Past life regression (PLR) is a holistic form of therapy that has been around in popular culture since the early 1900’s. Practitioners use various techniques to recover the subject’s memories and help them escape their present fears. These meditative techniques are used to take their subjects back in time, and have been effectively used to improve the quality of their lives. The sole objective of PLR is to eliminate present-day fears, phobias, physical ailments and make a soul connection to ones life lessons. This is accomplished by discovering the subject’s roots in their previous lives. PLR therapists make it their mission to bring people through deep transformative experiences with compassion and create an atmosphere that is safe and contained. There has been a lack of understanding between both the psychic and spirit dimensions of the human experience. Many practitioners have published books on this subject to enlighten and educate their audience on PLR. However, few approach this therapy with both psychological and spiritual principles. One of the exceptions to the rule is Dr. Roger Woolger, PhD. He is a Jungian analyst, whose therapy includes unresolved issues. Initially he failed to see what possible relevance past lives could have in resolving their current conflicts and issues until he delved into the process of Past Life Regression. He believed that dealing with the patient’s memory is the least difficult part of the regression process, rather guiding the traumatic experience and wound to their soul is what matters. The end result: resolution and healing. The world of PLR is both fascinating and enlightening however, many don’t understand or believe in it. The real challenge has been to educate people about PLR and its benefits to all those who embark on the journey who look into their past and truly want to change their present life.
Origins of Past Life Regression
The origins of PLR are rooted towards the theory of reincarnation. The concept of regression dates back to Patanjali’s Yoga Darshan, which was written around the 4th century BC. Patanjali is the compiler of the Yoga Sutras, an important collection of definitions on the Yoga practice. The Hindus believe that yoga is the way to achieving inner contemplation whereby the subject practices meditation and ethics.
Patanjali, the ancient Indian Yoga philosopher, wrote about the soul (chitta) being burdened with the accumulation of impressions (samskara) of karmas from previous existence. A true advocate he practiced yoga meditation for the sole purpose of alleviating the soul from burdens.
In the Indian culture, the Buddhist concept of Nirvana works along the same principles. There are many states of suffering. Buddhists believe to be free from suffering involves blowing out of the fires of greed, hatred, and delusion.
Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky was born in 1831. She was a Russia-born Mystic and one of the cofounders of the Theosophical Society in September 1875, with Henry Steel Olcott, William Quan Judge and many others. Theosophy is defined as various forms of philosophical or religious thoughts claiming a mystical insight into the divine nature and natural phenomena. A world traveler, she decided to settle down and studied for two years in Tibet with ascetics. It was there she was initiated for theosophical work. Her particular brand of theosophy was responsible for introducing the idea of reincarnation to the Western world.
Allan Kardec’s groundbreaking book was inspirational. His work pre-dates Blavatsy’s, and he was the author of The Book of the Spirits (1857). He had a brush with past lives. Spiritism was the French branch of spiritualism in the 19th century. Kardec wrote about “spirits” who spoke through mesmerized patients about reincarnation and karma.
Past life regression therapy has been developed since the 1950s by psychologists, psychiatrists and mediums from the US, UK and Australia.
One of the first people to use regression as a therapy was probably Dr. Denys Kelsey. He is a clinical psychologist who has focused on the use of information from previous lives to help resolve problems in this life. Kelsey’s book Many Lifetimes (1967) is the first book on PLT, which focuses more on the therapeutic aspect of the technique than on stories of relived experiences. The book was co-authored with his wife Joan Grant, in which she explained how she remembered her own and others’ past lives. Chapters alternate between the pairs experiences: Denys’ medical background along with Joan’s natural ability of “far memory”, applies to many practical matters applicable to everyone’s daily living: parenting; relationships/marriage; death and the dying process; birth; intra-uterine life; illness/surgery/anesthesia; ghosts; proper development of the five senses; psychotherapy and reincarnation. The book sparked many debates about having a predominantly spiritual attitude as opposed to having a scientific/clinical attitude towards the medium of past life regression.
Therapeutic Approach to Past Life Therapy
The techniques used in past life regression (PLR) journey into one’s past lives while under a hypnotic state. Not every patient recalls past lives, and some experience false memories meaning that they recollect an event that has never happened, or is a distortion of what really happened. In reality the memories are from experiences in this life, or from their imagination.
PLR therapy is considered a part of the New Age movement and is specifically geared toward personal growth or healing. This type of therapy encourages people to remember about the way they lived in earlier centuries. The subject is encouraged to go forward in time and glimpse into their future. A truly liberating facet of PLR is hypnosis. Hypnotherapy opens a window to the unconscious mind, and is the true place where memories of past lives are stored. It is not known exactly how memories of past lives get into the unconscious mind of a person. Many PLR therapists believe in reincarnation, and they seek to uncover the unconscious mind’s collection of memories of past lives.
Many subjects think it’s all about trying remember past events. In fact, the harder we try to remember the more difficult it is. What is most important is to allow the process of letting it happen. Skilled regression therapists help the patient’s memories flow forth naturally and easily. Certain events are then reviewed after the regression and their authenticity is determined. Any actions or verifications are called for and can be carefully considered after the session. Trying to judge what is happening in a regression invokes the conscious rational mind the memories become blocked and the process will slow down or end.
There have been many pioneers in the field of PLR who have truly made a difference. Robert Baker, was a reknowned psychologist who received his doctorate in psychology from Stanford University. He demonstrated that belief in reincarnation is the greatest predictor of whether a subject would have a past-life memory while under past life regression hypnotherapy. His methods were suggestive and based on his subject’s expectations and their beliefs rooted in past-life regressive techniques. He arrived at the conclusion that if the subject truly believed in PLR they were more likely to uncover and remember their past lives than those who did not believe in the medium.
At present one of PLR’s leading advocates is Brian L. Weiss, M.D., a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School and Chairman Emeritus of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami. Brian is a psychiatrist whose research includes reincarnation, past life regression, future-life progression and survival of the human soul after death.
In 1980 he treated a patient named Catherine who began discussing past life experiences under hypnosis. He confirmed elements of Catherine’s past-life stories through research into public records, and was convinced of the survival of an element of the human personality after death. The turning point in his career and his practice’s evolution began when he truly embraced the belief that reincarnation existed. At present, he has regressed more than 4,000 people. There are many therapeutic benefits of hypnotic regression. Brian believes that many present-life phobias and ailments are rooted in past-life experiences. It is only when the patient acknowledges this that they can have a healing effect on their present-life condition. The benefits from his patients have ranged anywhere from the dissolution of pain, tension and chronic holding patterns, discovering emotional blocks and how to deal with them, transforming limiting beliefs and the experiencing the ultimate experience: healing.
Conclusive evidence has proven over time that PLR has the ability to change the subject’s life. Through a combination of deep relaxation and hypnotic techniques the door to your memory is opened. PLR practitioners are able to view as objective observers the events of the past that have contributed to the present–day situation. Memories held in the subconscious mind, body and the soul become accessible and can be explored through deep hypnotherapy resulting in a far better quality of life for all who enter the amazing world of Past Life Regression. You owe it to yourself to discover the broader picture and integrate this new awareness into your life today.