Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To turn on (or off) thumbnails in the list of videos….

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

To visualize a snapshot of a Video in PEP Web, simply turn on the Preview feature located above the results list of the Videos Section.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Olinick, S.L. (1975). On Empathic Perception and the Problems of Reporting Psychoanalytic Processes. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 56:147-154.

(1975). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 56:147-154

On Empathic Perception and the Problems of Reporting Psychoanalytic Processes

Stanley L. Olinick

… the rose was to be found in its own eternity and not in his words … we may mention or allude to a thing, but not express it; and … the tall, proud volumes casting a golden shadow in a corner were not … a mirror of the world, but rather one thing more added to the world. JORGE LUIS BORGES (1964).


The nature of psychoanalytic data is unique among the sciences. Indeed, it has been categorically stated that the facts of consciousness cannot be used in scientific method (Ashby, 1954) and that there can exist no science of the unconscious mind (Planck, 1949). That these prestigious scientists are mistaken is a painful example of the fact that our data are readily misunderstood or misperceived by the untrained observer or commentator, no matter how able a scientist he is (cf. also Lashley's comments in Colby & Lashley, 1957). Recognition and knowledge of the observational data of psychoanalysis are prerequisite to the subsequent understanding of psychoanalytic theory—a banal truth, but only if one is already familiar with and accepts these data. How to communicate them, or whether they can be communicated, warrants more attention than it has so far received within psychoanalysis itself.

In this essay I shall discuss the problems inherent in the communication of the observed data of psychoanalysis. It will be necessary to comment also on both the nature and the manner of perception of those data. The transmission of content in the traditional psychiatric usage of that term and in the sense of verbatim or condensed transcription of what has been said usually offers little problem.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2020, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.