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Holden, D. (1994). Comments and Criticisms. Contemp. Psychoanal., 30:396-396.

(1994). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 30:396-396

Comments and Criticisms

Donald Holden

To the Editor:

READING "OUT OF OUR MINDS, " (Volume 29:453–478) I was particularly moved by the discussion of relevance: the patient's need to feel that the therapist (and everybody else) will treat him/her as someone who counts, someone who really matters.

As an artist—someone who works in solitude and must get used to very little encouragement from the outside world—I also find the issue of relevance puzzling. Even the most successful painter, sculptor, writer, or composer spends most of his days alone in a room, where another human being rarely looks over his shoulder and says "How wonderful!" Artists go for years between exhibitions. Writers go for years between books. Composers write music that may never be performed. How can we live this way?

When the outside world gives us so little reason to believe that we're relevant, where do we find the elusive feeling that we matter at all? The truth, of course, is that most would-be artists, writers, and composers give up and disappear soon after they leave school. But some of us do keep going all our lives despite the fact that so few people seem to care.

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