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Learning Through Happy Past Lives – Pierre Dubuc (Is.14)

by Pierre Dubuc, M.S.W.

Pierre Dubuc adds a new dimension to past-life therapy with his suggestion that healing can occur from examining happy and successful past lives as well as traumatic ones. Drawing upon his long experience as a therapist, he discusses his approach and stresses the need for “accentuating the positive” in utilizing past lives in therapy. A welcome new writer to the Journal’s pages, Dubuc practices past-life therapy in Quebec, Canada.

It is interesting to observe that in the literature of past-life therapy little attention has been given to the concept of happy past lives whereby one achieves success and develops positive qualities and strengths. Very little attention has been paid in the literature to the idea of recognizing those past strengths in order to retrieve them and to benefit from them.

It is true that many past-life therapists utilize the spiritual possibilities of past-life therapy, such as meeting one’s spiritual guides, one’s soul, or going into the interlife. This is a specificity of past-life therapy and a contribution to the field of psychotherapy which complements the clinical aspect of it. I recognize that the clinical and spiritual modalities are closely linked. But for the sake of this article, I would like to focus on the clinical aspects of past-life therapy in a positive sense.

It is interesting to observe that in the literature of past-life therapy little attention has been given to the concept of happy past lives whereby one achieves success and develops positive qualities and strengths. Very little attention has been paid in the literature to the idea of recognizing those past strengths in order to retrieve them and to benefit from them.

It is true that many past-life therapists utilize the spiritual possibilities of past-life therapy, such as meeting one’s spiritual guides, one’s soul, or going into the interlife. This is a specificity of past-life therapy and a contribution to the field of psychotherapy which complements the clinical aspect of it. I recognize that the clinical and spiritual modalities are closely linked. But for the sake of this article, I would like to focus on the clinical aspects of past-life therapy in a positive sense.

The Focus of the Clinical Modality

Within the clinical modality, the focus of therapy is placed primarily on the relief of symptoms, catharsis being the most-used model of treatment. With this focus, the past lives retrieved tend to be traumatic ones that seem to have caused the symptoms. This trend is apparent in Lucas’ Regression Therapy: A Handbook for Professionals. Of the twelve past-life therapists in this book who discuss their methods and approaches, only Snow mentions the importance of happy past lives, although no example is given of the retrieval of a past-life success or talent. Clark, also, in Past-life Therapy: The State of the Art, confirms this further when she notes that the trend toward symptom relief through catharsis is generalized among practitioners in the field. [Ed. note: See Clark’s article in this issue, “The Influence of the Therapist in Past-life Therapy.”]

Philosophically, what comes to mind is that there is so much attention given to the “pain” aspects of life that one can start to wonder if humanity as a whole is not overly focused on negativity as a stage it is passing through at this time. As members of this humanity, are therapists unconsciously so influenced by all this negativity and suffering that their perception of therapy is tinted by this negative perception of life itself? Many times, when I read the phrase “the lessons that we have to learn in this lifetime,” a phrase that pervades past-life therapy literature, I have the impression that the writers are referring mainly to painful experiences in life, as if we can grow only through suffering.

In this regard, I like Clark’s (1995) comment about the emphasis on catharsis when she cautions the therapist about the dangers of over-influencing the client into this model of treatment exclusively. She stresses the importance of flexibility and adds that “it seems feasible that calm, successful, happy, and spiritual past lives can also make big changes in the client’s life, and cause healing to occur.”

Learning Through Happiness

My experience as a past-life therapist started about eighteen years ago when I read Fiore’s book, You Have Been Here Before. At that time I was heading an 18-bed rehabilitation department for alcoholics, and our treatment program was hypno-behaviorally oriented. So when I read Fiore’s book, I was already experienced in hypnosis and regression therapy. It took very little convincing for me to make the further step into past-life regression with some of the in-patients to relieve them from their pain. With enthusiasm, I continued using past-life regression therapy.

Role Playing

My department’s treatment program included behavior therapy, and one technique that we employed extensively in group therapy was positive role-playing with videotaping. Clients watched themselves performing successfully on the tape and reenacted the roles until they were satisfied. I will always remember the changes in the facial expressions of clients who watched themselves on video performing roles successfully. This was done with simple tasks, such as asking for a service or learning to say “no” to an abuser. But the point was that while role-playing, the client could feel himself succeeding in his task. He could feel the emotion of self-confidence and genuinely relate to it. And later, watching the video, he saw himself succeeding, even in a small task.

For the first time in their lives, some of these clients saw themselves as winners. For many, it made a difference in their lives; maybe not always a big difference, but a difference. A new belief in themselves had been seeded. Sometimes, years later, clients that we met by accident would tell us that they still remembered their faces on the video when they were successfully performing a positive role. Their vision of themselves had changed. They had been empowered and it had continued to make a difference in their lives.

This therapeutic background in behavior therapy, especially the technique of role-playing with video tapes, opened my mind to similar possibilities in past-life therapy. I began to wonder about my past-life therapy clients’ successes in their past lives. I began to use these past-life successes of my clients as a therapeutic tool complementing the release of past-life trauma and pain. Very quickly I discovered the wonder of it. I found that when clients go back to past successes, they are given a chance to experience themselves as winners, successful persons, and to feel the resonance of that past-life personality.

Catharsis versus Empowerment

Let’s remember the healing process experienced by clients when they regress into traumatic events of past lives for cathartic purposes. They can feel the painful emotion, sense the physical pain, see themselves suffering, and remember the belief associated with the trauma. When they relive this, when they become conscious of this, they can release it, ending the sequence of the experience and freeing themselves from those perceptions.

Going back into a happy past life is like using this concept in reverse. Clients can feel the happy emotion of self-confidence (or any other strength they find), see themselves as winners, sense the resonance of this personality, and get in touch with belief in themselves as successful persons. But this time clients are invited to bring these feelings back into their present lives. They are supported to remember their strengths, to reawaken them in their present lives and to cultivate them. They have earned it, these strengths belong to them and they can use them in their present lives as a springboard to go further.

It is easy to understand that the discovery of a pleasant and successful part of oneself is very inviting for the person to accept and to integrate into his or her present personality. Whether the person believes in past lives or not does not change the outcome. This new inner vision of self is recognized by the person’s consciousness. It will have a continuing transformational effect and will tend to inspire the individual in her or his everyday life.

This transfer of strengths from past to present can also be reinforced (or anchored) through the use of visualization techniques. For example, the client can be invited to superimpose the “slide” picture of the past personality on the slide picture of the present self and to merge them both as if they were melting into each other. Usually the client will feel something new. It can be more confidence, more love of self, more inner peace, or any other desired outcome. Some may call it a new emotion. But there is always a renewed energy, felt by the client and acting as a force for transformation. After this reinforcement, I invite clients to visualize themselves with this new image in their present lives, on the social, professional, family, and sexual levels. After this, I suggest that clients thank their past-life personalities, hug them tenderly, invite their past-life personalities to go inside themselves, and then to allow the energy of the past-life personality to resonate throughout their body, heart, and mind.

The result is similar to the impact experienced by my clients who watched themselves role-playing on videotape. They are empowered, the vision of self is changed, the faith in themselves is increased. The hope of being able to be successful in life is raised, and fear is lessened. There is a new pattern of energy at work that will have transformational effects in their lives. But unlike role-playing, the client does not have to practice. The role has already been mastered, in the past life. From that point of view, I think that the impact is deeper and more profound than from role-playing. Most of all, the reserve of successful past personalities may be almost infinite. Many positive talents and characteristics are already there, waiting to be reawakened.

The Value of Happy Past Lives

Let me tell you about a 41-year old woman whom I saw recently. Living alone, a divorcee with no children, equipped with very low self-esteem, she was afraid of past-life regression. She agreed to try it at her fourth session on the condition that it be a happy past life. Suffering from loneliness, she wanted to find a happy past life where she was living in a satisfying love relationship. In regression, she did find one, a beautiful love relationship, and very satisfying it was. But when she looked into the eyes of her past lover, she suddenly saw all the wonders that he saw in her. And then she realized that she was looking at herself through the eyes of her past lover, seeing herself as he saw her. She was simply stunned. Positively stunned. The same evening, although she was already scheduled to see me the following week, she wrote to tell me of the giant step that experience had been in her self-esteem and how wonderful she now felt about herself.

There was no catharsis, no reliving of pain, in this regression. I would challenge the concept of catharsis as the only clinical model. I will ask an unexpected question here: Would it be possible to get the same results as with the catharsis model with the use of only happy past lives? If the answer is yes, then we must start to examine the potential of the happy past-life model.

I have some clients whom I have treated accidentally with only the happy past-life model. I remember such a client, an agoraphobic man. He had been unable to leave his home or go to work for two years before he came to see me. The first month, treatment was limited to relaxation with affirmations recorded on an audiotape. Starting with the second month, he was introduced to past-life regression. He had never heard of it before and was afraid of it; for this reason we first tried past-life regressions where he was self-confident. Happy past lives were the main therapeutic modality used for the following three months of weekly sessions. There was no attempt to regress to the origin of his problem of agoraphobia. Each time, he found a very ordinary past life, where he was in some way successful. Each week he made progress, and little by little his confidence grew. Four months after he began treatment he was back at work full time.

A similar example is that of a young woman who attended a group workshop of 200 people who were guided in regression into a happy past life on a theme of their choice. She found herself surrounded by horses and felt very happy in that situation. The result was a loss of her fear of horses in her present life. There was no other form of therapy used, and only one regression experienced, but that regression into a happy past life did the trick for her.

One has to ask questions as to what is operating here. What is the active therapeutic agent? The similarity with behavior therapy is obvious: A learned task, reinforced by success, probably supported by the social network of the past life, becomes a stepping stone for the person to go further in life. But we witness here that this learned task overrides the learned fear at the root of agoraphobia or of horses, without the help of the cathartic model. The emotion of fear is not dealt with, yet the fear stops being operative.

But happy past lives alone may not be enough. One question that can be asked is “Why is the retrieval of happy past-life events sufficient to erase or annul the effects of the learned fear in one case, whereas in other cases it is not potent enough to achieve it? Why, in some cases, is the past trauma so strong that it demands the action of catharsis?”

A New Energy

Perhaps we are dealing here with a factor that we could call the “intensity of energy.” It seems to me that we can assume that when the “E-motion” (energy in motion) of self-confidence is strong enough, then it can override the emotion of fear. It looks as if the more intense emotion is able to override the lesser one, or at least decrease the impact of the other one. In the case of the young woman with the fear of horses, one retrieval of an experience of self-confidence around horses was sufficient. We can assume here that the fear of horses was an energy of a lesser intensity than the energy of the past-life confidence with horses, and this was sufficient to put aside the fear.

In the case of the agoraphobic man, the more intense fear had to be overridden with more than one dose of success. Gradually, each dose, each successful past-life regression, rebuilt his confidence. Step by step the success and confidence invalidated the fear or removed it. However, in many cases (and my experience tells me perhaps in most cases), the flexible combination of both, the retrieval of strengths and the cathartic experience, might maximize the therapeutic impact. Over the years this combination has become the cornerstone of my clinical therapeutic practice.

A New Vision of Self and Superimposition

When I review what processes are involved during sessions while looking backward for happy, successful past-life experiences, I find that two elements are involved: Consciousness and Superimposition. First the client becomes aware of a new vision of him- or herself. This new vision inspires and empowers the client with renewed strength and trust in him- or herself. Secondly, the client is asked to superimpose the slide picture of the past personality onto the present self-concept, producing automatically and almost invariably a new-felt emotion, a new energy operating inside the self.

The analogies that come to my mind are first, the picture of two waves in phase blending together, and second, the combination of their energies to produce a new form of energy, where more harmony within the self is operating. We could compare this phenomenon to the blending of other forms of energy. An example familiar to us all is that of the energies of color. Red and yellow represent two different light wave frequencies, but when they are blended, a third frequency, that of orange, is created as if by magic.

In happy past-life regressions, the superimposition technique produces this type of result: A transformation where no effort and no analytical activity of the intellect is required. The blending of two different “frequencies,” the two different energies of the two personalities, produces naturally a new emotion within the person.

Linking With Intuition: The Hidden Goal of Therapy

If we pay attention to the content of a therapeutic session, such as the words, emotions, images, we also have to examine the inner dialogue of the client in a happy past life. Usually, when clients are experiencing a past life successful situation, they are really experiencing situations in which they have listened to the voice of their intuition. I would even say that they are being reconnected to the habit of listening to the voice of their souls.

This is most important to realize. For in this civilization we have learned to rely almost entirely upon our left brain hemisphere, our intellect and reasoning, as the horse that is pulling the wagon. No wonder then that among us we find so much fear, so much self doubt, so much guilt, and so much self-hate: These are the pitfalls of over-reliance on the intellect. Only when we learn to trust our intuition can we maximize our chances of choosing the experiences that we need to grow, and only then can we accelerate our spiritual evolution.

This is the gift that we can give our clients with happy past-life regressions: the reconnection with their past habit of recognizing the voice of the soul, of listening to it, of trusting it to go into action that is right for us, and consequently, using the soul as a full and trusted partner. The habit can be recognized unconsciously, which in itself becomes one cause of the transformational impact. But clients normally appreciate some guidance about this dynamic. When they are asked to observe the relationship between their successes and the habit of listening to their inner voices, they usually learn to recognize the relationship between their own growth and listening to their intuition. The therapist’s guidance makes it easier for the client to continue recognizing it and to understand its importance. With a few such recollections we can expect the client to gradually transfer this new-old habit into his or her present life.

It is in some ways similar to successful athletes who become stuck in a rut of poor performance. When they review their past success on video they can relate more easily to their past way of doing things to be successful. But the coach can also give a little guidance to reinforce the learning, so that the athlete will keep improving on his or her own.

Happy Past Lives and Self-Love

One of the core issues in past-life therapy literature is the importance given to the concepts of love and of forgiveness of self and others. Many times it has been emphasized that love could be the most powerful energy there is. However, I believe that what should be emphasized primarily is the love of self. In fact, it is very doubtful that we can love other people and forgive them if, first of all, we do not love ourselves.

Secondly, this concept of love should be understood within the concept of the Soul’s journey. Most past-life therapists would probably agree with the statement that our Soul, the spiritual part of ourselves, is there to inspire us in choosing the needed experiences for our evolution, which it does through our intuition. Yet, we are only able to listen to our intuition when, first of all, we love ourselves and trust ourselves.

To this end, I have found that happy past-life regression is a powerful tool. It is many times easier to love oneself and to trust oneself when one feels deeply loved at birth by one’s parents, when one feels good about oneself, when one has faith in oneself, when one is successful, when one can laugh easily, when one can connect to one’s inner joy — all of which can be found many times in happy past lives. The blending of all these resonances with the present personality always produces an inner transformation that brings one closer to one’s own destiny of love of self.



Clark, R. L. Past Life Therapy: The State of the Art. Austin, TX: Rising Star Press, 1995.

Dubuc, P. Vies Passees Heureuses. Saint-Zenon, PQ: Louise Courteau Editrice, 1994.

Fiore, E. You Have Been Here Before. New York: Ballantine, 1978.

Lucas, W. Regression Therapy: A Handbook for Professionals. Two Volumes. Crest Park, CA: Deep Forest Press, 1993.

Netherton, M., & N. Shriffrin. Past Lives Therapy. New York: Ace Books, 1978.

Schlotterbeck, K. Living Your Past Lives: The Psychology of Past Life Regression. New York: Ballantine, 1987.

Wambach, H. Reliving Past Lives: The Evidence Under Hypnosis. New York: Harper & Row, 1978.

Wambach, H. Life Before Life. New York: Bantam, 1979.

Woolger, R. Other Lives, Other Selves. New York: Doubleday, 1987.