Janet Cunningham, Ph.D.
How refreshing – to write an article, as part of a cluster, on the subject of “regressions that didn’t work.” Most of us would have loved to have read something on this topic when we began our work in regression therapy. Our success stories are outstanding and often quite amazing. They are motivating and prove the effectiveness of our work. Nevertheless, there are some clients who are not able to reach a past-life memory. When I think back to a few clients who were not able to reach a past life, it seems that at times it was a “failure,” and at other times a “wisdom” from their deeper mind.
In order to increase the possibility of success, during the intake session I always explain the process carefully, answering any questions or concerns that the client might have. Even if she has had a regression previously, sometimes there is a piece of information that will make it easier to relax into the memory. Some of the highlights of my discussion with the client include:
- She is always in control. I am a facilitator and will follow where her mind goes. I explain that, based upon what she tells me, I will ask additional questions or move her forward or backward in time to get as much information as possible.
- People perceive in different ways. I carefully explain the differences in how one person may have visual images, another “hear” thoughts that tell him where he is. Another person might have experience come through sensing and feeling the scene, and still another may have information come in through the body, as in an ache or pain.
- The experience itself is not the same for everyone: (a) Some people experience themselves to be “in” the body of the past-life personality. In addition to the size and shape of the body, they feel the emotions, attitude, and fully experience the environment that they are in. (b) At the other end of a continuum, a client might experience simply a flash of an image, and then nothing. As I ask questions, and wait, there might be another image flash, and then nothing. (c) Another client may view the scene as an objective observer, with no emotion. (d) Another past-life recall may be viewing the scene with feeling the emotion of the memories. All of these possibilities are ways that people experience past-life recall, and they are all valid and can bring important information.
- I encourage the client to tell me what he is getting, no matter how vague or unimportant it may seem. I give an example so he can understand how an image such as a circle can lead to an important past-life memory.
- I explain how the conscious mind may interfere with the material, and encourage the client to trust what comes forth, reminding him that he can do all the left-brain evaluation that he wants to do after the session is over. In hypnosis, it is not unusual for the conscious mind to think, this isn’t working; I’m not deep enough; I’m not hypnotized. Especially in a past-life memory, it is common for thoughts such as this is like a movie that I saw…or a book that I read. In the intake-discussion, I encourage the client to note the thought and to allow the perceptions to continue to come. As she does, it is likely that she will discover that it is not at all like the movie that she saw or the book that she read.
- I never tell a client to “make up a story.” I believe that diminishes the reality of the work that we do. I do explain, however, that sometimes the information may appear to be more a metaphor from the unconscious, rather than a past life. If so, it is still valuable information from his mind.
Expanding upon the above explanations, coupled with whatever questions arise in the discussion, I find, creates the atmosphere for a high success rate.
In spite of our best efforts, however, occasionally a client will not be able to reach a past-life memory. Aside from the obvious situation of a client who is simply not able to relax his conscious mind and stays very consciously present and focused in the room, there are situations when it may be wisdom that keeps a client from the memory. I’ll briefly mention three incidents, changing the clients’ names.
Clarice’s experience was one in which she had very limited flashes of images, as described above. The brief image of a lion sent her entire body into trembling. She had only one more image flash of a male. That is all that her mind brought forward in the entire session. However, it caused her to sit in the chair, in shaking spasms, for at least 30 minutes. There were no words, no context, and no more for us to work with. It was two years before Clarice returned for another regression. During that time she had done a great deal of inner work. Only then was she ready to face the past-life material—that of a Roman male who was instrumental in selecting which Christians would be fed to the lions.
Mimi had looked forward to having a regression; however, in the session, she was not reaching any information. After many attempts to patiently go in through various means, I finally switched gears to go into her current life memories. When she was unable to bring forward any information about the house she grew up in, etc., I was fascinated. Testing further, I guided her to the previous week, and she wasn’t able to contribute any information about what she had done, including the previous day. Bringing Mimi back into the room, we discussed what had taken place. She came to the conclusion, “I wanted to do this, but I think that if I go into a past life, it could somehow change the relationship between me and my husband.” So, for whatever reason—fear or wisdom—her mind had just stopped further exploration.
Marlene surprised me when she was unable to bring forward a past-life memory. She was quite psychic and I expected an easy recall of events which would be beneficial to her. After several attempts in various ways, to no avail, as we neared the end of the session, she suddenly said, “My guide is here.” Surprised that this was the first piece of information she had reached, I asked what he had to say. She replied, “He says, I’m not ready yet. I have more work to do before having a regression.” We were both able to accept this statement, and approximately a year and a half later, she returned and easily went into a past-life memory.
Was the above timing, failure, or wisdom? It is up to us to create the optimum atmosphere for success. It involves basics as to comfortable and safe office environment, limited outside noises, and most important a relaxed manner and confidence within our own energy field. Assuming quality training, skills, and experience…the rest is up to the client’s ego and inner wisdom.
 The pronouns he and she are used interchangeably in this writing.