In late summer of 1977 a concerned philanthropist determined to use some of his profits to mitigate the suffering he saw all around him in the lives of his friends and employees. He had been an avid student of hypnosis and was convinced that this could be used as a tool for therapy. He contacted the Parapsychology Association of Riverside and gave it over a quarter of a million dollar grant to design and administer a research project based on the hypothesis that the mind is capable of healing the body of illnesses.
Two criteria were established. Every participant had to have a physical symptom, and hypnosis was to be used as the method for achieving results. He also stipulated that the number of sessions were to be held at a minimum. He first requested that they be limited to three or four, but this was challenged by the researchers and in a few cases the number of sessions reached 20. The average was about seven weekly sessions.
The Association incorporated in order to qualify for the grant and a permanent committee of three was appointed to design and administer the project. Two years later the committee was increased to five. No advertising was done. The association had a membership of around 400, and announcements were made at meetings. In the first months the project had a waiting list of subjects, but as these were assimilated into the program, the success of participants spread in the community, and volunteers came from all walks of life and of all ages.