Do I Know You?
experiences hav a significant potential for health and healing. Daneeta Loretta Saft regresses - and feels better
through a forest
I'm dressed in a long skirt and I keep tripping
I have long, curly, hair the color of autumn
leaves someone is chasing me I see a horse,
run to it, jump on and start riding as fast as
something hits me in the back and I fall off the
horse I hit my head and there's blood
pouring out of my nose
I'm choking on it suddenly there's a man
above me his knees are pressing into my
chest making it more difficult
for me to breathe he's yelling something at
me in a language I don't understand he
slaps me in the face, and
yells at me again like I'm supposed to answer
then he puts his hands around my throat and
squeezes I can't
breathe I'm choking I pass out.
This isn't a dream. This really happened to me - in Italy, 200 years ago, in a past life.
OK, before you fall off your chair laughing, I should tell you that my goal is NOT to
convince you that you were here before. You have to go that one alone. What I do want to
discuss, this being a column about health, is how past life regression can be used
therapeutically - as a vehicle for healing.
"The goal of any therapy is to release fear and get us to a point of healing,"
says Kevin Turner, a Tokyo psychotherapist who also does past life regression. Lisa
Mowrey, another Tokyo psychotherapist with past life regression experience, says "It
doesn't matter if you believe or not. It's the dynamic between the therapist and the
patient that leads to healing."
Both Turner and Mowrey say that they only do past life regression therapy at the client's
request. Says Mowrey: "I don't use it as a technique with every client because it can
serve as an avoidance of present problems. Having said that, if the root cause of the
psychological problem cannot be found in this life, it is useful to explore past
Past life regression therapy certainly falls under the category of alternative treatments;
however, it is slowly becoming more of an accepted healing method. The practice is similar
to traditional regression therapy in that the therapist regresses the client back to an
emotionally disturbing event. The difference is that the event has taken place in a past
life. The client then relives the event under hypnosis. A major part of the healing
process happens when the therapist helps the client to transform her pain and then let it
go. This entire process is no cakewalk since the client is actually experiencing the event
again with all of the trauma associated with it.
Here's how it works. First, the therapist puts you into a deep state of relaxation.
"All it is, is an altered state," says Mowrey. "But let me be clear: most
of us are in altered states most of the time. Have you ever totally shut down on the
train? That's an altered state." The therapist acts as a guide through the four
states of regression.
The first is identification: "Hey, I'm a 12-year-old slave boy in ancient
The next step is to recognize important events that are carried into this life from your
previous ones. Turner calls this psychic residue. "Oh my God, I am helping to build
the pyramids and the guards have just beaten my father to death and I have to keep working
or they are going to beat me to death."
Step three is to re-experience or re-live the traumatic event or events. The fourth step
is transformation. This is where a trained psychotherapist is vital. Turner says that any
Tom, Dick or Sally can regress someone back to a past life. But only a trained
psychotherapist can help someone to process the information and transform it into a
healing experience. Dr. Roger Woolger, author of "Other Lives, Other Selves,"
writes that traumatic events "reenacted cathartically can lead to substantial relief
and often to rapid recovery."
Mowrey warns about expectations, however. She says that reading books about past life
regressions can set us up for disappointment as they tend to focus on the most cathartic
of releases and the most dramatic healing - it's what sells books. "Don't
underestimate the importance of the small stuff. You don't have to be kicking and
screaming on the couch to transform the experience into a healing one.
Recognition of what?
Well, for one, there's the fact that you probably were not a nice person in some of your
past lives. Who do you think was doing all that raping and pillaging in the Middle Ages?
Talk about major psychic residue. And for some of you egomaniacs out there, there's the
shock that instead of being Caesar, you were his slave. Turner says that in all of his
experience with regressions, he has never met anyone famous. Finally, there's the fact
that you've known the people around you for longer than you think. All of the literature
I've read and the people I've interviewed agree - we reincarnate in groups. That could
explain a lot of angst.
Mowrey believes that there are no coincidences. "When we experience recognition of a
person or a place, we should not take this lightly. It could be past life stuff or not.
But when there is the sense of strong recognition, something is happening on a deeper
level, and we have to deal with it."
Woolger believes that most psychological issues including depression, phobias, guilt
complexes, eating disorders, family struggles, sexual difficulties and abuse, marital
difficulties, chronic physical ailments and others will respond to past life regression
therapy. Processing the experience is the key. In therapy, one processes through
recognizing one's own suffering, and then letting it go.
Past life regression for me was sort of a lark. I did it because one of my friends did it,
and she said it was pretty cool. In my first regression, I relived four past lives where I
died from suffocation, strangulation, emphysema, and crushed lungs in a car accident. Now,
was this just my imagination running wild with fear grown out of childhood asthma? I don't
know, but it seemed to jibe with years of inexplicable panic attacks manifested by
breathing difficulty. What I know is this: Since doing the regression, some pretty freaky
cool stuff has been happening to me. I'd still be embarrassed to walk up to someone and
say, "I feel we are connected on a deeper level, and I'd like to explore that."
But I am learning to be more comfortable with synchronicity and the fact that there are no
Kevin Turner, psychotherapist (03-3478-1137 or email firstname.lastname@example.org). Two-hour sessions are
Lisa Mowrey, psychotherapist (03-3429-4676 or email email@example.com).
Two-hour sessions are JY20,000.
"Other Lives, Other Selves," Roger J. Woolger, Ph.D., Bantam New Age Books
"The Case for Reincarnation," Joe Fisher, Somerville House Paperbacks
"Many Lives, Many Masters," Brian L. Weiss, M.D., Simon and Schuster
"Conversations with God," Neale Donald Walsch, G.P. Putnam & Sons
There were tens of websites on reincarnation. Unfortunately, many of them, except for the
one below, were just a little too new agey for me. Searching Yahoo will turn them up.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead, www.lib.virginia.edu/exhibits/dead
Daneeta Saft is a Tokyo-based writer and health and fitness acolyte. For further info
on this and other health and fitness stuff check out her website at www.healthy-bytes.com