Dick Price co-founded Esalen Institute, opening the Big Sur grounds to course leaders and students in October 1962, including the course leader Alan Watts. Dick Price and Michael Murphy were introduced by Frederic Spiegelberg, a Stanford University professor of comparative religion and Indic studies they both had studied with previously, and they decided to make use of Murphy's family property on the Pacific coast in the Santa Lucia Mountains. Dick Price had undergone an episode of psychosis, and he was committed to a mental hospital for a year and a half until released on Thanksgiving Day of 1957. Price saw in Esalen an alternative to current mental health practice, especially the practices of mental hospitals, a place where inner process could move forward safely and without interruption. Price died in a hiking accident in November, 1985.

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