by Richard Stammler, Ph.D.
The transpersonal therapist, familiar with past lives and future lives, finds in the extended regression experience an aspect which is revealed in the transpersonal therapeutic environment that is not of, or has not originated from, planet Earth, but somewhere else. The present study deals with this aspect of transpersonal therapy and is collectively called the transmundo experience or the transmundo being (TMB). There are two basic types of these non-Earth experiences, one appears to be a part of the extended self of the client and the other type is not. It is the part-of-self TMB experience that is often not extraordinary, fitting into the tapestry of other facets of the self and is the TMB aspect most in evidence in this study. Those normally considered not part of extended self, are the other TMB aspects represented by the Walk-in, the TMB attachment, and the classic abduction experience. A survey instrument assessed the characteristics of these various TMB experiences.
By definition, a transpersonal therapist must see the client as having an aspect that is “trans-self,” that is beyond the physical self. Indeed, in transpersonal therapy it is the part that is trans-physical that contains the information necessary for understanding, spiritual growth, as well as physical and psychological healing. The transpersonal therapist, familiar with past lives and future lives, finds in the extended regression experience, an aspect which is revealed in the transpersonal therapeutic environment that is not of, or has not originated from, planet Earth. That transpersonal experience is not located on past, present, or future planet Earth, but somewhere else. This study deals with this aspect of transpersonal therapy.
Of these non-Earth experiences there are two basic types, one is or appears to be an extended self of the client and the other is not. Typically, the part self comes up as one experience in the rich panoply of experiences in regression therapy and is part of transpersonal therapy. It is often not extraordinary and simply fits into the tapestry of other life experiences making up the dynamics of the issue being addressed in the client.
The exception is what mental health professional Scott Mandelker (2000) calls the Wanderer, who has come to an Earthly life from another system in either the last or very recent lives. It is on the planet to assist in a number of ways for Earth to transition beyond the current dysfunctional state into something more spiritually advanced. For Mandelker, whether the individual knows it or not, and typically they do not, the process that brought them to an Earthly life is always associated with an altruistic motive. Because they normally are not aware of their TMB connection, the Wanderer will often show a pattern of maladjustment to other relationships and a poor fit in his/her life.
As defined by Hans TenDam (1987), in another part of self-experience there is discordance between the current Earthly life and a primal non-Earth origin. That primal origin has characteristics very different from the current Earthly existence, and the memory traces of that existence result in significant adjustment issues to the, in comparison, typically more restrictive, less spiritual, Earthly life.
The second category is experience of a non-Earthly origin that is not-self. The aspect that is non-Earthly is not a portion of the extended self. These come in several varieties and one is the spirit attachment. Most therapists who call themselves past-life regressionists believe in a part of the self that transitions from physical reality once split from the body at death. Sometimes that process is truncated and that portion of the self, for various reasons, remains tethered to Earth. During this period, intentionally or out of ignorance, that portion seeks comfort, a vestige of continuance of the Earthly experience, or some level of control over a living human as an attached entity. Sometimes these entities can have a non-Earthly source. William Baldwin (2003), who developed an extensive techniques manual on the attachments and approaches to their release called “Spirit Releasement Therapy” (SRT), notes that 50% of his clients with attachments will show these non-Earth attachments.
The second, but less reported, kind of non-self, non-Earth experience is that of the Walk-in first described by Ruth Montgomery (1979). This is an experience where by agreement another being occupies the body when the first leaves voluntarily. This can occur during suicide attempts or other physical/spiritual crises. The present study is limited to cases where the replacing being is from a non-Earth origin. There are various adjustment issues that ensue because, typically, the departing spirit has a difficult life with various problems and the in-coming soul may have a poor understanding of what happened, at least initially. The in-coming soul also has to clean up the karmic detritus left over from the preceding occupant of the body.
The last experience of the non-self type is that of the popularly described abduction experience or more broadly and less pejoratively described as the “experiencer” by the foremost proponent of people with this kind of experience, the late Harvard psychiatrist John Mack (McLeod et al., 1996). According to Mack, the experiencers come with a variety of issues that mostly mimic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and overall ontological shock. Sometimes the greatest of their troubles is that nobody believes them, and mainstream mental health professionals label them mentally ill. Psychiatrist Stanislav Grof (1993), speaking of transpersonal experiences as a whole, echoes this point: “For another large group of professionals, transpersonal phenomena are clearly too bizarre to be considered within the framework of variations of normal mental functioning. Any manifestation of this sort is then readily labeled psychotic” (p. 106).
Because no term exists in the literature for this class of experiences, the experimenter coined the term transmundo being (TMB), which represents non-Earth experience, either as a part of the client’s extended self or as a not part that impacts the client in various ways, sometimes profoundly. The TMB phenomenon can be viewed as only an inner-dimensional experience, such that one never looks for material evidence of the transmundo events, but the impact to the client’s psyche is real, whatever the source—even imaginal—and must be dealt with by the transpersonal therapist.
For the purpose of this investigation it is assumed that the phenomenon has some reality and, therefore, must be dealt with by the transpersonal therapist to heal a client manifesting certain dynamics associated with this phenomenon. It is not necessary that this phenomenon have a physical basis for the client to be affected by it or benefit from therapy.
Many TMB experiences that are part of self which arise during normal regression therapy are typically not extraordinary and fit into the extended mosaic of the present personality. Other TMB clients often show adjustment issues, feelings of not belonging, loneliness, and symptoms of PTSD.
No systematic data exist describing the incidence of this phenomenon, the viewpoint of the therapists that encounter it, indications for diagnosis, special techniques for eliciting the material, approaches to treatment, and, finally, treatment outcomes. The present study answers these questions through a literature survey and a survey instrument applied to the membership the International Association for Regression Research and Therapies (IARRT), which was dissolved in January 2014.
The vehicle for data gathering is a survey instrument mailed to IARRT members in the spring of 2008. The subjects of this study was members of IARRT, directly, and their clients, indirectly. The organization was described on their Web site and contained members from mainly the U.S., but also from 24 other countries.
The survey instrument, along with a definition of key terms, was mailed to IARRT members and some follow-up occurred telephonically and by e-mail. The research design did not attempt to generate a randomized sample, which may limit generalization of survey results to the full IARRT membership. The responses provide some assessment of incidence and circumstances of the phenomenon, generating valuable insight into one interesting area of study for the student of transpersonal psychology and its associated therapies.
Results were tabulated in a Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheet (2008) and, where appropriate, assessed with the Mann-Whitney U and Chi-square tests of significance. Aspects of this study and methodological considerations may require portions of the present work to be more properly classified as a pilot study pointing to promising hypotheses for further evaluation.
There is reason to believe that the survey sample may, in general, mirror the general IARRT membership because of the concordance on measures of foreign participation, male/female participation, and percentage of level 1 members (the most qualified IARRT members), within seven percentage points of the total membership on any one characteristic.
Table 1: Incidence of Various Kinds of TMB Experience
Type of TMB Experience
|Types of TMB|| High Therapist Without
Present Life #a
|Total Number of TMB Clients|
|Total, part of self||12,020||7,020|
|Total, part not-self||3,744||3,744|
|Total all TMB experiences||15,764||10,764||8,301|
|Generalized to full membership||166,337||113,579||87,590|
a There is reason to believe that this entry by the highest TMB therapist is in error and therefore overestimates the incidence. Without this entry the total TMB incidence is adjusted to 10,759 and, generalized to the IARRT membership, represents approximately 113,526 incidence of TMB.
The survey response was 61 professionals composing 20% of the IARRT membership and 26% of the foreign members. Of the respondents 59% were female therapists, 41% males. This is a mature and accomplished population, typically near 60 years of age, and with 80% holding a post-graduate degree and nearly half (44%) with a doctorate or equivalent. The average years of experience in regression therapy is 17.5. Interestingly, 31% of these therapists reported that they had one or more types of personal TMB experience(s) as defined above.
The most significant conclusion from this study is that the TMB phenomenon is much more prevalent than is intimated by professionals, with 69% of the therapists (42 of the respondents) reporting clients with TMB experiences. Of those 42, 29 provided numerical data of the number of TMB clients, which totaled 8301 clients for those therapists. If these results can be generalized to the IARRT membership in the same proportions, the total numbers for the general membership would be in excess of 87,590 clients. While it may be argued that therapists with TMB experiences, particularly high numbers of them, are more likely to respond to the survey providing an inflated view of what is true for all IARRT therapists, this calculation left out 13 therapists who did not provide a TMB client number only percentages. Additionally, the calculation used the current membership numbers (308), which is approximately one-third of the membership in 1995, a time period included in the experiences of these therapists. Therefore, the overall estimate is likely to be conservative by a large measure. Additionally, if it is true as many therapists believe, that were are all, at the core, from elsewhere, then results should approach 100 percent of the population, although it may not come up in any given therapeutic sessions.
The incidence estimates in Table 1 represent clients with multiple categories of TMB events but do not reflect an assessment of how many events any one client can have in any one category. Therefore, the TMB client with multiple TMB past lives, or multiple abduction episodes is not further calculated, however, the client that has, for example, a TMB attachments and a TMB abduction is reflected.
The estimates of percent TMB clients for the various TMB therapists ranged from one-quarter of 1% to 100%! Six out of the 42 therapists reported that TMB clients make up 50–100% of their cases. The numbers of TMB clients reported by TMB therapists was even more revealing, indicating a range of 1–5,000, with an average number of 286, and a median of 25 reflecting skewed data. Three therapists reported 1,000 or more TMB clients, while seven reported 100 or more.
Therapists get these kinds of clients and treat them. Basic attitudes for all responding therapists, with and without TMB clients, show that they believe specialized training is required, the phenomenon is “real”, and is a rightful part of therapy. These conclusions and those that follow are all validated by significant results in the statistical evaluations (p < .05).
As was indicated in a 1995 survey (Clark, 1995) of IARRT professionals, the list of therapeutic approaches shows professional interest in traditional therapeutic disciplines and a mix from an extensive transpersonal to some esoteric backgrounds. While hypnosis and regression therapy feature prominently, as expected, if anything, this group is widely eclectic, mixing a large variety of traditional, energy therapies, wisdom traditions, and many others. For some therapists this list represents less traditional disciplines and less academically recognized areas for entry into the therapeutic field. The list of therapies that is applied to the TMB client is no less eclectic.
The other overriding observation is that there is great variability in this phenomenon and the way it manifests to therapists. This is true for virtually all measures and indicators where some therapists reported zero incidence and others reported 100% incidence for their TMB clients. Statistics of central tendency do not do these data justice.
The TMB clients’ gender tends to mirror the general population that arrives for regression therapy, which has more females than males seeking regression treatment (the median reported by therapists is 70% female and 31.5% male), from the ordinal data). The TMB clients’ age is 40 years on average manifests a wide range (10 to 90 years of age). The greatest number of clients report being married with the next highest single and the next highest in a same sex relationship, which was attributably largely to the practice of one female therapist. The divorced category made up the smallest group.
Consistent with the literature, these clients reflected significant numbers with relationship issues. Postural/behavioral cues were more prevalent than speech or outright physical oddities as indicators that something was different about the TMB client. In terms of psychological stance during therapy, confusion was in evidence more often than fear or arrogance, but most appeared normal. The TMB connection was not the main reason for coming to therapy. Pre-therapy hints of the TMB connection manifested themselves most often in dreams and non-ordinary states of consciousness, but most often there were no pre-therapy hints of the TMB connection.
Perhaps surprisingly, therapists report that for most clients the TMB aspect is uncovered easily in the therapy session, and most often arises in the first or second session. Clients most often come to therapy because of problems with relationships, and may come because of the TMB aspect, although they may not know about it specifically.
Of the TMB experiences, those a part of extended self (vs. not-self) predominated, and most of those manifested as past lives. However, the most selected category was clients that manifested TMB aspects both part and, also, not part of self dynamics. For example, this might be a client with a TMB as a past life and a TMB attachment. Walk-ins were not commonly reported. TMB aspects not-self tend to be attachments more than any other type.
Consistent with professionals like John Mack (1992), therapists tended to report that the TMB component was more spiritually evolved than the client, particularly for the extended self aspect, the not-self aspect showed no significant difference in this dimension. Therapists reported a surprising 86% of clients, where the numbers were available, (7,138 out of 8,301) that the experience was for the “higher good” of the client. Again, perhaps surprisingly, few clients failed to accept the TMB aspect once uncovered and most accepted it easily. On the efficacy of treatment, therapists reported 82% of their clients had complete cessation and 96% had all or some cessation of the issues they came to therapy for. Similarly, therapists reported that for 64% of their clients with TMB aspects, the results were permanent, defined as lasting more than one year. Other benefits significantly above chance are improved adjustment to society, interpersonal relations and physical or medical well-being. There was no statistical difference between the three alternatives but all three represented improvements in a high percentage of the cases, from 81% to 83% of all cases.
In some types of regression therapy a regression question begins the session. Of those, when all responses are aggregated, the most common regression question dealt with relationship issues, which included sexual relationship questions, anxiety/fears/phobias and spiritual questions, health issues, or psychological states or feelings. These responses give some measure of the clients’ reason for therapy and correlates with the pre-therapy dynamic reported in the survey. Therapists report that the TMB experience is part of the coming shift in consciousness, but most therapists indicated that rates of the TMB experience are unchanged and not increasing.
Therapist gender differences yield the following: Male therapists tended to have more years of experience, when all survey respondents were compared, and it was also true if only TMB therapists were compared. Female therapists reported more often there were no pre-therapy hints of the TMB aspect. Female therapists are much more likely to report the TMB aspect as coming up easily in therapy. Females are more likely to get the TMB as part of the extended self of the client, where males are more likely to get the client with TMB experience not a part of the client. Males are much more likely to uncover a Walk-in experience than a female therapist, record abduction experiences, and implants. Female therapists are more likely than male therapists to designate the TMB experience as for the higher good of the client. Types of therapies tend to show more traditional approaches for male therapists and less traditional and a greater variety of non-traditional approaches for female therapists. Not until the second and third alternative (they listed their top three choices) do the male therapists list more exotic approaches. Comparing all therapies listed and eliminating those that are not therapies and those that are traditional regression therapies, e.g., psychotherapy, female therapists had a greater variety of non-traditional therapies as compared to male therapists.
The analysis of foreign therapists vs. U.S. provides some intriguing trends that require additional data for meaningful analysis, since the number of foreign therapists was small (ten with TMB clients). The results, although often statistically significant, must be preliminary; for example, there were proportionately more foreign therapists with TMB clients than in the U.S. population. The U.S. had more overall clients even when adjusted for the number of therapists, but the median response favored the foreign therapists (56 vs. 13), indicating that the U.S. numbers are very skewed due to several therapists with very high client numbers. Although, for both groups the highest numbers reported are clients with TMB part and not part of themselves, when reported, foreign therapists are more likely to see clients with TMB experiences not a part of themselves (often as attachments), whereas U.S. therapists are more likely to see clients with the TMB a part of themselves.
When therapists with many TMB clients, greater than ten, are compared to those with few, equal or less than ten, the difference revealed more years of experience by the high group, which is not surprising, but also more personal TMB experiences on the part of the therapist. The high group was more likely to have clients with TMB part of self, and the low group not part of self.
An analysis of the position of therapists that do some form of SRT (ridding clients of attachments, in this case TMB) indicated, in four different statistical tests, those that use SRT are more likely to see the TMB aspect as deleterious or of lowered spiritual level than the client compared to therapists that do not conduct SRT. This includes the two questions that indicated more or less spiritual evolution of the TMB as compared to the client, the two questions combined, and the question that indicated whether the TMB experience was for the “higher good” or “deleterious.” This resulted in seven statistical tests at p < .001 and one at p = .002 in the direction of the post hoc hypothesis. However, the number of therapists who employ SRT and could be identified from the responses, is small.
The survey indicates at one time or another most therapists get this kind of client and treat them. The approaches to dealing with the TMB experience are widely variable. What this represents may be a lack of a consistent professional view of this phenomenon and the professionals in the survey say additional training is required to deal with it. There are workshops on aspects of this phenomenon (such as spirit or energy attachments), but there is an absence of comprehensive professional training and information for dealing with these kinds of clients. If it is true as Hans TenDam remarks (TenDam & Heuval, 2008) that attachments are one of the most controversial areas of professional regression work, then the TMB other life; the attachment, Walk-in, and abductee must be doubly so.
It is no surprise that the preponderance of TMB clients are female, since they tend to be the larger portion of normal regression therapy.
Of the various types of TMB experiences those that are part of the extended self of the client are the most numerous and are most apt to be characterized as more advanced spiritually than the client. What was not delineated further was the TMB other life, which in that case is the driving experience behind the personality, as is represented by Mandelker’s Wanderer.
As a whole, clients tend not to show physical/behavioral, speech/language indicators pointing to a TMB aspect, but many do. Psychological/emotional traits are even less in evidence, and if there is one it tends to be confusion. Prior to therapy many clients have some awareness of the TMB connection, but most do not. Pre-therapy hints of the TMB aspect often come up in dreams and non-ordinary states of consciousness.
The loneliness that is so clearly described in the literature and the physical symptoms described by Mandelker, of allergies and other physical issues that often arise in the Wanderer and Walk-in were not evident to any great degree. What was evident was that this group manifests problems in their relationships and shows adjustment issues as a whole. Postural/behavioral and physical issues showed up in 1,438 of the 8,301 TMB clients, but the survey did not get into more specifics. It would be useful to tie specific questions to specific types of TMB aspects. As to indicators of the TMB experience, dreams and experiences in non-ordinary states of consciousness are the most often cited and apply to approximately 30% of the cases.
It was a surprise that so many clients fit the category of having both a TMB aspect that was part of the self and one or more not-self. Since the great majority of these are from one therapist (2,500 vs. 1,049 for all the rest of the therapists), it is possible that there was confusion on this category, which requires additional study. If true, the conclusions may be that most TMB experiences are not singular events and tend to include both categories of experiences. This is significant, since the dynamics of these two events tend to be quite different. Although not specifically addressed in the survey, but alluded to in the literature, ontological shock, PTSD, and inability to process the experience are more prominent in the not-self TMB experience, particularly abduction phenomena.
It is interesting and a bit divergent from the literature, that overall, therapists overwhelmingly tend to see the TMB aspect as a positive experience in the development of the client. It appears that most therapists with TMB clients side with Mandelker, Mack, and regression therapist, Dolores Cannon when they see most TMBs as more spiritually advanced, here to help mankind, and of benefit to the client, particularly when the experience has been thoroughly explored and digested in the therapeutic setting. To be fair, Mandelker, and many other therapists see this dimension as more complex with certain TMB experiences that are altruistic, and some that clearly are deleterious to the client.
It is also significant that TMB aspects come up easily within the first or second treatment session and tend to be accepted by the client. Furthermore, more treatment is successful in resolving client issues as addressed in the reason for the therapy and in the therapist view is permanent (lasts more than one year). Additionally, the therapy for the TMB client produces a number of secondary benefits, including improved social adjustment, improved interpersonal relationships, and improved medical/physical well being.
The study in this article is available in book form www.Amazon.com or from the author.
The whole topic of foreign vs. U.S. transpersonal therapists and TMB clients is a fascinating one, tapping into that rich source of variance, cross cultural attitudes, and ethnic differences. The results reveal tantalizing hints. Presumably because the foreign therapist is more accepting of it, TMB clients appear more prevalent among the therapists, but, again, paucity of data prevents a firm conclusion. It appears that the foreign therapist is more apt to accept the phenomenon as real, which would be consistent with some of the other indicators. One would expect that TMB client numbers to be higher for the foreign therapist and, indeed, if outliers that severely skew the data are removed or median data are examined (rather than averages), then the statistics move in favor of the foreign therapists.
The study in this article is available in book form www.Amazon.com or from the author.
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TenDam, H. (1987). Deep healing: A practical outline of past life therapy. The Netherlands: Tasso Publishing.
 Foreign therapists are defined as non-North American therapists.