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Ornstein, P.H. (2009). A Comparative Assessment of an Analysis of Envy: Commentary on Paper by Julie Gerhardt. Psychoanal. Dial., 19(3):309-317.

(2009). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 19(3):309-317

A Comparative Assessment of an Analysis of Envy: Commentary on Paper by Julie Gerhardt

Paul H. Ornstein, M.D.

This discussion is introduced with emphasis on the need for comparative psychoanalytic studies in our pluralistic psychoanalytic world and describes an approach to such an endeavor. A very brief comment on the extensive literature review is followed by a more detailed focus on the “analysis of envy,” which gradually changed into the analysis of the patient, as a person. The discussant's “empathic entry” into the analyst's mode of listening and responding was simultaneously also applied to the patient's experience, to see how well patient and analyst communicated with each other and whether or not the patient indicated that she felt understood or not. When she did not feel understood, the patient signaled this with an intensification of her envy into furious “envy attacks.” The analyst's “decoding interpretations” implied that the patient was causing her own problems and should not feel the way she did. The analyst discovered this later herself. Her discoveries in the fourth year of the analysis yielded notable changes both in her approach and in the patient's progress. Ultimately, the analyst allowed her subjectivity to enter the analysis and became better amalgamated with her chosen theory, leading to the changes in a progressively more fruitful analysis.

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