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Ellman, C. (2008). To Have and to Hold: Thoughts on Admiration/Envy: Commentary on Paper by Joye Weisel-Barth. Psychoanal. Dial., 18(6):758-765.

(2008). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 18(6):758-765

To Have and to Hold: Thoughts on Admiration/Envy: Commentary on Paper by Joye Weisel-Barth Related Papers

Carolyn Ellman, Ph.D.

Using the author's definition of “envy,” I try to separate out fleeting feelings of envy that lead to “admiration” from very disturbing feelings of envy that have to remain hidden because they are so shameful. I try to explore the reasons why it is so unlikely that analysts will feel envy of their patients no matter how rich and famous they may be. Instead, I try to show that this really is a paper on “admiration” and quote the relevant literature on how to distinguish these two affects. A careful reading of the case material shows that the analyst's admiration of her patient's artwork served a very positive role in the treatment of a severely narcissistic man whose self-esteem had plummeted after suffering several losses. It seemed that by being a “container” and “self-object” for a long period, the analyst was able to rescue pieces of the patient's self that he felt were falling through a “colander.” The case is also used as an example of some of the work that started in the 1970s about how to work with narcissistic and nonclassical cases in a noninterpretative manner.

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