What is past life regression therapy?

Ever thought you might have had a previous life? Well, how would you feel about discovering your past?

On a recent episode of Would I Lie to You, actor and producer Chizzy Akudolu admitted to undergoing Past Life Regression Therapy (PLRT), where she claims to have discovered that she used to be a medieval Frenchman.

Singer and television host Michele Visage, who was also a guest star on the show, chimed in, saying: ‘I have started to talk to my therapist about [PLRT], but it’s not an easy journey. It’s a very bumpy ride to get to where you are going.’

Past lives and reincarnation are strongly held religious and philosophical concepts that we aren’t about to debate. 

But what is PLRT? And when you’re paying for it, how can you make sure it’s safe and ethical?

So, first of all, what is it?

Unlike regression therapy, which requires us to look back on our formative years and old memories to help us overcome trauma, past life regression assesses our previous lives to resolve any problems we may be facing in this life.

Clinical hypnotherapist, psychotherapist and meditation teacher Jacqueline Carson explains that it is a hypnotherapy technique.

‘Often people will experience a particularly persistent issue in their life which they have not been able to resolve because they cannot determine the root of the problem,’ she explains.  

‘PLRT offers the opportunity to explore whether the problem originated in a previous incarnation.

‘It is a therapeutic and holistic method which can identify where the problem originates from.’

How does it work?

Those who practice past life regression use hypnosis, a natural state of relaxation that we go in and out of ourselves every day.

‘It is just like daydreaming or watching a movie,’ hypnotherapist Rachel Claire Farnsworth tells Metro.co.uk. 

‘The therapist will guide you back to events that are in the subconscious mind from a past life. The aim is to uncover issues that are affecting you in this lifetime so that they can be brought into conscious awareness and then released.

‘I often say to my clients that it doesn’t really matter if the recall of the event or memory is true or not. Your mind has brought it up for you in a way that it wanted you to understand. 

‘It is more about releasing the emotions that come up so that you feel empowered and free from emotional or physical pain in this lifetime.’

What happens during a session?

Jaqueline explains the process:

‘Initially, the hypnotherapist will gather information about your present life and find out more about the issues you are experiencing and hope to resolve.  

‘During this consultation, you may discover recurring patterns of behaviour or habits that are problematic. It is these issues or patterns that are used as a focus in the session.

‘The therapist then relaxes you and induces a hypnotic state to allow you to access your subconscious mind. They will then use various techniques to get you to explore your subconscious, perhaps asking questions or using a timeline to take you back to your subconscious memories.  

‘They will ask you questions during hypnosis and write down your answers so that you can discuss your findings afterwards.

‘You may access memories from this lifetime or from past lifetimes. There is no guarantee that you will experience a past life. If you do, then you may see visualisations or even feel like you are experiencing past events. You may be able to hear and smell that particular event.

‘Subconsciously recalling these events can help you to unlock fears and anxieties stored in the mind/body and can help you make sense of patterns of behaviour, feelings and emotions in this life.  

‘Often things that were unresolved in a past life can be addressed through Past Life Regression in a safe way.’

10 years ago, Jemma Brookes-Nuckowski, a 35-year-old from Nottingham, decided to undergo PLRT.

‘I had had previous spiritual readings and had always been fascinated with past-life therapy, and had often experienced deja-vu and wondered why that was,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

The mum of two had been struggling with fertility for nine years and conceived both her twin boys and her current pregnancy through IVF.

In order for some clarity, Jemma decided to have a go at the therapy and booked herself in for one session.

‘I learned about a few of my past lives. In one of my lives, I discovered I was a woman of importance,’ she says.

‘I saw the year 1574 written on a wall, and the next thing, I visualised myself running down the corridor of a grand old house. 

‘I knew I was female because of my shoes, and I then realised I was also wearing a dress. 

‘I soon became aware I was crying and running away from something that I’d just witnessed in one of the rooms. Something inside of me knew that I’d just lost a child.’

When she woke from the memory, Jemma researched the information she had been shown and found that her past life memories seemed very similar to the life of Anne of Denmark.

‘I’d never heard of her previously, but she lost her daughter Mary at around 18 months old. And I found myself connecting with her in many ways. It was surreal,’ she adds.

Entrepreneur and personal development expert Justin Gasparovic also experienced revelations after undergoing PLRT.

‘During the process, I found myself in what felt like the body of a soldier on a battlefield during the civil war,’ he explains.

‘I identified myself as a soldier during the American Civil War by recognising the historical context of the scenario, the uniform and weapons used, and the emotions and feelings experienced.

‘I could sense feelings of anger and frustration, as well as feelings of resignation. As I allowed myself to explore the scenario further, I realised that the soldier was me, and I felt a deep sense of regret for the actions I had taken in the past. 

‘This experience was both powerful and emotionally moving and has shifted my perspectives on the concept of past life regression.’

Justin says that the experience has helped him to gain a deeper understanding of his own emotions and behaviours, ultimately allowing him to work on his unresolved issues and trauma.

Typical outcomes

Many things can stop us from achieving our full potential in this lifetime and some of these issues might stem from a past life, according to Rachel.

‘Whether we are focusing on a current lifetime or a past one, it isn’t the event that affects us so much as the emotions we attach to that event,’ she says.

So by undergoing this therapy and releasing the emotions, clients should feel indifferent to the event, more empowered and free.

Rachel believes that PLRT would benefit anyone who has the desire to get to know themselves better and has a curiosity to look into their previous lives. 

But people should be aware that there are no guarantees that you will be able to connect with a past life, and there is no way of knowing whether you will or not prior to undergoing the therapy, warns Jaqueline.

‘For those that do experience a past life or even a stored memory from this lifetime, the outcomes can be very good as you will have insight into your behaviour and can then use that information to understand yourself better and make the changes needed,’ Jaqueline explains.

‘PLRT can be used to explain relationship choices. It can help to identify the root cause of a fear or phobia or even addictive behaviours.’

She says it works best with people who are open and want to resolve their issues. 

Adding that: ‘As with any other therapy, if you come to the session with a closed mind or doubtful, then you are unlikely to experience a past life. This is only because your subconscious requires you to let go to fully explore,’ 

Is it safe?

Really, it depends who you ask. A report in the Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine argues that no, it isn’t ethical.

‘Past life regression is based on the reincarnation hypothesis, but this hypothesis is not supported by evidence, and in fact, it faces some insurmountable conceptual problems,’ writes author Gabriel Andrade, from Xavier University School of Medicine, Aruba.

‘If patients are not fully informed about these problems, they cannot provide an informed consent, and hence, the principle of autonomy is violated.’

‘Second, past life regression therapy has the great risk of implanting false memories in patients, and thus, causing significant harm.’

However, other firmly disagree.

‘PLRT is perfectly safe,’ says Jaqueline. ‘All hypnotherapy is done with the complete consent and agreement of the individual. The hypnotherapist cannot control your mind or see into your mind in any way.  

‘Your subconscious will only reveal to you what it wants to, and that depends on how open you are.

‘Although you may experience a past life, the focus is always on healing and repairing.’

You can also stop a session at any time.

It is generally advised that therapists following PLRT should guide a person through a session rather than leading it with suggestive questions.

And if you’re on the fence about PLRT, it’s worth chatting with a regular, accredited therapist first about any impact it may have on you.

A word of warning

‘I won’t work with clients who have been diagnosed with a psychotic illness because their sense of reality can be impaired,’ says Rachel. ‘Also, being relaxed may trigger epilepsy if the client already suffers from it, so I won’t work with either of these conditions without a doctor’s consent.’

If you want to undertake PLRT, always make sure you go to a registered clinical hypnotherapist who is qualified in PLRT.

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