Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jon Ronson Chapter 3 Summary

In Chapter Three of The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson discusses Elliot Barker's strange efforts of therapy at Oak Ridge hospital of the criminally insane in Ontario. Before he began working at Oak Ridge, Barker traveled the world to explore different types of therapy. He found methods of nude therapy and LSD induced therapy, which he later used when he applied to work at Oak Ridge. He held these nude and LSD therapy sessions in an attempt to cure these criminals. Ronson discusses these sessions in gross detail in an attempt to give the reader an idea of the strangeness of these methods. Many criminals over the years had been released from the hospital as "cured," but about 80% of them reoffended later in life. This shows after the many attempts to this therapy, the psychopaths were unable to be cured.

I found Ronson's third chapter to be quite disturbing. He made a strong point about how it seems that psychopaths are unable to be cured. I found it interesting that in most cases of psychopaths being released, 60% go on to reoffend, but in Barker's case, 80% went on to reoffend. It makes me question his methods, and I wonder if they actually could have made the psychopaths worse. I would expect they did, seeing that most of these therapy sessions really could have been very scarring for the patients. I would imagine them to be from the great detail Ronson provided about being strapped to others naked, for example, or someone literally living in their own feces.