Dr. Winafred Lucas, one of the founders of APRT (now IARRT) has written the definitive textbook for past life therapy (regression therapy).
Dr. Winafred Blake Lucas's book is Regression Therapy, a Handbook for Professionals, Vols. I & II, Deep Forest Press.
PC (Pat Chalfant): Hello, Winafred, this is Pat Chalfant. Is this a good time for the interview.
WL (Winafred Lucas): A perfect time.
PC: I'm not too clear about how the organization started. Hazel said that she had talked to Ron and somehow right after that the organization had been started.
WL: Well, the way it started is that Ron arranged for there to be a weekend conference on past lives at U.C. Irvine and I don't know exactly how he ever got it through, but he did. Then the major people who were interested in it met. I knew they were going to and as I told you, I didn't go to that meeting, but I did go the next day, I guess that was Friday, Then I was there Saturday and Sunday and there were about a hundred people there.
PC: Well, how did they find all these people?
WL: Well, I think they sent out the flyer with U.C. Irvine about a weekend workshop and they let anybody who was interested come and they had some wonderful speakers, some who were fairly established in the field and some paranormal people. Then I joined immediately, I wasn't a charter member, I didn't want to be. I think they had eight charter members, I think Ernest Pecci, and Ron and Hazel and probably Helen Wambaugh, Edith Fiore, and let's see, who else? Probably Hugh Harmon. I'm not sure. He was in it I think quite early.
PC: I understand that Hazel had had an organization already in Riverside.
WL: Well that was a paranormal association and she was very active in that and was president of it and had done a lot of work in the field. Let's see, who was it that worked with Ron. Well, I think it was mostly Hazel but it was Ron who set it up with the university.
PC: Were there meetings at the university after that?
WL: Well, no, the group met, formed the organization, and they elected their officers, Then the next one they had was at San Diego. It was sort of the format that we've had ever since. That twice a year we have a weekend conference. I have all of that data.
PC: Well, did you become the journal editor right away?
WL: No, it was a very disparate group. Probably 90% were psychics who didn't have any professional training, then the rest were like me, people who were licensed and qualified people. The psychic people wanted it open to the world. I very soon said that if it remained that way I wouldn't stay in. Because we didn't have any respect that way, and if you were a past life person, you were a quack.
So I said that we had to make it into a respectable professional group. And we should elect officers who were professionals and anything that we put out should be of professional quality. Well, Hazel agreed with me. She came to our center and got her doctorate. She actually got her doctorate under me. That was through International College. She already had two masters degrees, and was very qualified. But she wanted a doctorate. And she did a very fine dissertation on the problem of guilt in past lives. She had worked on it somewhat doing her masters degree. I think that then we needed a new president and I talked her into Ernest Pecci. He was a very good president. He was very enthusiastic and he's a wonderful, warm person.
Then they were talking about a journal and they asked Irene Hickman. There was a man in Florida who was going to do a book, collect articles on past lives. He asked me for an article but I didn't have time to do that. Well, when this man's publisher backed out of the book deal, Irene got all those really good articles and there were enough for the first volume of a journal. She did all the work herself and didn't charge APRT anything.
Then when I took it over I decided since there were really no articles left that were usable, I decided to have a theme for each of the different volumes, each number of the magazine and I chose a theme for each one. I had two issues on physical healing, one on guilt, one on children, and so forth.
Then I went out to people who knew something about it and I really hammered on them until they gave me articles. That's how I got my articles. I did an enormous amount of editing. I spent about three years of my life on that Journal. Meanwhile, I got Volume One, Number 2, out and I had a lot of trouble with it. A woman who had been a patient of mine at one time said she had a friend who would get it out for us at a reasonable cost, and we sent her a thousand dollars. Then we rushed it, and we insisted she get it done in about two weeks. We didn't realize how hard it was. We couldn't release it at all. So I paid APRT back myself. Then I put that one out again.
At the same time I went through Irene's issue and made corrections, and gave her full credit for the issue and put it out in the same size and paper that we were going to do all the rest in. We chose gray because it is most conservative and for such a subject we thought that would help.
PC: I had great admiration for the Journal when I first joined APRT and read many of those old back issues. I felt the Journal was one of the organization's greatest assets.
WL: So, meanwhile, I helped all I could. For the Journal I got a pretty good editorial staff together. They actually didn't do much work because they had set it up so they had three people who were supposed to read each of the contributions. The truth of the matter was that there just weren't any contributions. And the people who were supposed to read them often didn't know as much as the people who wrote them which was often not very much. We had no selection, there just was nothing. I had quite a time getting contributions and I don't think the issues were that great but they were the best I could do at the time. I think they'll have a much better journal now. I'm looking forward to it. I edited a great deal. I don't think the new editor is going to edit that much. I didn't want anything out under my name that wasn't pretty well written.
Meanwhile APRT (IARRT) started a training program and for a while I was a trainer. I was in favor of training only people who were already licensed as psychologists or psychotherapists, MFCC or social worker or something. They didn't do that at first. Then later they had two tracks, and practically nobody ever finished the course and I don't know why. In Holland they have 200 people working all year for two years and finishing the course. We don't have anything like that. It's really hard to know why.
Bob Bontenbal has a very active group going and they don't require you to be a therapist, in fact, they're not. But in this country unless you have some kind of professional training, you're not very credible. It isn't that hard to get a degree, you know. So, if people really want to charge a lot of money and take people's lives into their hands, they should really know something, in my opinion.
I think the great driving force in the whole organization was Hazel Denning. She's a brilliant, good person, totally unselfish, dedicated and wise and educated and a good professional, just a great lady. And she has made APRT, there's always one person who makes any organization, and in this case, it was Hazel.
PC: Thanks so much, Winafred!
Note: I will interview Dr. Lucas soon about the textbooks she recently published. Dr. Lucas has also been working with her own self-healing powers since her retirement and will, hopefully, share that research with us, as well--Pat Chalfant.