Horney's Theory of Neurotic Needs

PsychologyPersonality Psychology

Karen Horney was a German psychoanalyst but later she moved to New York City, the United States, where she taught and trained psychanalysts while working both at the New School for Social Research and the New York Psychoanalytic Institute. She developed a popular neurotic theory and suggested that people possess a number of neurotic needs that play a role in driving behavior. In 1942, she wrote a book titled "Self-Analysis," in which she outlined her theory of neurosis. She described different types of neurotic behavior arising because of overusing coping strategies to deal with basic anxiety.

Theory of Neurotic Needs

The psychoanalytic theorist Karen Horney has developed her need theories related to neurosis. She has outlined the theory related to neurosis, which describes the different types of neurotic behaviour resulting from using strategies open apps to deal with the essential anxiety humans face in their everyday life.

She firmly believes that neurosis results from primary anxiety caused by interpersonal relationships between human beings. Heart theory has proposed specific strategies for coping with anxieties that can cause to take upon the appearance related to needs.

Based upon the theory of Horney, it is said that basic anxiety can result from different situations. She said that those children are often experiencing factors that can contribute to the new row while they become adults. It comprises excessive admiration, discrimination, injustice, separation from other children, arguments between their parents, and bearing too many responsibilities. The individual suggesting well into the situation can shift their focus dependent upon some factors, which are internal as well as external. The overusing of these interpersonal styles can be a result of the neurotic needs of human beings. The theory of self helps in finding out the factors which shape the neurotic need of humans.

The 10 Neurotic Needs

Following are the 10 neurotic needs as described by Horney −

  • The need for approval and affection − Horney has labelled the first requirement of the neurotic need for support and affection. It increases the desire to be liked by others, pleases others, and meet their expectations. People with this type of requirement are susceptible to criticism and rejection, and they fear feeling agile or being hostile by others.
  • The need for a partner − The second requirement of neurotic need is having a partner, which comprises centring their entire life upon a partner. People fearing being left by their partners can lead to extreme situations. Individuals placed in exaggerated and essential places while having their partner can feel happy and contended.
  • The need to put restoration upon one's life − The third need comprises the neurotic need for restricting the life of one person in some narrow border. Individuals with this type of preference must remain inconspicuous and unnoticed. They must be content and undemanding with their lives. They also avoid wishing for any material object, which makes their life undervaluing and secondary. They also could not find out their abilities and talents.
  • The need for power − The people having this neurotic need will always try to dominate people despising their weakness or exploiting some other people. People having neurotic needs are afraid of personal helplessness, uncontrollable conditions, and limitations.
  • The need to exploit others − People with the neurotic need to control others can gain association with others. People with this need constantly feel pride and tend to use others and focus on manipulation to obtain desirable objectives daily.
  • The need for personal achievement − According to Karen, people pushing themselves to achieve the greater good constantly feel insecure. This individual appears pillar and always feels a constant requirement to accomplish what they need in life to become successful.
  • The Need for Prestige − According to Horney, this type of person needs to value themselves in reference to public recognition and acclaim. Furthermore, personality characteristics, professional accomplishments, material possessions, and loved ones are assessed based on prestige value. These types of people remain frightened, as they fear public embarrassment and social credibility.
  • The Need for Personal Admiration − People with a neurotic need for personal admiration are usually narcissistic, as they have an exaggerated self-perception.
  • The need for independence − This type of need displays autonomy and self-sufficiency. Individuals with low mentalities always separate themselves from others to feel independent.
  • The need for perfection − People who have their neurotic need for unsustainability and perfection always live towards complete infallibility. The essential feature of this neurotic need is to search for a personal flaw to change it at the earliest.

Neurotic Trends

With the evolving theories, Horney can see the neurotic needs to be grouped into some basic categories that help to develop a particular attitude toward own self. People could make use of the neurotic trends for resolving conflicts, which can be neurotic or non-productive at the same time.

The neurotic needs should be looked after; otherwise, it could result in self-hatred, and tyranny should exemplify it. The people must make demands on themselves which can help them in the achievement of successful stop the people can continue pushing them towards the path of perfection by believing was perfect. The second aspect of expressing self-hatred is seriously accusing anyone, and Neurotics help constantly criticize themselves. The self-employed could also be self-contempt, described as disparaging, belittling, discrediting, and doubting. The neurosis grows out of some conflicts, which generally begin in childhood.

The main goal of this therapy is to help patients gradually grow toward realizing their true selves. The aim is to have the patience to give up their self-image, which is highly idealized by relinquishing the neurotic search for glory and changing the cell featured into acceptance. The task of a therapist discussed in sings patients their present situations. It is better to perpetuate rather than elevate the core task of neurosis, which takes much more time and hard work. Horney's theories are highly optimistic. She believed that people could possess some inherent powers which are curative and could lead them towards the path of realization. The strong emphasis on social influence develops people's personalities compared to biological ones. It is also used to highlight people's similarities based on their uniqueness.


It can be concluded that neurotic needs can be used to describe the characteristic of every individual. The neurotic trends could be used to symbolize neurotic needs. Horney strongly believes that human beings should always live in warmth and discipline. It will help in the development of feelings of self-confidence and security, and this will pave the path to the realization of the own true self.

Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47