Helen Schucman, Ph.D.
LINKS: Biography | Curriculum
Vitae | Significant
Dates | Bio
by Ken Wapnick
Interview with Helen | Helen's
Poetry | Helen's Early Years
Helen Cohn Schucman, Ph.D. was born in New York City in the early
1900s. During the Depression years, she was brought up in
a family that enjoyed all the accoutrements of wealth: maid,
cook, and fulltime governess. Dr. Schucman spent most of her
early years with her governess, well insulated from the rest
of the family, consisting of her parents and a brother 14 years
her senior. Although her parents were Jewish, she was encouraged
to sample many faiths and to select for herself her own belief
system. And she did, trying Catholicism, Judaism, Southern Baptist
teachings, atheism and agnosticism before she was an adult, the
latter of which she adhered to in her adult years.
school, Dr. Schucman attended New York University studying
literature, music, and language. It was there that she met Louis
Schucman, a compatible fellow student, who later became her husband.
Louis owned a bookstore and during the early years of their marriage,
Helen worked in it with him but grew increasingly restless about
her own life. Something seemed to be missing from it, and in
her early forties she decided to return to NYU to study psychology.
In 1958 she earned a Ph.D.
held various prestigious positions throughout her life in
the academic world, among them Associate Research Scientist,
Instructor, Chief Psychologist at the Neurological Institute
of the Presbyterian Hospital and Associate Professor of Psychology
at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Until her retirement in 1976, she taught, did research, supervised
clinical work, and collaborated on the writings of articles and
chapters for professional journals and books.
her career, Helen Schucman emphasized the strict disciplines
of research and scholarship and had little tolerance for "soft"
interests like spirituality. In 1958 when she met her longtime
boss and friend, Dr. William N. Thetford, her life was inextricably
Their joining together served as the "trigger" for Helen "to hear an inner Voice dictate" to her. As the reluctant scribe of A Course in Miracles, Dr. Schucman's role as its "writer" was not revealed – as she had requested– until after her death in February, 1981. Following her death, a collection of her poems, The Gifts of God, was published by the Foundation for Inner Peace.