Belief or disbelief in reincarnation has no influence on its success. The only condition is that apparent experiences from other times are accepted as meaningful subjective material, without continuously wondering about their objective truth. Several studies show that past-life regressions diminish psychotism scores, and enhance the reality perception scores of patients. Also extraversion increases, another indication that reality orientation improves.
We found that people with ‘patient mentality’, even after apparently successful regressions, hardly improve. People addicted to their suffering are rather cases for ‘anti-therapy’, jolting them out of the standard patient – therapist relationship. Others are walking case files: they re-gurgle all their previous diagnoses and can talk about themselves only in psychobabble or psychiatric jargon.
Also people who refuse to be patients are unfit. They refuse suffering in all its forms (they have forgotten to feel, as feeling is too painful or too threatening), and so are unfit for explorative, insight-oriented therapies. They refuse to relax and want to interpret, comment and rationalize anything remotely resembling a significant experience or emotion. Who cannot experience, cannot re-experience.
Clients who are insufficiently grounded may seek the causes of their problems in past lives long ago to avoid confronting their problems here and now. Absorption in their inner world may further weaken their contact with the outside world.
Morris Netherton considered working with schizophrenics possible, but only within an institution. He starts with imagination and gradually moves to regression. It works, but slowly and limited. With autistic children he had no success. An alcoholic has to be free from alcohol for three days. People on barbiturates or other tranquilizers have to detoxify first.
Roger Woolger considered working in past lives for some people too intense to start with. They have no need to start with reopening old sores in their psyche, but first need a supporting therapeutic relationship to rebuild their confidence. Others find it difficult to visualize and to internalize.
Garret Oppenheim mentions as unsuitable:
- patients with acute anxiety attacks,
- those acutely confused,
- those in acute depression,
- those with severe acute psychotic symptoms,
Patients who ask for hypnosis to stop smoking or lose weight or improve their golf scores or achieve similar limited goals – they can nearly always attain those goals without deep-level probing,
- patients deeply rooted in religious teachings who back away of reincarnation,
- macho patients (including women) scoffing at anything mystical or paranormal as ‘crackpot’ or ‘weirdo. ‘
For many, especially past-life therapy still has a sensational ring and so it attracts professional sufferers who want to add it to their collection of near-hits. Also, past-life therapy has been first known in alternative, spiritual circles. People who visited psychics to hear things about themselves, expect a therapist to do the same. They don’t come to do produce, but to consume.
Or they want psychic surgery. They want to be hypnotized and come back to their senses when everything is over. Or they want to experience a miracle healing. The worst assume they are entitled to that. Others want to hear that they are special, that they are an uncommonly difficult case.
Only few past-life therapists work with drug addicts. Their images are often chaotic and tedious. It seems as if their tapes have come loose and are entangled.
Patients may be neurotic, tremble with fear, hear voices, have multiple personalities, may be depressive, suicidal or murderous. When they want to work, when they assume responsibility, when they have a minimum of mental health, we can work with them. We cannot work with dependent people. Assuming responsibility is a condition for any therapy that is insight-oriented.
And people that seek spiritual healing? When they want other people and outside influences to heal them, regression may be not for them. When they want help to explore their own inner mind and find healing there, regression takes the straightest road inside.