Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Psychopaths Dream in Black & White"

In this chapter, Jon Ronson discusses psychiatrist Elliot Baker and his long, nude, "LSD-fueled" psychotherapy sessions at Oak Ridge Hospital for the criminally insane. Baker puts these insane residents in a secluded room and lets the healing of their "illness" happen on its own. Ronson also shows examples of psychopaths who had experienced Elliot Baker's sessions and how the session didn't make them better, it made them worse. When let out into society,they better hid their murders and deviant acts and re-offended. Gary Maier took over at Oak Ridge after Elliot stepped down. He studied residents dreams and viewed their breakthrough in recovering could be considered "cured and freed", like Elliot.

The fact that the residents in the hospital could be "cured and freed" struck me the most. I found it strange and somewhat horrifying that these psychopaths could be released back into society after their horrific crimes; especially after Ronson gave examples of residents at Oak Ridge who committed similar crimes again after they were "cured". After reading bout Tony in the previous chapter, Broodmoor is the complete opposite of Oak Ridge - they don't release their residents and believe that they will always be psychopaths or insane, it's how their brain works. Eighty percent of the criminal psychopaths re-offended, Elliot's work made them worse. I also found the techniques that Elliot used to be very odd and strange.