by Sharon Barbell, B.A., M.M.
This article proposes the use of a technique called the “Integration Process” to help the client to become actively involved in his/her own resolution and healing. It is characterized as a method based upon traditional principles for use when a traditional regression does not completely resolve problems or remove negative barriers hindering one’s present-life situation. It provides interactive and immediate solutions, helping the client to feel independent and capable of reaching his/her goal(s). The process is described step-by-step, so that interested professionals could replicate it.
During my first several years of conducting past-life regressions, it seemed to me that something was lacking in the basic regression technique. While difficult to identify, it seemed to center on the process of transformation, or true healing.
I naturally understood the assimilation process and thought (as most regressionists probably do) when the conscious-unconscious bridge is crossed and understanding takes place, that healing occurs as a direct result. This is often the case. However, there was still something inexplicable missing. Two years ago I developed a process which has had a very positive impact on my regression work.
The term I have coined to label this extra step in the regression process is “The Integration Process.” Its purpose is to take the information given in the regression and immediately use it to the client’s benefit, providing the client with a method s/he can continue to employ well after the regression session to enhance its positive benefits.
The Integration Process clearly incorporates elements of other therapeutic methods, particularly Bradshaw’s Inner Child work and my own version of “Fear Processing.” It is clear that the work I was doing at the time influenced my creativity when devising The Integration Process. But when put together we have a marvelous transformative technique. The four basic elements are Acknowledgement of Spirit, Dialogue, Negotiation, and Integration.
- Acknowledgement of Spirit
Once the full regression has taken place, The Integration Process may begin. No matter how the client experienced the death scene, it is important to lead him/her back to the point at which the spirit leaves the body. If your regression technique, like mine, includes a post mortem period of evaluation and Higher Self consultation, you may choose to insert The Integration Process wherever you feel it will be most beneficial.
Before venturing into any further explanation, let me first say that since every regression is different, each subject’s experience, particularly that of entering into The Integration Process, will be unique. For instance, some subjects will go through the past-life in a somewhat detached way, experiencing the life and times of their former self from the perspective of a third person. This will make it very easy to go through the death and have the subject identify the spirit. They will automatically be as two entities.
If, however, a subject re-experiences the life from the first-person point of view, it is up to the regressionist to make appropriate choices. There are several possibilities. Some regressionists feel that it is necessary for the subject to experience full physical and emotional catharsis. This may include re-living the death scene in its entirety. This does not in any way preclude the individual from being able to accomplish The Integration Process. It simply means that when the regressionist is satisfied with the release or catharsis that has taken place, he/she suggests that the subject take the stance of a detached observer. Then, have them go back to just after the death scene and meet with the spirit.
Why is it necessary for the subject to meet with the spirit of their departed self? There are several reasons. First, much of what we carry forth into future lives has to do with the circumstances surrounding our death. It is the spirit, then, which must deal with the consequences of our passing. Many choices are made at that point and it is those choices which most often have the strongest influence on our future.
Second, when the spirit leaves the body, it is often very emotionally-charged. If there are any negative feelings, it is here that a change can have the most profound effect. We can also get right to the heart of what is lingering and unfinished, so the rest of The Process can diffuse the charge and redirect the flow of energy.
Third, when we talk to the spirit, we are communicating with a level of ourselves which is open, willing, and able to move forward by making any appropriate changes. The spirit, without the hindrance of the ego, is freer to evaluate and make positive choices.
Acknowledging the spirit also allows the subject to accomplish two very important tasks. It creates objectivity, in the sense that detachment often allows one to see clearer. It is not unlike the saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” Taking the position of the observer allows one to see the bigger picture.
This change in perspective can preface the other, seemingly opposite, task. That is, this “coming together” creates an interesting heart-felt bond, almost an arena for the intellect and the emotions to unite. Being face-to-face with this other self really brings home the whole regression effort, making it more real than ever.
This section of The Process is important because it is here that the two aspects of oneself begin to understand each other. Questions get answered and for the first time, we really get to know the former self. It is one thing to remember the events of the past-life, but another to hear the interpretation of those events from the one who experienced them.
Guilt is a destructive, lingering emotion that makes us beat ourselves up from the inside, due to something we feel we should have either done or not done. The spirit benefits from the Dialogue because it finally gets to hear the reassuring words for which it has longed. When the client expresses his/her love and forgiveness, the spirit (or a latent part of the client) can begin to heal.
One of the reasons we have trouble getting through blockages is because of unresolved issues, or as I like to put it, unfinished business. There is energy in thoughts and feelings. Physics has taught us that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transformed. Mental and emotional energy is either negative or positive. If we are harboring negative energy from a past-life, our life today will continue to be effected by that block. We may feel better with the knowledge of a past-life and the understanding that comes with it, but unless the blockage is transformed, the problem, in some way, will persist. As mentioned earlier, sometimes a regression is immediately healing and necessary changes do occur. However, there are times when more work is needed. With the Negotiation step, the client can immediately begin to create healing. This immediacy is generally unheard of within the context of traditional regression techniques.
Negotiation is also empowering. It lets both players make up the rules. It is then up to those players to abide by the very rules they created. This sense of empowerment and independence is what helps the client continue the work on his or her own. Long after the regression is over, the client can still use The Integration Process that he/she executed with the guidance of the regressionist, to maintain health and well-being.
This step puts all the pieces back together again, only this time without the defective part. It gives us permission to live with a new-found freedom and positivity. And because of the Negotiation, that energy has a specific direction and immediate use.
Integration, as mentioned above, can greatly benefit the client by reminding him/her that the ability they now possess is within them. This further empowers the client to be independent, if that is appropriate, and helps take the mystique and the sometimes misinterpreted influence out of the past.
Additional Techniques (Optional)
Depending upon the client and his/her presenting issue, the regressionist may choose to supplement The Integration Process with one of more other therapeutic methods. The addition of these techniques may help solidify the work accomplished during The Process.
As you will see in the following case history, an adjunct method (Anchoring) was used to help my client continue to release her phobia. In instances such as this, behavior modification may also be helpful. Although The Integration Process is often very thorough, each client is unique and anything we can do to facilitate healing must be considered.
A Second Chance
A young woman named Kim is a Ph.D. candidate at a large university in an Eastern city. When she came to see me she was having a great deal of difficulty lecturing in front of an audience. Because her degree program is such that public speaking is essential, Kim’s problem became quite disturbing. The feelings of anxiety and fear which accompanied her speaking attempts were nearly paralyzing.
Having worked with her once before, I knew Kim was acutely self-aware, psychologically stable and a very good candidate for hypnosis and guided meditation. After explaining her problem, Kim added that she felt past-life regression was an important avenue to pursue. And so we begin the story of Ignatius as later told in Kim’s own words.
He was a religious leader of some kind who lived about 100 years after the death of Christ. He was arrested by Romans and forced to publicly renounce his teachings about Christianity. He died in a small church during one of his speeches—killed by one of his former followers.
We found Ignatius initially in a jail cell. He was busy writing letters and would not talk to us. We went back a little bit and found him preaching outside to a large crowd of people. He was happy. Then he was arrested. He was going to be taken back to Rome through what is now Turkey and Greece. He was arrested in the area of Lebanon. On the trip he was told he had to renounce his teachings or the people in his church would be killed. We then leapt ahead to the time of his death, inside a small church right after one of these speeches. A child had killed him with a stone thrown at his head.
The “me” now tried to go over and talk with him. He was sitting on the steps of the altar with his head in his hands, just miserable. He felt he had let everyone down, his church and followers, God. He kept going over and over in his mind what he could have done better and he couldn’t think of what. I told him that I needed his help, that in this lifetime I was having trouble speaking in public and that I needed him to help me with that. Ignatius immediately straightened up, stood up and looked at me with such relief. He was finally able to break free from the cycle of guilt and frustration he had been stuck in. He was given a new purpose: to help me do something that was easy and joyful for him—speaking in public. So you had me squeeze my left hand into a fist and told me that whenever I needed Ignatius, all I had to do was squeeze my left hand and he would be there to help me with my speaking.
So with his regression both Ignatius, a past self, and Kim, my current self, were able to help each other and benefit. I don’t have any trouble speaking in public anymore!
Kim’s experience was very powerful. A typical regression would have left her with the knowledge of what Ignatius’ life and death were like. It would have explained her fear and possibly released some of the latent guilt she felt from having had to make such a horrible choice. However, because we continued and added The Integration Process, Ignatius was, in a sense, given a second chance.
In the Dialogue, Ignatius was finally able to express his true feelings and release the guilt that had plagued him for so long. At first, it took some convincing on Kim’s part to really explain to Ignatius that he indeed had done the best he could given the circumstances and that he was worthy of Kim’s forgiveness. Once Kim explained the Negotiation and told him that he could complete his unfinished business by helping her, he immediately became overjoyed. In a sense, it is a continuation of his work because Kim’s course of study will lead her toward actions for the betterment of human living.
In this instance, Kim and I decided that it would benefit her to have an anchor, hence the clenched fist. At first, it served as an active reminder of their integration and something she could easily count on during the course of a speech. Now, though, Kim and Ignatius seem to function as a whole—healed, transformed and guilt-free! (A Note: Kim later did some research and it appears that she may have been Ignatius Theophorus, Bishop of Antioch. He was a Christian martyr, who died around 107 A.D. He was later made a saint.)
Although I am still in the midst of discovering the true potential of The Integration Process, I have already found it to be immeasurably helpful in many cases. There is much to be said for its therapeutic value, for it seems to be very useful in a wide variety of instances. For example, a young man named Glenn felt that a regression would help him find his purpose, or direction in life. He also felt very strong spiritually, and wondered about the origin of that inclination. He was raised in a family steeped in problems and had grown up angry. His pain led him down a self-destructive path. For some time before his regression, however, Glenn was healing—learning about himself and fostering his own self-esteem and growth.
Glenn’s regression shed a lot of light on his past and his anger. The story begins in the year 1863. Glenn is a Native American named Tomaqua. He feels out-of-step with the rest of his community, always needing to be alone, looking for spiritual guidance. Eventually the white soldiers arrive, unleashing Tomaqua’s passionate and unbridled fury. He was a foolish warrior and did not like to kill. Later, he and the remainder of his tribe were taken and kept like cattle. As he grew older, he came to have a deep respect for peace and taught young men to work toward this end.
If the regression had ended with the information above and the other thoughts from his Higher Self, it might have been enough to help Glenn. Fortunately, however, his session did not stop there. During The Integration Process, we found Tomaqua, who was very happy to finally meet with Glenn. Tomaqua wanted very badly to be able to complete his unfinished business—to truly bring peace to all he meets and to not waste time fighting and struggling against his fate. Tomaqua’s happiness gave way to relief as the Dialogue neared its end. In closing, he gave Glenn a two-headed arrow and told him to hold onto it always. This arrow that cannot be shot has served to provide Glenn with inspiration and a sense of integration that he has never had before. Glenn now feels that for the first time in his life he has a purpose and a clear method with which to complete his goals. He is currently exploring the possibility of becoming a mediator and is feverishly working on making himself a real two-headed arrow.
For Glenn, as for many others, The Integration Process provides not just the re-enactment of a prior existence or the release of pent-up emotion (which is unarguably important), but an active redirecting of one’s life today. In a sense, it is the bringing back of a former self to constructively coexist with the person who is alive in the here and now. It transforms a somewhat parasitic relationship into a symbiotic union of team-work and camaraderie. The active immediacy of The Integration Process seems, at this point, to be tantamount to lasting healing.
The addition of The Integration Process is such an easy step from the familiar into the surreal, one might not think it could create extraordinary results. If one merely glances at the idea, one could dismiss it as yet another strange self-help method and add it to the already-superabundant pile of “alternative” therapeutic techniques. With closer scrutiny, however, one can begin to appreciate the beauty within the simplicity. It is this type of consideration that I hope will come to The Integration Process. Although I believe there are still many frontiers to explore, I do hope enough interest will be sparked among regressionists to challenge The Process so it will grow and become useful for as many clients as possible. If we, as regressionists, are to stay true to ourselves as therapists, we need to bravely question and face any viable opportunity for growth and healing. Here is but one more occasion to contemplate our limitations and beliefs and then take a brief journey into the sublime.
Step – By – Step
A. Acknowledgement of Spirit
- Mentally go to the death scene and watch the spirit leave the body.
- Take note of the spirit’s reaction to his/her death.
- Introduce him/her self in a gentle, nonthreatening way.
- Have client tell spirit they mean no harm, but rather have come to help and to try to understand their feelings. (Helpful statements may begin, “I’m here to…” and “I care about you because…”)
- Ask how spirit feels and if it’s OK to visit for a short time.
- If spirit says “yes”, continue dialogue in a reassuring manner. (Helpful statements might be, “It’s OK to feel the way you do,” “It wasn’t your fault,” “You did the best you could and I don’t blame you”.)
- If spirit says “no”, ask why and try to continue with dialogue. If spirit wants to discontinue The Process, ask if it would be alright to try again another time and end here. (NOTE: Most of the time, this will not occur.)
- Begin to bring themselves into the dialogue by explaining that they each affect the other. Since the client is the future version of the spirit, the spirit needs to understand that he/she is loved and forgiven.
- Explain to spirit that they can help each other.
- Ask spirit if it has any unfinished business (unfulfilled wishes, desires).
- Explain how this is affecting the client today, but reassure spirit again that this does not in any way imply blame.
- Begin to negotiate. (“If you’ll do x, I’ll make sure you are able to finish your business. This will help me with my troubles and we’ll both be happy.”)
- Ask what spirit thinks of the proposal. Explain how this plan might work. The client may make promises, but only if he/she intends to keep them. It is important to take this part seriously.
- Ask spirit if it would like to stay with the client, becoming a part of them and their world so that the mission or work from the Negotiation can be completed. (NOTE: The answer will probably be “yes.” If the answer is “no,” continue Dialogue. Do not go any further until you get a “yes.”)
- If client would like, he/she may bring the spirit forward in time, gently and patiently showing it around and helping it to become acclimated. (Optional)
- Client and spirit can now promise to be there for each other, communicating and boosting one another when needed.
- It is now time to Integrate. The client can imagine putting the spirit into his/her heart or just melting together and becoming one.
E. Other Options
It is here that you may choose to include additional therapeutic methods. NLP tools such as anchoring or behavior modification through the use of hypnosis are just two examples of strengthening techniques.