Marquis de Sade Awards

Three ECT doctors are receiving special awards in the Shocked! ECT Hall of Shame; the Marquis de Sade Award for sadism in psychiatry.

Three doctors are receiving special awards in the Shocked! ECT Hall of Shame,
the Marquis de Sade Award for sadism in psychiatry.

Congratulations to

Gary C. Aden, HC Tien, and D. Ewen Cameron!

The first two inductees were the original co-founders of the International Psychiatric Association for the Advancement of Electrotherapy (later renamed Association for Convulsive Therapy).

Gary C. Aden, co-founder and first president, had his license revoked after being accused of sexually abusing patients in a sadistic manner. In 1989, he gave up his license after allegations that he had sex with patients, beat them, and branded two of the women with heated metal devices, including an iron that bore his initials. In another story, a patient describes Aden as drugging her with a hypo before sexually abusing her and beating her with a riding crop.

Co-founder HC Tien, used shock to obliterate and reprogram the mind of a woman to make her a more suitable housewife. Tien, of Michigan, utilized it to erase her memory and personality. In this case, he reprogrammed the woman into a more docile mate. This was reported in detail in two issues of Frontiers in Psychiatry, a Roche Laboratories handout sent to all psychiatrists in the country.

He said the memory loosening and the infantile state produced by the ECT made the patient amenable to drastic change. A relative helped reprogram the patient's personality according to a blueprint worked out prior to the shock. In this case, the woman wanted a divorce, and Dr. Tien and her husband coerced her into shock, saying that if she didn't comply, she would lose her children. As the good doctor shocked her, her husband worked on "reprogramming" her into his submissive wife. After the treatments concluded, all divorce action was forgotten, and she truly turned into the Stepford Wife.

Former president of the APA, D. Ewen Cameron of Canada, and first president of the World Psychiatric Association, was one of the most revered and rewarded psychiatrists on the international scene. He subjected his patients to twice-daily doses of six ECTs, one after another, to maintain the patient in one prolonged stupor. With much, or even all, of their lifetime memory bank obliterated, six months would be taken to reprogram them into more docile personalities and they would be given new memories. This suddenly became a scandal, not because of his techniques, but because of the disclosure in newspaper reports and books that he had been secretly financed in part by CIA. The CIA was eager to use these methods to "brainwash" people. His grisly methods and CIA funding are detailed in the book by John Marks (1979), "The Search for the Manchurian Candidate" and the later book, "In The Sleep Room: The Story of the CIA Brainwashing Experiments."

Congratulations to these fine examples of leadership in psychiatry and convulsive therapy.

next: Max Fink; The Grandfather of American ECT
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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2007, February 20). Marquis de Sade Awards, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 18 from

Last Updated: June 22, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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