Dr. Judith Schlesinger

In nearly four decades as a psychologist, Judith Schlesinger has worked in schools, inpatient hospitals, outpatient clinics, university classrooms, and private practice. Common threads: her fascination with the creative mind, and her passion for music and writing. Author of "The Insanity Hoax: Exposing the myth of the mad genius" (Shrinktunes Media, 2012), Judith wrote a biography of Humphrey Bogart (Metro, 1997) and contributed the psychology chapter to the interdisciplinary "Stephen Sondheim: A Casebook" (Garland, 2000). Judith has also written for The American Psychologist, The Counseling Psychologist, The National Psychologist, Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, the British Journal of Psychiatry, and The Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. A long-term member of the Association for Psychological Science and the National Association of Science Writers, Judith likes to explore the lines between sizzle and steak. This is evident in her many essays on psychology and education for The Baltimore Sun, her humorist role at Topia, the magazine about art and artists, her ongoing columns and reviews at, and pretty much her view of the world in general. A musician herself, Judith has produced acclaimed CD's for jazz, R&B, and Brazilian artists. Since 2017 she has been hosting a live, hour-long public radio show—Dr. J’s Jazz Emporium—which features interviews with jazz legends as well as a generous sampling of their music. In her different musical incarnations Judith has known great talents who are both productive and content, rather than hobbled by psychological dysfunction, as the “mad genius” cliché would have it. Such personal experience, combined with decades of research, clinical discovery, and that steak/sizzle thing, inspired The Insanity Hoax: Exposing the myth of the mad genius. It remains the only scholarly book that describes the origin, history, rationale, and psychosocial function of insisting that creative people are particularly vulnerable to mental disorder. A second, updated edition is due in June, 2019, with a foreward by Eric Maisel, PhD, creativity coach and author of over 50 books on the subject. As a result of her work, Judith was invited to contribute to the “state of the field” textbook, Creativity and Mental Illness (2014, Cambridge University Press), for which she wrote “Building Connections on Sand: The cautionary chapter.” In 2016, she was also invited to Amsterdam by the Van Gogh Museum for a two-day conference to decide, along with 29 other international creativity experts, whether Vincent had a lifelong mental disorder, or not. (Spoiler alert: Not.)