Barry's BLOG

Jan 14, 2019
Creativity and Madness has been like a magic carpet ride for many. We have flown not only to exciting, inspirational and educational places, but we have gained so much more: an appreciation of other people and cultures; a deepening of our appreciation of the sacrifices and achievements of great artists; an understanding of their struggles with internal emotional conflicts and their attempts to overcome them through their art; a greater understanding of ourselves and our internal issues and possible paths to growing through them.

In my last blog I wrote about how Creativity and Madness got to be. Here is another strand woven into this magic carpet. When I was studying to become a psychoanalyst, I analyzed a young woman who was an artist. She was a student at UCLA. During the 3 years of her psychoanalysis she brought several dozen of her paintings for me to see. Most were self-portraits. She said, “I want you to see them, but I don’t want to talk about them and I don’t want you to discuss them."
She was telling me her dreams. She was freely associating to them. In her words she was telling me what was going on in her mind. Allowing me to see her self-portraits was an extraordinary education for me in understanding art. I saw on the canvas what was going on in her mind. Her emotional issues, her pain, her attempts to resolve these issues – all of this was there on the canvas. I am so grateful to her for allowing me to peer into her mind and for teaching me so much about art. One of the requirements for the psychoanalytic institute was to write a thesis. The thesis I wrote was about her “Portraits of a Psyche”. A friend at the institute read it and asked me to participate in a course at UCLA extension on The Psychopathology of the Artist.
“I can’t give that paper because of confidentiality, but I’d like to put together a talk on Vincent Van Gogh- a 
Study of Creativity and Madness.”

More to follow…

December 15, 2018

Dear Friends, Hello

This is Barry M. Panter, MD. I started the Creativity and Madness Conferences many years ago. Four years ago, my wife, Jacqueline came up with the brilliant idea of the Women of Resilience Conferences. We run these two series. 

This is my first blog. I hope you will enjoy reading them as they come out. I welcome any suggestions: What you are interested in reading; How to improve the blogs; Anything you like or don’t like about the blog, and our conferences.

You can reach me at

To start, let me tell you about how all this got started. The trigger was, I got angry.

My late wife Mary Lou and I had wanted a third child, but it didn’t happen after nine years. So we moved on. Every year we went skiing with our daughters Amy and Adrienne.  We had all the plans in place for a week at Snowmass, when Mary Lou, at last, became pregnant again. Instead of skiing, we decided to go to Maui for the week. I noticed two medical conferences would be there while we were there. One was on antibiotics, the other on pain. I wasn’t into pain, so I enrolled in the antibiotics conference. On the first day of the conference, I walked out of the beautiful Hawaiin sun-drenched field into the meeting room. I took my seat. The lights went out, and an image of bacteria went onto the screen. Then another slide of bacteria and another. After 20 minutes I got mad. I didn’t come in out of the sun to sit in the dark and look at bacteria. So I got up and left. I was angry. When I got back to the room, Mary Lou asked, “What’s going on?" I told her and added, “Why doesn’t someone put on a conference that is interesting, the spouse can attend, they can sit by the pool or at dinner and talk about what they heard.? She said, “Why not do it? That was part of the start of it. More to follow

Brendan Kennedy