The roots of psychological disorders

Q.Fixation of the psychic energy is the root cause of psychological disorder -Freud. Explain & discuss the alternative explanation suggested by Karen Horney 10 marks

4 thoughts on “The roots of psychological disorders”

  1. In his psychosexual development theory Freud stated that, when the person fails to develop and continues to seek pleasure of particular kind even after passing that particular stage, then it leads to fixation.

    Rather than seeking pleasure, Karen Horney emphasised upon basic anxiety of the child who seeks primarily for security.

    Basic anxiety, is a generalised fear, which is triggered, due to interaction with the bigger and powerful world and feeling alone. It is similar to Adler’s theory about feeling of inferiority.

    for eg :-Toilet training, child feels helpless to get disciplined with natural calls.

    Now this basic anxiety will lead to hostility, which according to Horney the child produces conflict that if hostility is expressed, then it will invite punishment and it would jeopardise the love of parents.

    While parents, giving unconditional love, affection and security, would help in overcoming this anxiety, otherwise the child would develop neurotic personality and will always have problem while dealing with relationships.

    for eg :-Harsh toilet training of child, will hamper its ability to cope with anxiety and will develop into a neurotic personality.

  2. According to freud’s psychosexual theory of development in each stage of development we obtain different kinds of pleasure and leave behind a small amount of libido -this is normal course of events.If an excessive amount of libido energy is tied to a particular stage however fixation result which in turn results in various types of psychological disorders.

    On the other hand Karen Horney states that psychological disorders stem not from fixation of psychic energy as freud contended, but rather from disturbed interpersonal relationship during childhood and what she termed basic anxiety- children’s fear of being left alone ,helpless and secure.

    She suggested that in reaction to excessive levels of such anxiety which stem from poor relations with their parents ,children adopt one of three styles:passive, aggressive or withdrawn.All three patterns can lead to psychological disorders.

    By emphasising the importance of children’s relationship with their parents horney called attention to the importance of social factors in shaping personality -a view echoed by modern psychology.

    In addition to this she disagreed with freud’s view that differences between men and women stemmed largely from innate factors.She argued that if women were raised in a different type of environment they would see themselves more favourably.

    Thus Karen Horney rejected freud’s emphasis on innate patterns of development.On the contrary she perceived personality as stemming from a complex interplay between social factors and the experiences we have during childhood, primarily in our own families.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.