Hypnosis and Past Life Regression

Illustration to represent PLR

Past Life Regression is a ‘phenomenon’ where people go back using hypnosis and claim to visit experiences they had in a previous life. Past Life Regression is sometimes employed as a form of therapy, sometimes as a research tool, and sometimes just for fun or an entertainment of sorts. Many people are skeptical of the concept of Past Life Regression and do not consider it a real hypnotic phenomenon. There are many others, who do believe in it.

Is there any proof of Past Life Regression?

There are plenty of stories and books written about Past Life Regression achieved through hypnosis. People often use facts they learn of during their “regression” to validate and prove their claims. It might sometimes seem as if something pretty spooky happens when you hear about them. Unfortunately, though, every investigated case of apparent Past Life Regression has had far too many flaws in it to be considered as proof, as such. There are one or two on which the jury is still out, as it were, but most of the time it transpires that the regressed individual is reporting nothing that is not already known. Even the cases of supposed archaic languages being spoken have turned out to be unreliable.

Past Life Regression as a therapeutic tool

The important thing to realise, from a therapeutic tool point of view, is that Past Life Regression does not necessarily mean revisiting a former existence in some way. It is not based upon a ‘fact’ that we have lived before and that we will discover some previous incarnation of ourselves, although this usually is the stated belief when Past Life Regression is used for fun or entertainment purposes.

What is often misunderstood about Past Life Regression is that a lot of hypnotherapy practitioners who use it make the point that the therapeutic experience is of a past life or how a past life might have been, not necessarily their client’s past life. The past life that has been accessed, even when it seems to contain something that accounts for the client’s symptom pattern and helps to release them from it, may not necessarily have ever been a reality.

Past lives are almost always dramatic

Most people who experience an apparent past life rarely report being a refuse worker in their past life. They often seem to be Kings or Queens or famous people on a mission. Often, upon further questioning, their imagined past life is usually of someone that they presently admire or would aspire to be like. For instance, someone who has an experience of being a missionary might have always dreamed of doing that in this life.

Whether the past life experience is real or imagined, this kind of therapy can actually be helpful. There are a good few individuals who have been restored to good emotional health after an apparent Past Life Regression has shown them how troubles sustained in a ‘past life’ are responsible for their problems in this one.

A typical example would be an overweight person claiming to have discovered that s/he starved to death during a famine 2000 years ago in Egypt, so has to eat and eat in this life as a sort of compensation. But we must not forget the effect of the belief system and the colossal creative power of the human subconscious. Nor must we forget that we all of us have at some time reacted to something which we have later discovered was not what we thought it was.

We can never be certain

From time to time, almost every working hypnotherapist will experience an apparently spontaneous Past Life Regression event, but given that this is more likely to be with the charismatic evidential personality group (those who are highly imaginative), and given that they are consummate actors, we cannot be certain of what is actually happening.

I had an example of this some years back. A young man, who had exhibited an unusually high capacity to enter the hypnotic state, quite suddenly announced, in a ‘dreamy’ sort of voice: “I think you’ve taken me too far back…” (I had been asking to let his mind drift ‘all the way back… to those childhood years.’) I asked him why he believed that and he said something like: “It’s about 1920… I can see by the clothes that everybody’s wearing…” Mindful of the effects of cryptamnesia and film images, I asked him what he was wearing and what he was doing. With cryptamnesia, there is sometimes an understandable absence of awareness of self – obviously understandable, because the ‘recall’ is about an event or concept that the client was never involved in the first place!

The young man told me that he was giving the milkman’s horse an apple, and then added the ‘clincher’: “… and everything’s in black and white…”

Whether he was acting or whether he really was ‘seeing’ a scene stored from some film/television image I could not be certain. He could have been identifying with the image of a boy feeding the milkman’s horse, for example, when he saw the image in the first place. He could have been experiencing a ‘true’ Past Life Regression. But if I had to put money on it, I would say he was acting. No reason I could quantify, really, just a gut feeling (always trust those gut feelings – they are your subconscious’ communication method). He pretty much confirmed this feeling when I asked him to just tell me the next thing he thought of and the next recall was of a very ordinary memory from when he was eight years old. Had that been a true Past Life Regression, I think he would have stayed in that ‘life’ for at least a little while. Plus, he would have been inclined to show some incredulity that he had recalled it in the first place. It illustrates something of enormous importance in any investigative style of therapy; the therapist should avoid being swept along by what his/her client is recalling or appearing to be recalling.

As to why anybody would act out something in that way, well, some personality types like drama and excitement and they sometimes do things like that, probably to be the center of attention. Or just to please themselves!

Experiencing Past Life Regression yourself

Past Life Regression, whether you believe in it or not, is something that cannot be achieved effectively by the medium of a self hypnosis recording. It would not be ethical to do so either, which is why you won’t find anything for Past Life Regression on SelfHypnosis.com. There may be people out there who do produce such self-hypnosis sessions and that is their choice. However, people’s beliefs about past lives can bring up very deep emotional issues and experiences for them and for this reason it is best handled by a professional hypnotherapist with experience in these matters, even if it is just for your own fun and entertainment.