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On beauty

It wasn’t untill recently that I was fortunate enough to experience what Bion called the aesthetic element of beauty. Last year I started seeing a patient diagnosed with cancer and with a very guarded prognosis. We both knew, by the start, the outcome would be serious and certain. He came to me because he wanted a place and a time safe from his illness, and full of possibilities. I was uncertain I would be able to provide what he so much needed. As we progressed in therapy, though, his rare quality of transforming, through aesthetics and humour, a very difficult situation into a tolerable one, saved me and enabled me to save him. I couldn’t possibly save his life but we managed to rescue the meaning of his existence.

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