The Nude LSD Therapy That Made Psychopaths Worse

“Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage.” —Ray Bradbury, The Meadow

In A Nutshell

In 1968 Dr. Elliott Barker, a Canadian psychiatrist, came up with an unusual idea to treat violent psychopaths. He locked a small group of male offenders in a room for 11 days, during which time they were kept completely nude and given large amounts of LSD. The only food available had to be sucked through straws in the wall. Follow-up research showed offenders were one-third more likely to commit violent crime after release than those that didn’t receive the “treatment.”

The Whole Bushel

Nude therapy began in the 1960s with Paul Bindrim, an American psychologist. In 1967, inspired by nudist camps, Bindrim set up a therapy group at a hotel in California. He charged $100 for people to spend the weekend in a group of participants, during which they would take part in a number of group therapy techniques while completely naked. The idea was that nudity would free people from social constraints and unlock a window into their mind or soul.

These sessions eventually fell out of favor. Morally conservative attitudes meant anything quite that unusual was always going to fall under scrutiny, and people that wished to get together in the buff had nudist camps and the like available. It was benign, however, compared to the version of nude treatment dreamed up in 1968 by Elliot Barker at the Oak Ridge Asylum in Ontario.

Barker got permission from the Canadian government to do trials with LSD. He set up small rooms with bright green walls and called them Total Encounter Capsules. Into those rooms he gathered groups of psychopathic offenders between the ages of 17 and 25. The young men were given LSD and left naked in the rooms for 11 days with no distractions. They were encouraged to scream, claw the walls, and talk about their deepest desires.

If the experience sounds like something that would make someone extra violently insane, that’s because it is exactly that kind of experience. Researchers in the 1990s looked at people who were treated at the facility and compared those that underwent Barker’s therapy with those who didn’t. They found that the re-offending rate had risen from around 60 percent to 80 percent among those that were in the therapy.

It seems that group therapy allows psychopaths to practice manipulating and using people. The attempt to get psychopaths to examine their inner self simply allowed them to figure out how to use their inner self in more destructive ways. It’s also possible, of course, that being locked in a room for over a week with a group of other psychopaths while on hallucinogenic drugs is simply not good for you in any way.

Show Me The Proof

Freud and Nude Psychotherapy for Criminal Psychopaths
Violence And Psychopathy
The History of Nude Psychotherapy

  • Arjan Hut


  • Nomsheep

    Somehow I’m not surprised.

  • LaPortaMA

    Nonsense misses entire dimensions.

    • Katie Burns

      I meant to hit the “boo” arrow.


    Where did they go to the bathroom

  • Hadeskabir

    Psychopaths can’t be treated, you can try to control their thoughts. Of course giving hallucinogenics, to a bunch of naked psychopaths, for 11 days was a bad idea. That was the way the CIA used to create mind-controlled assassins.

  • tarantulady

    I have a feeling being force-fed LSD naked would raise the average person’s likelihood of committing murder.

  • Hillyard

    Stick a bunch of psychopaths together, strip them naked and feed them LSD. As bad as the doctor that did this was, remember some moron signed off on allowing this.

  • Spartacross

    Unfortunately (and quite contrary to the reputation the country enjoys) it has been extremely easy for the American Secret Services to find Canadian doctors willing to treat their patients like the Nazis treated their prisoners.

    Most Mind Control (MKULTRA) research was carried one by Canadian “doctors” as well, between 1957 and 1961.

    • lonelydisco

      “American Secret Services”

      The ASS? How could you miss this opportunity?

  • Steve Smith

    They were not trying to treat psychopaths. They were trying to spot them and use them.
    I know, I was there.

  • Absinthe Head

    Talk about the shittiest set and setting. You don’t have to be a psychopath to lose your shit in such a setting. The parameters of this study are so unscientific that I don’t know why it is being called a “scientific” anything. This is quackery at its worst.