Past Life Regression: Is It Real? Can It Help?

The concept of reincarnation may provide insight into several aspects of human character and psychology that are not adequately explained by current theories. Past life regression (PLR) is a hypnotic journey into the past that takes place while the person is under hypnosis. Reincarnation & Biology: A Contribution to the Aetiology of Birthmarks & Birth Defects, written by the late Professor Ian Stevenson, has become a para science masterpiece with a global readership. There has been a growing interest in PLR as a result of this. Idle speculation, cultural development, manipulation, self-deception, and mysterious explanations apart from reincarnation have all been proposed as alternatives to reincarnation.

The divide between practitioners and researchers is widening, as is the gap between research evidence and clinical results. When it comes to the effectiveness of complementary therapies, medical practitioners are frequently consulted, and they need to be well-informed about the pros and cons of these treatments. Professionals in psychology and neuroscience must be aware of the risks associated with the use of dubious mental health techniques while also being open to their potential. It would be more advantageous to them to give closer attention to analysis in PLR rather than dismiss it entirely.

Memories From The Past

PLR proponents who use Stevenson’s works tend to overlook the fact that he never claimed to have proven the occurrence of reincarnation. He just recognized and published evidence that appeared to support the possibility of it occurring. Only if reincarnation is factually proven to exist does PLR have indisputable value. The scientific data offered by Stevenson supports a suspension of disbelief in the possibility – though unlikely – of reincarnation, but the proof supporting it is not based on PLR. If reincarnation occurs, it is merely one manifestation of surviving after physical extinction, and it opens the door to other forms of existence as well.

The concept of reincarnation is not incompatible with early Christian beliefs. When it comes to the many types of scientific data supporting reincarnation, Stevenson believes that spontaneous declarations by young children concerning prior life have the most credibility. It’s worth noting that these children seemed to recall their memories of their own volition. The information they provide appears to be accurate, and it is simple to verify whether any dubious communication channels have been used to target young individuals. Stevenson was not a fervent supporter of PLR.

He demonstrates his skepticism by pointing out that if all of the hypnotically traumatized patients’ memories of being present during Christ’s Crucifixion were real; there would’ve been no place for Roman soldiers to be standing on Golgotha. Many PLR studies, by their very nature, lack the scientific rigor of Stevenson’s study. Opening the box containing an individual’s prior existence is not necessarily advantageous to them; memories remembered might proliferate when moved into the conscious mind, and that they might never be erased. However, from a therapeutic standpoint, investigating the therapy’s alleged negative consequences could be just as helpful as assessing its advantages.

Trans-Century Cases

Children who have reincarnation-type insights recall a prior existence that ended barely a few years before their birth in their impulsive experiences (the average period is two years). In hypnotic PLR, on the other hand, the time between the death of the preceding individual and the birth of the living person can be a century or more. There are a few notable examples. Edward Ryall of Essex recalled a prior life in the seventeenth century in Somerset. Ryall’s allegations that he had previous life recollections are given some credibility by Stevenson. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, A.J. Stewart had a past life as King James IV of Scotland. She never gave her royal memories to reincarnation investigators but began publishing them herself.

In light of the prominence of her alleged prior character, it would’ve been reasonable for her to investigate her experiences. These two occurrences were not the result of PLR but rather natural reminiscences of the former life. It is plausible to assume that earlier life memories do not immediately or intuitively surface in the conscious mind in cases that span generations and that they become apparent in a hypnotic condition. The seeming obstruction of the constant flow of previous life memories, which is significantly different from the perspective of children recalling recent past lives, can be explained by the time lag.

There are two basic critiques that might be leveled regarding PLR cases that disclose trans-century situations. One is financial: therapists bill their customers by the hour, and exploring centuries rather than years considerably extends the amount of time a patient must be treated, making therapy more profitable for the practitioner. Second, in trans-century cases, both the therapist and the patient are normally free to hypothesize without fear of being refuted by the facts — no one generally bothers to check the veracity of the detail.

Observations About Past Life Regression

PLR efficiently fills in the spaces with imagination, as hypnotherapists are well aware that the mind may produce extraordinary results at specific moments. Unintentionally, the hypnotherapist or others in the room may communicate indications to what the hypnotherapist is anticipating to hear before and during the hypnotic procedure. Significantly the therapist, as well as the subject, may be completely unaware of the nature of these indications. If the therapist has strong personal beliefs about reincarnation, the connection of apparent memories to a posited prior existence is likely to be intensified. Experiments have shown how easily a hypnotherapist may change the qualities of a fictitious former personality, corroborating their own suggestions.

According to Stevenson, real-life memories may require a vehicle to enter the conscious mind, and the mind, with its vast array of abilities, develops a fictitious former existence to facilitate the delivery of real memories. Such a procedure may be linked to a dream process to some level. A few memories from a prior life that have become dissociated in some way may be drawn to a fake former existence manufactured by the mind. The result is a narrated account of a prior existence that appears to be cohesive. As previously said, Stevenson compares the process to that of producing a historical novel that combines fiction and fact. Stevenson determined that hypnotic regression to presumed earlier lives rarely elicits any evidence of true recollections after watching the unrealistic assumptions made on behalf of hypnosis.

The majority of hypnosis-induced ‘past personas’ are fantasies, the causes of which can occasionally be recognized. PLR is most useful for recovering more comprehensive factual memories in spontaneous recall situations. The ego is inflated, and a sense of elitism develops when the subject recalls a prior life in which he or she was a prominent figure. The behavior of participants undergoing hypnotic regression resembles that of patients with dual personalities in several ways.

Past Life Regression Research In The Future

The goal of PLR research should be to prove the credibility of the reminiscence while under regressive hypnosis, as well as to assess the therapeutic effects of PLR. In terms of research, hypnotic life regression tests should be repeated and expanded to include more young volunteers, such as nine or ten-year-old children. If children of this age have true former life memories, they may be closer to their conscious awareness than adult participants’ memories, making them easier to evoke.

PLR has the advantage of being able to track unintentional information transfer between living things. There is a greater likelihood of fake prior life situations in adult participants who have had more life experience involving a variety of different sources of information. In some cases of PLR, the client expresses feelings that are consistent with the alleged previous life memories they are attempting to recall. Cases of mood-congruent recalling of past life events, as well as instances of reactive xenoglossy, in which a person can maintain a two-way communication in a foreign language they do not cognitively speak, are both deserving of further scientific investigation.

Where the source of a prior existence is unknown, some of the ingredients could be historical data gleaned by the subject via reading, listening to the radio, or watching television. Some of them may even be gained in a non-traditional manner through extrasensory perception. In such circumstances, the patient may be unable to recall the source of knowledge, but the source may be recalled during subsequent sessions in which hypnosis is used to explore the sources of information that make up the ‘previous personality.’

Studies to see if the existence of past life visuals might help with psychological issues like anxieties, phobias, and other compulsive behaviors are also needed, given that children in Stevenson’s study group claimed to have carried over such memories and behaviors from prior incarnations. Patients gain better when this technique is focused on treating specific ailments rather than striving to reach general psychological well-being. The degree of trance, rather than a preexisting belief in reincarnation, is important for greater recollection in past life regressive hypnosis, and yet the person ventilates less when in a state of trance, a discovery that has yet to be completely investigated. Future PLR researchers may give attention to these topics that have been under-researched.

Final Analysis

PLR techniques, despite their drawbacks, may be valuable in acquiring a better knowledge of the mind, which is still a mystery. Experimentation on PLR’s potential therapeutic advantages is long overdue. PLR has obvious psychological worth, and more careful consideration of this activity is warranted, especially in view of its ability to alleviate hurt and distress in people who experience it. PLR necessitates the use of advanced treatment methods. It is a threat in the hands of novice therapists. These are akin to surgeons who practiced before contemporary knowledge of anatomy and physiology and who worked without the understanding of the human form or sterile methods.

Misuse and misinterpretation of PLR therapy is a distinct possibility. This type of hypnotherapy necessitates thorough observation and adherence to a strong code of ethics. The process of stage hypnotic life regression includes endemic flaws, and it needs to be reviewed more extensively and protected from obscurantism. PLR assumes a belief in reincarnation in some sort. The bodily marks, according to Stevenson, provide significant evidence. Today’s PLR therapists frequently base their treatments on Stevenson’s scientific investigations. Many critics of Stevenson’s study thought him to be the modern-day Galileo.

Reference Links

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1022942202784
https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1986-28850-001
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00029157.1983.10404150
https://outlanderpastlives.com/past-life-regression/
https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1991-98296-000
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/1053810092900418
http://alessio51highstreetbook.s3.amazonaws.com/page/699/A%20Skeptics%20Handbook%20Of%20Parapsychology%20By%20Paul%20Kurtz.pdf
https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1979-21518-000
https://www.jstor.org/stable/639951?seq=1
https://www.bmj.com/content/334/7595/700.extract

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