In chapter three of The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson sets out to discover how psychopaths could be cured. In the chapter, Ronson talks about the work of a psychiatrist named Elliot Barker. Barker coming back from his travels, learns a treatment of nude psychotherapy that he applies to Oak Ridge Hospital for the criminally insane. The treatment consisted of the removal of all distractions and cloths, and being locked in a room, high off LSD for days. This was theorized to strip the patients of their outer self and achieve emotional nakedness, supposedly curing them at the end of the process. The treatment seemed to have a positive effect on many patients and some of them were released back into the world. However, after releasing many of the patients, it turns out that 80% of them went on to re-offened crimes. Due to this, the program was shut down and deemed a failure. The naked psychotherapy treatment concluded with worse results in the patients, and inability to cure them.
I thought this chapter was very interesting in the different ways mental illness was attempted to be cured. Barker's methods seemed very radical; however, it is understandable why one would go to such lengths. Trying to cure something like psychopathy after many other failed methods only gave way to attempting something drastic. What intrigues me the most is how psychopaths cannot be changed and continue with their behaviors. Although this behavior is destructive, it is interesting to see society dealing with the outcasts which they deem to be abnormal. Wouldn't a psychopath believe their behaviors to be normal to themselves? If that is true, then society is forcing their beliefs into someone in an attempt to change who they are. I am by no means saying they should be free; however, if one were to think of the world full of psychopaths, and todays idea of the sane person being placed into that world, would that sane person not also be deemed crazy and also be forced the beliefs of that world down their throat like we do with the psychopaths of the present? If you were placed in a world of psychopaths, would you also not conform to their ways and beliefs? Perhaps this is the reason why they are not able to be cured in todays world.