What happened to me in Montreal (in Ewan Cameron’s Words)

This is what “psychic driving” is as developed by Ewan Cameron in conjunction with the CIA under the MKULTRA program, this ideology is used still on certain psychiatric patients in Montreal, particularly those of minority groups such as women, people of colour (especially aboriginals), gays/lesbians, and especially transgendered people.

“Playing back to the patient, by means of tape recordings, important parts of therapy sessions has proved valuable in treatment. The procedure consists of insuring extended and repeated reaction by the patient to his own verbal cues (‘autopsychic driving’) or cues verbalized by the therapist, but based on the patient’s psychodynamics (‘heteropsychic driving’). Since this compels a continued response within a field largely limited by the cue material, it has been termed ‘psychic driving’. Selection of a satisfactory key statement for psychic driving requires awareness of the patient’s major problems. Autopsychic driving has as its primary value the penetration of defenses, elicitation of hitherto inaccessible material, and the setting up of a dynamic implant. Its purpose is usually achieved within thirty minutes of driving. Heteropsychic driving is best carried on over extended periods (ten to twelve hours daily in hospitalized patients or during sleep). Its primary uses are changing of attitudes and setting up a dynamic implant.

“Psychic driving has been used in many ways: with pillow and ceiling microphones, presentation of the same theme in different ways, isolation of patient, etc. Purely mechanical variations seem of little importance. The responses to psychic driving include immediately constructive reactions, partial blocking, rejection and later acceptance, and rejection and escape, among others. By this method, the patient is shielded from the full implication of his own verbal communications. The voice sounds different. One’s own voice is heard ordinarily as a synthesis of air and tissue conduction. Defense against hearing what one does not wish to hear is organized against the synthesis of tissue and air conduction. In psychic driving, tissue conduction is eliminated and thus there is a new situation against which defenses have not been organized. This breakdown in the shielding occasioned by elimination of tissue conduction is one of the basic reasons why driving is effective in penetrating defenses and in enlarging the area of the patient’s communication, both to himself and to others. The patient is able to understand more of his communication when it is driven than when he hears it for the first time because of the differences in talking and listening. As the driving circuit is played back repeatedly, both patient and therapist hear more and react more extensively.

“Driving (driven material) is verbalization of a part of a community of action tendencies, with reference, for example, to the relationship to the mother, to self-assertion, or to sexual experiences. The reheard verbalizations constitute a cue which will set the particular community of action tendencies into operation, and not any others. In ordinary therapy the patient tends to move away from a painful area; in psychic driving he is unable to do so. The endless repetition confines him to a continuous reactivation of the particular community of concepts.

“There are continuing effects of psychic driving. Striking continuously at a given community of action tendencies produces intensification of the individual’s behavior. He becomes tense or anxious and this provides the persistent driving force of the implant. Efforts at freeing himself from this intensification cause continuous reactivation of the area concerned and thus further recoganization of the area is brought about. Psychic driving invariably produces responses which tend ultimately to be therapeutic.”

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