by C. Roy Hunter
*©2005, revised ©2008 by C. Roy Hunter, M.S., FAPHP
Techniques for Alleged Past Life Regressions
My last article in the Banyan Hypnosis E-Zine I mentioned that even as hypnosis moves forward into the new millennium, people still debate over various techniques. One of the most controversial techniques can be summarized in three words: past life regressions (abbreviated as PLR).
That article discussed the possible explanations and ethics regarding past life regressions. This second article in the series discusses some actual techniques.
Regardless of the facilitator’s personal opinions on this topic, it is important to work within the client’s belief system. (In case you did not read my previous article, search Cal Banyan’s archives for a copy. If you are unable to locate it, I’ll be happy to email you a copy.)
Let’s now assume that you have decided to honor a client’s request for a PLR. We now resume where my previous article on this topic ended…
Before starting the session, I prepare the client with a discussion of certain important aspects of the session.
I want to know the client’s goal or purpose for requesting a past life regression. There are numerous reasons, ranging from curiosity to discovering information about relationships and/or one’s current life purpose. It is not my place to evaluate the purpose, but I’ll do my best to honor it if the purpose is reasonable. A hypnosis professional who is uncomfortable with the client’s purpose has the right to refer the client elsewhere.
That being said, I do explain to the client that when I’m guiding him/her back in time, I will ask their Higher Power to honor their request if permitted, or take him/her to another life if that is more important for his/her highest and best good. That leaves it up to the client’s inner mind to make the choice, empowering the client to deal with what emerges in case what emerges in the mind during hypnosis fails to match the client’s initial expectations.
Levels of PLR
Just as there are three basic levels of hypnosis (light, medium, and deep), there are three basic levels of regression into a past life: sketchy, medium, and vivid. I explain it to the client as follows…
In a sketchy regression, you will be aware of this room while also aware of certain daydreams that seem like bits and pieces. It may be a brief visual image that seems fantasized, or a sound or feeling. Your conscious mind may easily be questioning what is happening…and if you resist these images or try to analyze them, you will very likely emerge back into the present without going any further. If you go with the flow, there is a good possibility of going into the medium level. If you remain at the sketchy level until the session ends, you will feel as though the entire journey was a fantasy.
In a medium regression, some of the images (sights, sounds, or feelings) will seem more real, drawing you in just like a good movie. When the session ends, you will feel as though what started as bits and pieces became more real to you.
In a vivid regression, you will be drawn into the experience just as though remembering something from your present life; and you may feel some emotions. If you’re not ready for this, now is the time to let me know.
Prior to starting hypnosis, I ask my clients to agree to be aware at all times of my voice and to return immediately to the present when asked to do so. I explain to them that these are the “conditions” of being an explorer; and that I will also ask them while hypnotized if they still agree to the “conditions.” After the induction, I guide a client into his/her safe place, and ask for an ideomotor response to indicate acceptance of the “conditions.”
Briefly explain the techniques covered in the next section to your client, and ask him/her to choose one. Remember that one person’s comfort is another person’s phobia. One of my former students heard a famous author/hypnotist facilitate a PLR workshop, and failed to respond to his imagery. When she asked him to change the imagery, he told her that she would respond to him if she “was ready to be hypnotized.” Little did the facilitator know that she was a certified hypnotist who was very willing to respond!
Techniques to Initiate PLR
Before initiating one of the following techniques, hypnotize to at least medium depth. Guide the client (whom we shall now call an explorer) to his/her safe place, verify hypnotic depth, and then use the chosen technique. If the explorer fails to respond to the chosen technique, use another one. (Note: this information appears in Chapter 13 of my book, The Art of Hypnotherapy, 3rd Ed., ©2007, Kendall/Hunt Publishing.)
The Time Tunnel
The explorer enters a time tunnel of deep hypnosis, going deeper back through time, etc…. The tunnel may be lit softly with the explorer’s favorite color. Also, one may walk or float through the tunnel, or sit on a vehicle such as a Disneyland-type boat, etc.
Once you have guided the client inside the tunnel, you may say words such as:
As you go deeper into the tunnel, you go deeper into hypnosis–always aware of my voice. Deeper and deeper, going back… to another time, another space… another life, another place… another body, another face… the choosing of your higher mind… [inner mind, higher self, etc.]
Off in the distance now is the tunnel exit, where you will come out into another time, another space… another life, another place… another body, another face…
You are nearing the exit now… leaving the tunnel, and becoming more aware of where you are as I count from one to three. Number one: out of the tunnel now. Number two: becoming more aware of anything you see, hear or feel. Number three: BE THERE! Make a report…
At this point, the client may be guided through the regression. (See the comments at the end of this article for the clients who don’t respond.)
The explorer can simply imagine becoming surrounded by a hypnotic mist of his or her favorite color. Then words such as the following can be used:
As you begin drifting deeper and deeper into hypnosis, you feel lighter and lighter as though you are floating within the mist of deep hypnotic sleep… In fact, you find it more and more enjoyable just to let yourself go, drifting into the cloud… and you are always aware of my voice as you keep on drifting way back through time, farther and farther into hypnosis.
Repeat the previous paragraph if desired.
The cloud is slowing down, now… slowing down and ever so gently descending down, down, down… gently setting you down… And as I count from one to three, the cloud will vanish, allowing you to become more and more aware of where you are. Number one: the cloud is beginning to disappear now. Number two: becoming more aware of anything you see, hear or feel. Number three: BE THERE! Make a report…
The Crystal Hall
The explorer enters a long hallway with walls and ceiling of crystals, and a floor of fine marble, glass, or gold. At the other end of the hall is a door with a huge, emerald doorknob. I usually have the client enter the hall from his or her safe place, saying words such as:
Now that you’ve agreed to the conditions, you may find the door to the crystal hall appearing. As the door opens, you may enter the hall. It may be rounded, or shaped in whatever manner you wish. Its walls are covered with glittering crystals or jewels of many colors. Its floor is fine marble, glass, or gold. Move your finger when you are in the hallway.
Wait for response.
This is a hallway back through time and space. At the end of the hall is a door opening up into another life, another place… another body, another face… the choosing of your higher mind. There is a huge emerald knob on the door, and when you are ready, you may touch the knob and the door opens…
Touch the knob now, and step through the open door… As I count from one to three, you become more and more aware of where you are. Number one: the door closes behind you, and you become aware of where you are. Number two: becoming aware of anything you see, hear, or feel. Number three: BE THERE! Make a report…
Note that the explorer MUST exit the hallway! If he/she fails to exit through the door on the first request, it is appropriate to make a second attempt in a somewhat more direct way. If the client is still stuck in the hall, then guide him/her back to the safe place and use another technique. I’ve frequently had to change techniques in mid‑trance because some visual clients want to stay in the hall after getting dazzled by the beauty they create in their minds.
Another variation on the above technique is to have numerous doors, with the client selecting that door which is most appropriate and beneficial to open.
The Elevator Through Time
The explorer enters an elevator which descends down through the ages…
Imagine this elevator any way you wish it to be… and as you enter, you begin to feel it moving down, taking you down deeper into hypnosis, and deeper into the past…It’s going way down now, down through the years, and you are going way down into a very deep, hypnotic sleep. The elevator is taking you way down through the ages, to another time, another space… another life, another place… another body, another face… the choosing of your higher mind…
Slow the elevator down and use wording similar to what appeared above.
IMPORTANT: Be sure the client is comfortable with elevators before using this technique! If you are changing to this technique after lack of response to another, then you may ask for an ideomotor response to determine whether the client is comfortable with elevators.
The Bridge Across Forever
The explorer crosses a meadow, noticing a river with a footbridge. On the far side of the bridge is a strange mist, with a rainbow where the path enters the mist. After stepping under the rainbow into the mist, the mist clears, leaving the explorer in another time, another space, etc…
If there is no response…
If the explorer doesn’t immediately answer, we may sometimes trigger responses with one or more of the following questions:
Are you inside or outside?
Are you standing, seated, or lying down?
Is it dark, light, or dim?
Is it cool, warm, or comfortable?
If there is still no response, then we may take the client back to his/her safe place for a moment. After additional deepening, we may then try another technique.
The Regression: Avoid Inappropriate Leading!
Once the explorer starts responding, we must allow it to be a client-centered experience! In other words, let’s allow the client to tell what is happening rather than the other way around. Why do I say this?
Novices can be prone to leading rather than guiding, asking leading questions can result in a client fantasizing what he/she is asked to fantasize, ending up in a hypnotist-centered experience that is projected onto the client.
How do we facilitate a worthwhile PLR without leading the client? What techniques can we use?
For answers to these questions, be sure to read my next article in Cal Banyan’s E-Zine. Or, better yet, consider attending my 2-day regression workshop at the NGH Annual Convention this August at the Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center in Marlborough, Massachusetts.
Roy Hunter, M.S., FAPHP, CHI,
practices hypnosis near Seattle, in the Pacific Northwest region of the USA, and trains parts work to professionals around the world. He also works part time for the Franciscan Hospice facilitating hypnosis for terminal patients, and teaches a 9-month professional hypnosis training course based on the teachings of Charles Tebbetts. Roy is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Order of Braid (NGH) for lifetime achievement in the hypnosis profession. Roy also was awarded an honorary PhD from St. John’s University for lifetime achievement in hypnosis.