Karen Horney: Our Inner Conflicts

I just finished reading Our Inner Conflicts: A Constructive Theory of Neurosis by Karen Horney.

It's one of the seminal books in analysis and therapy. I really found it full of insights and recognitions, both pleasant and unpleasant. I'm not really one for "self-help" books -- most of them strike me as boring reading for self-absorbed people -- but this one is really different.

One of the most striking things about the book -- and I've heard this as well from other people who've read it -- is the shocking sense of recognition you get as you read it. It's like she's met certain of your friends and family members and is describing them specifically. Of course, this isn't true -- it's simply the universality of her insights.

It has faults, of course -- most of them stemming from when it was written. Horney spends far too much time explaining how she differs from Freud -- perhaps revolutionary when she wrote it in the 1940s, but a little tedious now when people aren't so enchanted with Freud.

Also, her almost exclusive use of the male pronoun, while grammatically correct, tends to fall strangely on modern ears.

Still, the book is well-worth a read -- I plan to reread my copy. Highly recommended.