Reviewed by Rabia L. Clark, M.A.
(as included in the The Journal of Regression Therapy Volume V, No. 1, Fall 1991)
Hans Ten Dam has written an exhaustive study about reincarnation, its history in various religions, Theosophical and Anthroposophical views, and karmic laws. There is quite a bit about both spontaneous and therapeutic recall of past lives, pre-birth memories and after death experiences. The last part of the book describes counseling techniques for past-life regressions, and effects and techniques of past-life therapy.
The author is honest about his biases, and he has a lot of them. He has read widely in the reincarnation literature, and attempts to present a broad scope of that material. There is a glossary of terms, an excellent and lengthy bibliography of books both in English and other languages on reincarnation (though arranged strangely, as if some parts were an afterthought), and a good index.
The book has been translated into English from the original Dutch, and I found no problems with that, unlike Ten Dam’s earlier book, Regression and Past-Life Therapy Without Hypnosis (self-published, 1989). The first book was very difficult to understand because of translation problems, and needs a revision of its glossary and index. That book did detail many unique and interesting techniques for past-life therapy, and includes a number of past-life therapy sessions verbatim, to illustrate techniques. (I believe it costs $30, from Hans Ten Dam, Ten Dam International B.V., Fransen van de Puttelaan 36, 3703 EH Zeist, Holland.)
If I were asked which book would be more informative about past-life therapy techniques, I’d pick Regression and Past-Life Therapy, instead of the Exploring Reincarnation book. The new book is more useful for the lay person who is interested in a comparative and thorough study of worldwide reincarnation beliefs. It is also difficult and tedious to read, with too much detail and too many opinions.
Ten Dam has extensive experience teaching and presenting past-life therapy in both Holland and Brazil. He is a management consultant and writer, and trains psychotherapists to do past-life therapy. Some of Ten Dam’s students have founded the Foundation Reincarnation Therapy Netherlands, which gives a two-year training program in past-life therapy.
Some of the techniques he describes in the Regression and Past-Life Therapy book are unique and deserve further exposure. (That book is one of the first on a wide range of past-life therapy techniques.) A few of these techniques are discussed in Exploring Reincarnation, such as: the Cristos experiment, techniques for triggering off past lives, working with phobias, progressive relaxation methods, problems in working with spirit guides, anchoring, and elaboration techniques. Although the past-life therapy part of the book is not extensive, it is well done.
Ten Dam does use a lot of unfamiliar terms (traumas, hangovers, pseudo-obsessions, postulates, for example) in both books, which seems to be a useful attempt to categorize inner states. A hangover, he says, is a repercussion of emotions from a past life upon the present one. Once these emotions are relived, the subtle message (“Everything is dangerous, I’m not safe”) which has been haunting the present is released (p.343 ff.) These terms make reading difficult, but so does the vocabulary of other psychological schools.
Neither of these books is a “coffee table” display book. They are for serious study by people willing to find new approaches for their work in past-life therapy, or to extend their understanding about reincarnation. The techniques would undoubtedly be best learned by experience, with the books as reinforcement. It is hoped that Ten Dam will continue to provide APRT conference attendees with training seminars. Week-long training sessions with him would be a valuable addition to our work.
NOTE: A new revised and enlarged edition was published in 2013. You can look at it here.