Regression Therapy FAQs

I have provided some answers to some of the most common questions I receive from people who have heard or read something about Regression Therapy and want to know more.

While the information presented here is limited in scope, I hope that it will be enough to further stimulate your interest, or if you are looking for personal help, that this will aid you in deciding whether or not this type of therapy is for you.

  • What exactly is Regression Therapy?
  • What are the benefits of Regression Therapy?
  • Does Regression Therapy involve hypnosis?
  • What if I don't believe in past lives?
  • How do I know I'm not just making this all up?
  • How long will my therapy take?
  • Is there anyone who shouldn't attempt regression therapy?
  • What qualifications should I look for in a regression therapist?
  • Do you take notes or record the sessions?
  • So how did you come to do this work?
  • What sort of methods do you use?

What exactly is Regression Therapy?

Regression Therapy is a personal growth process that involves recovering to conscious awareness those troubling events from our past which, left unresolved, are impacting negatively on our present-day affairs. Unresolved issues can stem from situations in childhood, birth, prenatal states, "past lives" or "between lives".

The regression part refers to the client's experience of "going back" to an important event in his (or her) past where he experiences the event as though it were occurring now. All the appropriate physical and emotional processes can be brought to sensate awareness and thoughts can be remembered. In this state the client gets a "second chance", as it were, to fully experience and process an event from his past which, for various reasons, he couldn't do originally.

While it is usually fairly easy for a client to access a past event, it is often quite difficult for him to allow himself to feel and express the various emotions he had originally suppressed. And yet, unless this is done, healing will only become a partial achievement without a complete resolution of the issues involved.

What are the benefits of Regression Therapy?

In general, life becomes much more enjoyable! Clients raise their level of self-esteem and they become much more aware of how they create their own reality. Thus they become much more self-empowered. As they come to know and accept who they actually are, their interaction with the world around them become real, here and now. Creativity and love flourish.

Specifically, there are no limits to the kind of benefits that flow from regression therapy -- physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. However, some examples are: resolution of relationship difficulties,as well as elimination of nightmares, phobias, obsessions, compulsive or addictive behaviours, chronic physical conditions, memory problems and psychosomatic disorders. Entire books have been written describing examples of this therapy and the resultant benefits.

Does Regression Therapy involve hypnosis?

It can, but not necessarily. Whatever technique we might use to help a client get in touch with pertinent material, the client does achieve an altered state of consciousness, a sort of mild trance state (an alpha state) in which his attention is focused deeply inward in conjunction with a heightened awareness of both inner and outer goings-on. He can hear my voice and the building noises, and feel the temperature of the air in the room, while at the same time be deeply involved in visualizing and feeling the events of a past experience.

It is similar to the kind of state achieved when studying intensely for an exam or when watching an engrossing movie. There is always a part of the person that knows what is happening in the here and now reality, so he is always in control of himself and his therapy. As a therapist I wouldn't want it any other way.

What if I don't believe in past lives?

Actually, it is not necessary to have a belief in re-incarnation or past lives in order to benefit from regression therapy. Any material of this nature brought to conscious awareness may be viewed in allegorical terms, or at least seen as imagery that the mind could be creating in order for healing to occur. The real trick is to suspend judgement of whatever material you may be getting and see where it leads you emotionally. Whereas the mind can be deceiving, the emotions never lie.

How do I know I'm not just making this all up?

The short answer is -- you don't, but it doesn't matter if you are. Most clients are not interested in proving re-incarnation or the specific facts of their childhood; they are in therapy to heal their unresolved issues which they carry with them, regardless of what "past" they may stem from. Regression therapy is an excellent tool to help them do just that.

How long will my therapy take?

That depends on several factors, mainly: the reason(s) why you are in therapy.

  • how willing you are to face your unresolved issues
  • the complexity of those issues
  • previous experience at doing personal work
  • how quickly you can take responsibility for your therapy
  • the competence of your therapist

But I can tell you this -- if you go to therapy because you are curious about the experience of the regression process, it only takes one session to satisfy that curiosity, but you could hardly call it a course of therapy. If you have done a fair bit of personal work and have a few, specific issues you want to clear, it may take several sessions. But if you are depressed, don't know who you are, don't know what you want out of this life, have a lot of fear, anger or neurotic habits; or perhaps you have tried other ways of "coping" and found that they don't work very well for you -- then many more sessions will be needed. I must add, though, that once you get things moving along in your therapy, you will be able to do a lot of it on your own.

Eventually, therapy becomes a life process where old blocks have been cleared; but the tools remain at your disposal to process completely any difficult experiences as they arise, so that there will be no need to work on them at some later time.

Is there anyone who shouldn't attempt regression therapy?

Sure. People with very weak ego structures, borderline personalities, psychotics, and those who have a very deep-seated belief that they deserve to suffer or fail are not likely to benefit from regression therapy. Some may be unable to comprehend the reality of regression work as a tool they can use to help themselves. Others may be too unwilling to let down their defenses to feeling, which, in some cases, may be all that protect them from total personality disintegration.

These types of people, therefore, need specialized help in order to build up a healthy ego and to be firmly anchored in the here-and-now reality, before any altered-statework will be of benefit. Also, a pregnant woman would be advised to wait until after the child is born, when her own biochemistry has stabilized, and her child is now an entity physically separate from her body. However, most people who are aware that they have problems, who are willing to look squarely at themselves and do what it takes to resolve the issues inside, are quite capable of doing regression therapy.

What qualifications should I look for in a regression therapist?

The most essential qualification a regression therapist can have is to have undergone a very substantial amount of personal regression work -- including deep, emotional release work -- him/herself. This ensures that he knows inside-out the kinds of inner dynamics you'll be experiencing. Most importantly, he will have dealt with enough of his own emotional baggage that he won't be working it out on his clients. Otherwise, for example, he might unconsciously sabotage a client's entire exploration into an area involving his (the therapist's) own unresolved issue in order to avoid feeling it himself.

Secondly, the facilitator should be able to present you with an atmosphere of caring and trust, and you should be able to establish rapport fairly quickly with this person. This is vital for the building of a therapeutic relationship, for there may be times in your therapy when trust issues become paramount, when loving support from your therapist may be crucial to your process.

As far as forms of "official" accreditation such as degrees, certificates and titles are concerned, these are less important. While they indicate a minimum standard of acquired knowledge, one cannot rely solely upon them as proof of competence. Conversely, lack of such credentials is not necessarily an indication of incompetence. For example, I know a therapist with several degrees and certificates who still has enormous ego problems which severely limit her ability to deliver effective therapy. Alternatively, I had two very fine personal facilitators -- one, a psychologist in traditional private practice; the other, a carpenter with grade twelve education.

Ask any prospective regression therapist what qualifies him to facilitate this work. Then trust your feelings and choose with your heart. Or get a recommendation from someone whose opinion you value, who is or has been a client of the therapist in question.

Do you take notes or record the sessions?

As a rule, no. Since I am not a "recognized" psychological practitioner, I am not legally required to keep records of things said and done. This can be to your advantage, as I firmly believe you have the right to keep the content of your therapy sessions confidential.

Secondly, I don't need notes to help you do your work -- regression therapy is experiential, not analytical.

Thirdly, I am not doing research and I am not planning to write a book (there are a number of good ones on the market already), so I don't need to record sessions. Lastly, any responsibility to remember your session history is yours alone, for I will not disempower you by being in charge of your information. However, on occasion I will make some notes after a session as "markers" for future session work with the client.

Having said all this, though, I have absolutely no objection if you wish me to operate a recording device on your behalf. In the main, most clients don't bother, as much of what is happening in the session is within the client's own mind and is therefore silent and unrecordable. Then it seems to end up being simply more "stuff " to let go of.

So how did you come to do this work?

I have a number of clients for whom I facilitate regression therapy, and I have been doing this work since 1992. How this came to be is the story of my life, the full details of which are beyond the scope of these pages, but here is a brief outline.

Upon graduating from University of Waterloo in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science degree, I worked in the general insurance field for a couple of years. Then I became involved in doing my own inner work, including intensive regression work. The core of this was "primal" therapy (modified from Janov's Primal Therapy) which involved deep emotional releasework. The power of this process to effect positive personal change was astounding! I have since come to believe that deep emotional release work may be the most powerful, profound and effective tool we can use in freeing ourselves to be the fully functional people we know we can be.

After almost two years of therapy -- one-on-one, in groups and on weekend intensives -- I believed that I had resolved most of the emotional pain from childhood, infancy and birth, and felt confident that I could "tie up any loose ends" on my own as they might arise. Things were looking up, and I continued to work on my own when it was warranted, but it was not until many years later that I discovered that some of these loose ends were tied into other "lifetimes".

It was during formal therapy that I became interested in bereavement counselling and funeral service. So I went back to school in 1975 to earn a diploma in Funeral Service Education, and after serving an apprenticeship became licensed as a funeral director in 1977. I worked full-time in this capacity until 1986 when I purchased the bookstore that was later to become the base of operations for my Regression Therapy practice; I still maintain a valid funeral director's license for the Province of Ontario.

In 1987 I learned how to meditate, and it was through this avenue that I began spontaneously to recover unresolved material from "past lives". I soon discovered that I was able to process these past life issues in exactly the same fashion as I had processed the material from my childhood in primal work. This led to even more positive changes in the "here and now". And so, five years later (1992), as a result of my personal changes, and in response to my inner guidance and the express needs of the public, I began to help other people do their own inner work.

In 1998 I joined the International Association for Regression Research and Therapies as a professional member. Subsequently, I was invited to apply for certification in past life therapy through the International Board for Regression Therapy, and this certification was granted in February 1999. To expand my technique "tool-kit" I took the Master Hypnotist training in January 2000 through the Ontario Hypnosis Center. In 2001 I joined the International Primal Association, and in March 2004, completed the last of three, seven-day trainings in Primal Integration at the Primal Integration Center of Michigan. All these memberships and trainings have added to the scope what I offer in helping people heal themselves.

What sort of methods do you use?

Generally, the most expedient approach to therapy for me seems to be an intuitive one. I am not putting a client through a program-type of process as such, but rather, as his defenses slowly come down and trust develops, the client begins to reveal himself and we form a sort of partnership or team. Intuitively, often subconsciously, the client finds the pathways he needs to follow to discover the source of his difficulties, fears and pains; my role is to guide and support his journey.

Often I will suggest to a new client that he or she meet and talk with me informally, perhaps a few days before the first session. We can chat about his purpose in doing therapy and I can answer any questions he may initially have. I find that this helps to dispel some of the anxiety that arises when someone begins self-work in an unfamiliar setting with a person they do not know, and rapport can be established. This results in a client being more "ready" for the first session, which usually turns out to be quite productive.

Frequently I will use a guided relaxation/visualization method to help a client regress, particularly if he is very detached from his feelings. I may also work with the client's breathing, posture, memories, body sensations, emotional feelings, energy field, or some combination of these and other things. Each person is unique, no two regressions are the same, and I trust the client's wise, inner self to know exactly what is best in every circumstance.

When an important incident from the past is contacted, I encourage the client to feel the emotional feelings present within himself, and to express them exactly as to how they are being felt. With the resulting emotional release comes relief, understanding, integration and healing. Sometimes events need to be worked though several times before the blocks to healing are fully released and integration can occur. It is important to know that insight, by itself, usually will not be sufficient to clear up the issue being worked on if there still remains in place unresolved emotional content.