by Thelma B. Freedman, M.A.
The question has been asked, is past-life therapy primarily a clinical or a spiritual experience? Before this can be discussed, some definition of the word “spiritual” must be established. My Webster’s gives three relevant definitions: 1) of the spirit or soul; 2) of, or consisting of, spirit; not corporeal; and, 3) religious; sacred. As for the word “spirit” itself, one definition is “a supernatural being, as a ghost, angel, etc.” None of these definitions is very satisfactory, because there are words in them that could stand some defining, too; but I’ll use them as general guidelines. As for the word “clinical,” Webster’s is quite medical in its definition; I’ll use the broader and more common idea of treatment and help for people with problems either physical or psychological.
The most important point, to me, is that these definitions of spirit and spiritual all lean heavily on the non-corporeal, supernatural aspects of spirit and things spiritual. Some of us in the past-life therapy field tend to speak as if we knew that the past lives our clients report are true reincarnation memories. We give lip service to the fact that we don’t really know what they are, and often stress that what we or our clients believe about them doesn’t seem to matter as far as therapy is concerned. But these kinds of statements seem to have become almost rote disclaimers. We make them and then proceed as if we were sure the reports are real.