Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (135.98 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biography
  • Preferred Citation
  • Arrangement
  • Acquisition Information
  • Publication Rights
  • Access
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Title: Betty Grover Eisner papers
    creator: Eisner, Betty Grover
    creator: Eisner, Willard D.
    Identifier/Call Number: SC0924
    Physical Description: 10 Linear Feet
    Date (inclusive): 1927-2002
    Abstract: Papers documenting Betty Grover Eisner's career in clinical psychology and experimental use of LSD and other drugs. Includes narrative reports and audio recordings of drug therapy sessions, articles and conference papers, book manuscripts, journals, legal documents, journals, personal and professional correspondence, and other materials.


    Betty Grover Eisner (1915-2004), a clinical psychologist best known for her experiments with LSD and other psychoactive drugs, was born Helen Elizabeth Grover in Kansas City, MO. After completing high school in Kansas City, she attended Stanford University and earned a B.A. in political science in 1937. She volunteered with the Red Cross during World War II, then spent a year in the late 1940s traveling Europe, Asia, and Africa with her first husband, fellow Stanford graduate Will Eisner. She documented their trip in a series of columns published in the Los Angeles Times.
    Eisner earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1956. She completed her dissertation on the psychology of infertile women, but by the time she graduated her primary professional interest had shifted to the use of LSD as an aid to psychotherapy. She conducted LSD experiments with Dr. Sidney Cohen at a Veterans' Administration hospital in Los Angeles, and later established a private psychotherapy practice in Santa Monica. After psychiatric research with LSD was banned in the United States in the late 1960s, Eisner experimented with using other drugs to promote psychological breakthroughs in patients, including ketamine and injectable Ritalin. Other treatments favored by Eisner included the inhalation of carbogen (a mix of 70% oxygen and 30% carbon dioxide), hot mineral baths, massage, and "blasting," a technique in which a patient was encouraged to release hostility by yelling while muffled by a washcloth.
    In 1976, one of Eisner's patients died following mineral bath treatment and blasting therapy. A wrongful death investigation ensued, as well an ethics investigation by the American Psychological Association. The Psychology Examining Committee of the California Board of Medical Quality Assurance revoked Eisner's license to practice in 1978. Eisner twice attempted to have her license restored in the early 1980s. Both attempts were unsuccessful.
    Eisner was the author of The Unused Potential of Marriage and Sex , published in 1970, as well as an unpublished book based on her group therapy work, I Can't, You Can't, But We Can. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, she authored several journal articles and conference papers on her use of LSD and other drugs in psychotherapy In 2002, she wrote a memoir titled Remembrances of LSD Therapy Past. Although unpublished, this memoir is available on the World Wide Web. Eisner also wrote song lyrics in the 1970s under the pseudonym Rev. B. Later in life, she wrote poetry under the name Abigail Bradbury. She and her second husband, Bill Micks, helped to found the Center for Learning, a school for the teaching of English in Mexico.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Betty Grover Eisner Papers, SC 0924. Stanford University Archives, Stanford, Calif.


    The collection consists of six series: Series 1: Personal and Family Papers; Series 2: Writing; Series 3: Correspondence; Series 4: Legal Files; Series 5: Therapy and Research Files; and Series 6: Audio Materials.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Betty Grover Eisner, 2001.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.


    With the exception of Series 2, Series 3 and the world trip materials in Series 1, access to the collection is restricted according to the Department's Access to Health Information of Individuals Policy  . Please contact the University Archivist for more information.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The papers document Betty Grover Eisner's career in clinical psychology as well as the intersection of her career with her personal life. Included are detailed narrative reports on Eisner's use of LSD and other drugs in conjunction with psychotherapy; audio tapes of drug sessions; numerous articles and conference papers as well as drafts of two books by Eisner; dream journals, free association writing, and other personal writing; legal papers and supporting documents related to an investigation of Eisner for wrongful death and the subsequent revocation of her professional license; and professional and family correspondence. Prominent correspondents include Sidney J. Cohen, Herman Denber, Albert Hoffman, Krishnamurti, Anais Nin, Ron Sandison, and Lewis Terman.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Group psychoanalysis
    Group psychotherapy
    sound recordings
    LSD (Drug) -- Therapeutic use
    Eisner, Betty Grover
    Eisner, Willard D.
    Abramson, Harold A. (Harold Alexander), 1899-1980
    Cohen, Sidney
    Denber, Herman C. B. (Herman Cecil B.)
    Eisner, Betty Grover
    Eisner, Willard D.
    Harman, Willis W.
    Hofmann, Albert
    Jung, C. G. (Carl Gustav)
    Krishnamurti, J. (Jiddu)
    Nin, Anaïs
    Sandison, Ronald
    Terman, Lewis Madison