For some people, hypnotherapy is magic. The truth is more mundane. Hypnotherapy enables your mind to imagine things, to focus on single ideas, guided by your therapist, who can suggest ideas and help you create positive images and hear positive coping statements while in hypnosis.

What is past life regression?

Past life regression – not to be confused with regression, or time-line therapy – aims to help individuals uncover or re-live a previous incarnation. The theory is that while in hypnosis, people can access memories of a previous life. Unfortunately, there is no scientific proof of this. Some practitioners of past-life regression say this is because no university funding is available, so the only ‘proof’ is from ‘anecdotal studies’. This means that a practitioner has performed past life regression with a client and believes that they have uncovered proof of a previous incarnation.

However, for hypnotherapists who take an evidence-based approach – where they use techniques proven to work in empirical research studies – there are more simple explanations of how past life regression may ‘appear’ to work. During hypnosis, subjects can be extremely suggestible, not only directly, but indirectly. A seemingly innocuous but leading question can send the subject into imagining things that simply aren’t true. For example, asking “As you see yourself in your previous life, what do you see yourself wearing?” For someone who hadn’t imagined any previous existence, this assumptive question pushes them to start ‘imagining’ that life. It may be, in fact, a fantasy, not a memory.

How false memories occur

There is a significant body of evidence to show that regression – asking someone to re-live current life experiences, can lead to false memory syndrome, unless the therapist is extremely careful not to use leading questions or suggestions. False memories can feel every bit as real as actual memories. And remember, this is false memories of the current life, not a previous one! If we can’t remember accurately our own lives, what chance is there of accurate memory of a past-life?

It is more likely that instead of re-living actual past lives, you are imagining (perhaps quite vividly) something that is being suggested, or that you would like to imagine.

Of course, if your mind is still open to the possibility that past-lives may exist and can be uncovered in hypnosis, read on!

What evidence is there in support of past-life regression?

What has been shown is that past-life regression has some positive outcomes for other conditions, such as fears and phobias. This may be because the client starts to feel different as they imagine themselves as someone else.   Or, it can also help people who find an explanation of the origin of a fear.  For example, someone with a fear of water finds they were drowned in a former life.  This discovery allows them to deal more effectively with the fear in their present life.


If you’re thinking of doing a session to discover your past life/lives, you may be entertained, but on present evidence, you won’t necessarily learn anything accurate.  However, if you’re struggling to understand the origin of a fear or phobia and believe in past lives, this may be something worthy of exploring so you can enhance your present life.

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