insidiously, increasing, all-pervading feelings of being lonely and helpless in a hostile world.
- Results from feelings of insecurity in interpersonal relationships
- The environment is dreaded because it is seen as unrealistic, dangerous, unappreciative, and unfair.
- Unlike Freud, she believed anxiety was due to cultural forces, not an inevitable part of the human
Basic Evil: the negative factors in the environment that can provoke insecurity in children
- Includes: domination, isolation, overprotection, hostility, indifference, inconsistent behaviour,
disparagement, parent discord, lack of respect and guidance, or the lack of encouragement and
- Undermine a child’s security and cause feelings of basic hostility: which must be repressed for fear of
losing the parent’s love.
Neurotic Needs or Trends
- To deal with basic anxiety, children develop certain defense attitudes or strategies that permit them to
cope with the world and afford a certain measure of gratification.
- We use them to deal with or minimize feelings of anxiety and to assist us in effectively relating to
- However, they become neurotic needs or trends when they become exaggerated or inappropriate.
o They are the result of the formative experiences that create basic anxiety.
o They are not instinctual in nature but highly dependent on the individual’s formative experiences
of being either safe or insecure in the world.
3 types of coping strategies or primary modes of relating:
1. Moving toward others (compliance): accepting one’s helplessness and becoming compliant
2. Moving against others (hostility): rebelling and resisting others to protect one’s self from a threat
3. Moving away from others (detachment): isolating one’s self to avoid involvement with others
These modes lead to 3 basic orientations of life:
1. Self-effacing solution: an appeal to be loved
2. Self-expansive solution: an attempt at mastery
3. Resignation solution: a desire to be free of others Neurotics express one mode at the expense of other aspects of their personality. They actively, although
unconsciously, repress tendencies to react according to the other orientations. However, this repression is
unsuccessful and continues to seek expression, which increases the neurotic’s anxiety.
The idealized Self
- The real self: what we are- those things that are true about us
- The idealized self: what we think we should be. We use it as a model to assist us in developing our
potential and achieving self-actualization.
In the normal individual, the idealized and real self largely coincide because the idealized self is based on a
realistic assessment of ones abilities and potentials. In the neurotic individual, the real and idealized self are
discrepant and separated.
- As neurotic becomes more sever, an increasing amount of the powers and potentialities of the real self
may be rendered unavailable for cultivation.
Alienation: a person identifies with the ideal self and thereby loses the true and only source of strength, the
real or actual self.
Neurotics lives our governed by the “tyranny of the should”.
- Instead of meeting genuine needs, they create false ones.
- Social factors influence the development of the idealized self.
- The idealized self is a special need of the individual to keep up appearances of perfection.
Her view of women is almost a direct inversion of Freud. Whereas Freud suggested penis envy in women,
Horney pointed out womb envy (men’s jealousy over women’s ability to bear and nurse children) in men. She
emphasized the superiority of women as indicated by their capacity for motherhood and she stress that a
women’s sense of inferiority is not constitutional but acquired.
In her assessments she primarily used free association and dream analysis. However, she suggested
systematic self-analysis as an important assessment tool. She said that significant gains may be made