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Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor To the Editor: Joyce Lerneds commendable paper, "Horney Theory and Mother/Child Impact on Early Childhood" (1), earned the Alexander Reid Martin Award of the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. As a member of the Awards Committee selecting Ms. Lerner's paper, and applauding its selection on the basis of general merit, I have two reservations about its content. First, Lerner argues that basic anxiety, Karen Horney's concept referring to the experience of being helpless and alone in a potentially hostile world, is an experience only possible when the child has achieved sufficient psy- chic organization, namely, the rapprochement subphase of the separation- individuation process. This concept of Margaret Mahler refers to the child's new awareness that he is small and weak, and not a participant in his mother's seeming omnipotence. Fred Pine, one of Mahleds collaborators, writes of rapprochement in words reminiscent of Horney's basic anxiety: "no longer can the illusion of unity [with the mother] be maintained, and the child experiences himself as alone in a big world" (2, p. 233). This strikes me as a limiting and excessively literal construction of basic anxiety, a concept so fundamental to Horney's view of the genesis of char- acter pathology. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The American Journal of Psychoanalysis Springer Journals

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
1984 Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis
ISSN
0002-9548
eISSN
1573-6741
DOI
10.1007/BF01255426
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

To the Editor: Joyce Lerneds commendable paper, "Horney Theory and Mother/Child Impact on Early Childhood" (1), earned the Alexander Reid Martin Award of the Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. As a member of the Awards Committee selecting Ms. Lerner's paper, and applauding its selection on the basis of general merit, I have two reservations about its content. First, Lerner argues that basic anxiety, Karen Horney's concept referring to the experience of being helpless and alone in a potentially hostile world, is an experience only possible when the child has achieved sufficient psy- chic organization, namely, the rapprochement subphase of the separation- individuation process. This concept of Margaret Mahler refers to the child's new awareness that he is small and weak, and not a participant in his mother's seeming omnipotence. Fred Pine, one of Mahleds collaborators, writes of rapprochement in words reminiscent of Horney's basic anxiety: "no longer can the illusion of unity [with the mother] be maintained, and the child experiences himself as alone in a big world" (2, p. 233). This strikes me as a limiting and excessively literal construction of basic anxiety, a concept so fundamental to Horney's view of the genesis of char- acter pathology.

Journal

The American Journal of PsychoanalysisSpringer Journals

Published: Mar 1, 1984

Keywords: Clinical Psychology; Psychotherapy; Psychoanalysis

References