Myths & MisinformationMyths and Misinformation
William Newton Thetford
and the
Central Intelligence Agency

by William W. Whitson, Ph.D. ,
Co-Scribe of
A Course in Miracles

In the summer of 1965 psychologists Drs. William Thetford and Helen Schucman, tenured members of the teaching staff at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, began to scribe A Course in Miracles.

Myths and Misinformation is the story of the process by which Dr. Thetford arrived at that juncture. It begins with his early interest in psychology and his acquisition of a Ph.D. in that field from the University of Chicago.

Next it describes his professional career, including his job as a senior psychologist with the Central Intelligence Agency from 1950 to 1953 and his work with Dr. John Gittinger at CIA to develop the Personality Assessment System (PAS).

Thetford so respected the intellectual and behavioral forecasting potential of the PAS that, from 1953 to 1965, he received Columbia University grants to help refine the PAS and use it to explore the broad field of personality development.

Despite his intellectual fascination with the PAS, by 1965 Dr. Thetford was acutely aware of inherent limitations of psychology to explain human behavior. In that awareness Bill one day exclaimed to Helen, "There must be a better way." When the scribing of A Course in Miracles began in that year, he and Helen Schucman shifted their interest and energies from the analysis of ego development (PAS) to search for the nature of this other way.

That's when their lives profoundly changed focus, guided by A Course in Miracles.

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