Freud and his theory of psychoanalysis were so pivotal in the establishment of modern psychology that a strong argument can be made that virtually every major psychological theory of the twentieth century was either a hybrid of or a reaction to psychoanalysis. Even staunch behaviorists such as John Watson, and later B. F. Skinner, used psychoanalysis as a reference point to develop radically different theories of the personality that had little or no resemblance to Freud's ideas.
Object relations Freud used the word "object" to refer to any person, object, or activity that can satisfy an instinctive desire. In his view, the first object in an infant's life that can gratify such a desire is the mother's breast. As the child grows, other people become desire-gratifying objects in a variety of different ways.
Object relations theory owes its roots to Freud but diverged on a different path. Its core principles focus on interpersonal relationships with these objects, whereas Freud emphasized the instinctual drives themselves with little attention given to a child's actual relationship to the object. Object relations theorists see the social and environmental influences on personality, particularly between the mother and child, as crucial to the development of personality and the child's sense of self or ego. Object relations is closely aligned with what is also known in professional circles as ego psychology. Two well-known pioneers in object relations theory are Melanie Klein and Heinz Kohut. Klein's early career overlapped Freud's later years, and Kohut's began around the time of Freud's death.
Karen Horney Karen Horney was trained as a Freudian psychoanalyst in Berlin and is considered one of the first modern feminists. From 1914 to 1918 she underwent psychoanalytic training at the Berlin Psychoanalytic Institute and later became a faculty member there. Though initially devoted to Freud's systematic paradigm of psychoanalysis, she eventually disputed several of his key concepts. In particular she took issue with his view on unchanging biological forces as the determining factors for personality development. She denied the high status of sexual factors in his theory, including the Oedipal complex, the concepts of libido, and the three-part structure of the personality (id, ego, and superego). In fact, she left Freud's psychoanalytic circle over his views that women have poorly developed superegos and inferiority feelings about their bodies because they lack a penis. She countered Freud's view by saying that men have "womb envy," an unconscious desire for a womb.
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