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Etchegoyen, R.H. Lopez, B.M. Rabih, M. (1987). On Envy and How to Interpret it. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 68:49-60.

(1987). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 68:49-60

On Envy and How to Interpret it

R. Horacio Etchegoyen, Benito M. Lopez and Moses Rabih


This paper analyses the importance of interpreting envy within the analytic situation. We proceed from the Kleinian definition of envy, that which stems from the subject, not from the frustrating characteristics of the object. Among the object's capabilities, that of tolerating what he has not is especially included (negative capacity).

We maintain that on the attitude taken by the analyst when faced by negative transference—and by envy in particular—depend the different interpretive lines which will evolve.

Owing to its confusional characteristics, envy is always subtly disguised and hardly ever appears in a straightforward manner. It is necessary, therefore, to assess carefully the 'frustration' which depends on envy and that which arises from the object. We consider it important to underline that to this specific complication a further one is added: if the analyst does not adequately interpret it, envy does not become apparent. Clinical material illustrates these points.

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