Internal Conflict: The Constructive Theory of Neuroticism Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1245 Words
Date:  2022-08-15


The Constructive Theory Of Neuroticism according to Karen, states that neurosis is a continuous and dynamic process and that the process often occurs sporadically in the life of an individual. However, there are other psychoanalysts who had contrasting and varied opinions since they believed that neurosis was more of a mental condition which resulted in a negative malefaction of the human mind towards a specific stimulus. These stimuli include divorce, negative experiences in one's life and bereavement (Benjamin & Ludy, 73). The book has been widely argued and scrutinized as well as discussed by various psychologists who have similar or varied opinions. The book by Karen has been used for vocational purposes whereby it helps to describe the safety promotion and gives details on the work of the safety engineer, safety education principles, the control and manipulation of automobile traffic, the various occupational illnesses and the hygiene involved in the industrial sector (Isin & Engin, 220). The book presents the subject of psychiatry to all the practising medical professionals, social workers and students. The purpose of this article is to give a summary of the book by determining the key points and principles that Karen wanted to pass across which involved the concept of personality that leads to the psychic illness. The paper will first make a brief summary on the book through the analysis of psychiatry which stipulates that human nature reveals itself via four major personality characteristics as well as two personality elements (Fromm & Erich, 352) A response to the author's position will be provided as well as the main concepts discussed. The basic personality elements are Intelligence, Emotional reaction, Conscience and psychosexual development. The secondary traits include the sociability and the various special approaches of adjustments (Saakvitne & Karen, 279).

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Summary of The Book

Karen in the book develops a very dynamic perspective of neurosis whereby she argues that the principles of neurosis are purely centred on the basic conflict that is found among the various attitudes of moving forward, moving away from as well as moving against people. The book states that mankind as a weakness since even if a man passed all the tests, he occasionally developed fatigue and consequently broke down (Guntrip & Harry, 79). A man usually struggles to find his place in the universe but shows no difference from his earlier predecessors who passed through the same problem who had only residual nervousness (Freud & Sigmund, 30). There are numerous stages and factors that are involved in the transition a man from the youthful and naive civilian to a very trained and experienced citizen-soldier that makes him encounter various challenges such as personal struggles. There are numerous case studies that have been carried out in the past few years that show that man has the various undesirable traits such as immaturity, signs of frustration and aggressiveness, guilt conscious, fears of mutilation and hatred towards the superiors and authorities (Horney, 43).

Karen states that man wants to find his home s intact as he left it on his return even though himself he has changed. He wonders if what he had left behind has also changed due to the dynamism of the world that we live in. In the fourth chapter of this book, there are various psychological viewpoints on the current post-war disagreements (Horney, 33). The constructive theory of neuroticism establishes that aggressive tendencies and conflicts that are present in the modern world produce modern civilizations that are used to mobilize forces against a common enemy in the battlefield. As soon as the war comes to an end and the enemy has perished, the bond that was formed to fight a common enemy is broken and numerous scapegoats are sought. The minority of all that are the subject of aggression (Horney, 43). The various problems such as sex, conscious as well as unconscious homosexuality and of ambiguity that are considered in regard to the different social statuses of individuals. The final chapter of this book talks about what is supposed to be done and the approaches to tackle it. Karen emphasizes the general rules on how to treat mental hygiene (Horney, 52). The book presents a brief and basic description of the current times psychiatric and clinical methods. There are various charts that are diagramming the sources of help that are used by the veterans to solve the majority of problems that are encountered spiritually and recreationally (Atwood & George 40).


Unlike the other psychoanalysts such as Freud, Karen does not regard neurosis in terms of human instincts. In her argument, she claims that the theory is constructive since it allows humankind for the very first time to tackle as well as resolve the hopelessness that is brought about by neurosis. Therefore, it is evident that the neurotic conflicts that are experienced by man cannot be tackled by the rational decisions that are usually made. However, such problems should be solved by changing the various conditions through the use of personality that made them come into existence.

The university professors find it helpful to explain some of the behaviours that are portrayed by their students because few people criticize this book, therefore, it is considered in the light of its purpose. The book makes a broad appeal to all the psychologists who work eclectically including those who have various concerns with the presence and helps in illuminating and analyzing the various psychological conflicts that involves personality, the effects it has as well as how to analyze, and understand and overcome them to encourage personal growth (Kelman & Harold, 67).

As an individual who has an interest in the question of the sleep disturbances, I find the book by Karen on the subject a very severe experience in understanding the concept of personality and neurosis. I believe that the various childhood experiences that we have to remain an important and integral part in the development of our neurotic personality. There are other factors that drive necrosis such as our attitudes and our mental statuses. Therefore, it can be concluded that a neurotic character structure is important and significant in the development of personality. The theory of neurosis has a very applicable in the psychoanalysis field that helps the psychologists and other medical professionals to evaluate the mental status of individuals (Brierley & Marjorie, 66).


Atwood, George E., and Robert D. Stolorow. Contexts of being: The intersubjective foundations of psychological life. Routledge, 2014.

Benjamin Jr, Ludy T. A brief history of modern psychology. Blackwell publishing, 2007.

Brierley, Marjorie. "Our Inner Conflicts: A Constructive Theory of Neurosis: By Karen Horney, MD (London: Kegan Paul. Pp. 250. Price 10 s. 6 d.)." International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 29 (1948): 66-67.

Freud, Sigmund. "Beyond the pleasure principle." The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XVIII (1920-1922): Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Group Psychology and Other Works. 1955. 1-64.

Fromm, Erich. "Individual and social origins of neurosis." American Sociological Review 9.4 (1944): 380-384.

Guntrip, Harry. Personality structure and human interaction: The developing synthesis of psychodynamic theory. Karnac Books, 1995.

Horney, Karen. Neurosis and human growth: The struggle toward self-realization. Routledge, 2013.

Horney, Karen. New ways in psychoanalysis. Routledge, 2013.

Horney, Karen. Our inner conflicts: A constructive theory of neurosis. Routledge, 2013.

Horney, Karen. Self-analysis. Routledge, 2013.

Isin, Engin F. "The neurotic citizen." Citizenship studies 8.3 (2004): 217-235.

Kelman, Harold. "Our Inner Conflicts: A Constructive Theory of Neurosis. By Karen Horney, MD 250 pp. 1945. WW Norton & Co. $3." American Journal of Psychoanalysis 5.1 (1945): 66-68.

Saakvitne, Karen W., Howard Tennen, and Glenn Affleck. "Exploring thriving in the context of clinical trauma theory: Constructivist self-development theory." Journal of social issues 54.2 (1998): 279-299.

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