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Mitrani, J.L. (1993). Deficiency and Envy: Some Factors Impacting the Analytic Mind from Listening to Interpretation. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 74:689-703.

(1993). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 74:689-703

Deficiency and Envy: Some Factors Impacting the Analytic Mind from Listening to Interpretation

Judith L. Mitrani


This paper examines some aspects of an unconscious process developing within the mind of the analyst; a process affecting both the way in which the analyst listens to the patient's material and the interpretations subsequently formulated. The paper highlights the problem of the analyst's 'mis-use' of theory as a protection against unbearable feelings of psychic pain, evoked by what is perhaps the most essential tool of psychoanalysis: the analyst's emotional contact with the patient's early experiences in infancy.

Both the 'deficiency theory' and the concept of 'primary envy' are called into question during this inquiry. Some of the most recent work of the 'post'-Kleinians (from Bion through to the present-day workers in England as well as in the Americas) is reviewed. Clinical examples, both from the author's own experience and from previously published material, are considered as illustrative of some factors which may impact upon the mind of the psychoanalyst from listening and interpretation.

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