People come to therapy because their life is not working in some way for them. One way a psychotherapist can approach the healing process with their client is to use past-life regression therapy. To regress means to go back in time. Whether you are aware or not, you have regressed yourself many times by simply listening to an old song and recalling how you felt is called regression. The conscious part of the mind is not asleep when a client decides to undergo past-life regression therapy. The conscious mind is our reasoning abilities. The subconscious consists of the preconscious and unconscious mind and this part of the mind tends to accept and store information as the absolute truth. The subconscious mind is not logical, rational or critical. The subconscious is automatic and will do what it was programmed to do. Therapy is designed to help the client make the changes that he/she wants to make. One way to facilitate this desired change is through regression. It’s by no means the only path to take for self-change. The therapist’s role is to help the client integrate their experiences and to develop self-awareness to promote well-being using therapy modalities such as but not limited to psychodynamic and transpersonal psychology. All change is based on it being beneficial and acceptable to the client; the client then can be freed from previous negative programming.
Past Life Regression
Sometimes clients contact me for a type of hypnotherapy called past life regression. Many people have read Brian Weiss’ books on past lives and they want to experience or know their past lives. I must establish rapport before I will use this type of therapy which means I will not see you for your first appointment and do regression work with you so you can “know your past lives.” Dr. Weiss’ does have a CD where you can experience this type of hypnosis in the privacy of your own home http://www.brianweiss.com/cdinfo.html. This is not something that is done to you by a therapist. ALL HYPNOSIS IS SELF-HYPNOSIS which is why some people can be hypnotized and others cannot be hypnotized. Several factors such as rapport with the therapist, motivation, environment and fear can keep a client from experiencing hypnosis.
Past-Life regression is not a reading. A reading is where someone tells you your past lives. Past-life regression therapy is hypnosis under the guidance of a trained psychotherapist. Hypnosis is a tool; it is not the cure. The cure occurs when the client re-experiences the feelings and comes to a place within themselves where it makes sense and they can then have new awareness about themselves and others. The client relates the past-life regression experience back to their present life and draws new connections that are healing. Clients may experience intense emotions. It’s important to remember that these experiences and/or images can be fantasies, real, a combination of real and fantasy, or distorted memories. “The primary aim of past life therapy is to help the individual to live a more integrated life style, to live in the here and now, to realize her/his connectedness to the universe, and to participate in the creative process that gives meaning to each moment of awareness.” (Brian L. Weiss, M.D. and Carole K. Weiss, MSW, CHt Past-Life Therapy Professional Training Manual.)
Hypnosis and the Movies
Many people’s experiences with hypnosis are from the movies or a stage demonstration by a hypnotist where the individual appears to act in a way that would be contrary to their normal behavior. Listed are some common misconceptions about hypnosis.
- Myth #1: I am asleep during hypnosis. The client is fully aware of their responses and can remember everything that occurs in the session. Hypnosis and sleeping are two different things.
- Myth #2: I am under the control of the hypnotist and will say and do things I ordinarily would not say or do. The client is ALWAYS in control. The client at will can refuse a suggestion, break the hypnotic trance, or do the opposite of what is suggested. The client’s conscious mind is always there observing the process.
- Myth #3: I will say the “truth” while under hypnosis. A client can reveal as much or as little as they want to the hypnotist, even lie if they desire to do so. Our memories are not stored like images on a video tape, but are stored on the bases of our perceptions and emotions which are subject to distortion. The client is reporting these memories which may or may not be accurate.
- Myth #4: Hypnosis can harm me. “Through its ability to increase people’s feelings of self-control and, thus, their self-confidence, hypnosis can be a powerful means for resolving emotional problems and enhancing emotional well-being. It is essential that the clinician have enough knowledge and skill to use it toward that end, for it is evident that anything that has the ability to help has an ability to harm.In terms of potential emotional harm, it is not hypnosis itself that may cause damage; difficulties may arise due to either the content of a session or the clinician’s inability to effectively guide the client. The same conditions exist, of course, in any helping relationship where one person is in distress, vulnerable, and seeking relief. An inexperienced or uneducated helper may inadvertently (rarely, if ever, is it intentional) offer poor advice, state misinformation as fact, make grandiose promises, misdiagnose a problem or its dynamics, or do nothing at all and simply waste the client’s time and money.” (Michael D. Yapko, Ph.D. Essentials of Hypnosis).
- Myth #5: I can’t relax so this type of therapy will not work for me. Hypnosis is concentrated attention. A client can be in a deep trance and suspend their anxiety while they focus their attention elsewhere.
- Myth #6: I can get “stuck” in the hypnosis. At any time, the client can terminate the trance state by simply opening their eyes.