I’m not sure that I have a specific idea for the direction of this thread but I’ve been having a growing sentiment recently that I was wondering if other people shared. Since moving to a new city for residency that happens to have multiple awesome and free art museums (one of which is a block from my apartment), I think I have a new appreciation for how beneficial art is not only for my personal but also my professional development. Now, to be honest, I know very little about the historical and technical aspects of painting, sculpture and the like (I know a decent amount about poetry). Still, when I look at some of these paintings I can’t help but get the feeling that they teach me something about human mental life that is scarcely directly learned from psychiatric practice. That is, I get the feeling that while psychiatry is great at teaching how to understand and interpret the objective aspects of a patient’s mental life (what they might be able to tell you about their mental life and what their behaviors might mean), art has a way of giving one the best glimpse possible into what it might be like to feel what another person feels. For one example: The other week I was re-reading some of Wilfred Owen’s poems and was thinking about how even though I can obviously never fully know the qualia of someone who has gone through war trauma, his works are some of the closest I feel that I’ve been able to come to understanding what that might be like. Now I’m not yet exactly sure about the concrete ways that this has impacted me as a psychiatrist but I’m sure it has. Perhaps it has made me better at validating people with neurotic personality vulnerabilities who are acting in ways that can be frustrating. I’m sure there are other ways too, but I’m struggling to place a finger on them. I guess I’m wondering if any of you have had similar feelings and, if so, if there have been any particular works that you feel have influenced you. This might be literary, fine art, theater, cinema, etc.