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Welker, R.L. (2005). The Fundamental Importance of Simple Operational Definitions of Introspection and Empathy. Psychoanal Q., 74(3):767-799.

(2005). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 74(3):767-799

The Fundamental Importance of Simple Operational Definitions of Introspection and Empathy

Robert L. Welker, Ph.D.

Instead of asking why psychoanalysis has lost its central position in mental health, one might marvel at its longevity when considering that psychoanalysts have not attained agreement about basic methods for observing unconscious mentation, either their own or that of others. Ambiguity abounds regarding the operations involved in, and the usefulness of, introspection, and even more so of empathy. Simple operational definitions of introspection and empathy are proposed in this article, definitions that are sufficiently abstract to transcend particular theories of mental organization (e.g., ego psychology, object relations, and self psychology) and concrete enough to be practicable.

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