Envy Amongst Psychotherapists in a Psychotherapeutic Community: A Hermeneutic Inquiry
My research explores the lived experience of envy amongst psychotherapists and between psychotherapists in a psychotherapeutic community in New Zealand. It focuses on bringing the experience of envy out of hiddenness and into language.It then explores the understandings and the possibilities of meanings that these experiences have. Previous literature on envy has for the most part discussed the clients' envy for the psychotherapist, and very little has been written about the therapists' envy for the client. My research turns the focus to the psychotherapist as it looks at their envy for each other.As I was interested in the therapists' lived experiences of envy, I chose hermeneutic phenomenology as the methodology to explore these. I drew on the philosophical underpinnings offered by Heidegger, Gadamer and van Manen.What arose from my in-depth conversations with psychotherapists is that while envy is an experienced phenomenon that is for the most part not spoken, the powerful feelings that it evokes have great impact on both those who envy and those who are envied. Envy showed up as arising in a relational context, with perception, time and anxiety as contextual determinants. These, along with the findings of the lived experience of envy as a binding between self and other, as threatening to self and other and as a means of connecting with self and other, are some of the essential points discussed in my thesis.This study provides a starting point for a further exploration of the experience of envy amongst psychotherapists as well as envy's impact on who we are in ourselves and how we are with each other, both personally and professionally.