PMID: 7992858Sep 1, 1994Paper

A Horneyan analytic perspective on couple therapy: a case study

American Journal of Psychoanalysis
N M Horwitz


This paper describes the study, diagnosis, and course of treatment of a marital couple incorporating Horney theory as a basis for understanding. The case illustrates how fundamental features of Horney theory--character structure, pride positions, attacks on the idealized image, alienated aspects of self, externalization and counter-externalization-can be illuminated in the expanded context of a specific other, the spouse, as background. In a marriage characterized by conflict, omnipresent struggles for authority, and malignantly destructive communication, the wife adopts a position of self-effacement externalizing expansiveness to her husband while the husband adopts an expansive-detached position externalizing both expansiveness and self-effacement to the wife. Externalizations from the wife include a form that has not been described in the psychoanalytic literature of the Horney school: indirect active externalization. As shown, the wife attributes an idealization of her husband to third parties. We observe, too, that the husband's reasonableness and the wife's emotional stridency have the effect of attacking the idealized image of the other. Defenses are mobilized in order to repair hurt pride reactions: for the husband, the...Continue Reading


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