Past life regression therapy is gaining a lot of popularity lately in the local Buddhist circle due to the availability of therapist. Though there is a lot of scientific research to support the validity of reincarnation, there is very little or no scientific studies to support the validity of PLRT to access past life memories and facilitate healing. This blog is posted to highlight the potential danger of PLRT using hypnotic regression as of Professor Dr. Ian Stevenson's personal opinion. Professor Dr. Ian Stevenson from University of Virginia is also the pioneer in scientific research on reincarnation. Personally, i'm bloging this neither to discourage people from going for PLRT nor disparage the work of past life regression therapist. It's just an effort to educate people on PLRT so that they can make a well informed decision before going for PLRT.
"If the subject has been instructed by the hypnotist--explicitly or implicitly--to "go back to another place and time" or given some similar guidance, the new "personality" may appear to be one of another period of history...Experiments by Baker and by Nicholas Spanos and his colleagues have shown how easily different suggestions given by a hypnotist can influence the features of the "previous personality" in conformity with suggestions".
"In fact, however, nearly all such hypnotically evoked "previous personalities" are entirely imaginary just as are the contents of most dreams. They may include some accurate historical details, but these are usually derived from information the subject has acquired normally through reading, radio and television programs, or other sources".
"A marked emotional experience during the hypnotic regression provides no assurance that memories of a real previous life were recovered. The subjective experience of reliving a previous life may be impressive to the person having the experience, and yet the "previous life" may be a fantasy, like most of our dreams. Also, benefit (even dramatic improvement) in some physical or psychological symptom does not provide evidence that a real previous life has been remembered. Persons with psychosomatic symptoms and psychoneuroses recover following a wide variety of psychotherapeutic measures. There are many general effects of any psychotherapeutic measure".
"The procedure of hypnotic regression to "previous lives" is not without some hazards. Instances have occurred in which the "previous personality" has not "gone away" when instructed to do so and the subject in such cases has been left in an altered state of personality for several days or more before restoration of his normal personality"
"I am not now engaging in experiments with hypnotic regression to "previous lives." I do not recommend hypnotists to persons who wish to have this experience. I do not approve of any hypnotist who makes promises to clients that suggest they will certainly return to a real previous life under his direction. I do not approve of anyone who charges fees for acting as a hypnotist in such experiments".
- Professor Dr. Ian Stevenson
Remembering Dangerously Recovered Memory
A Case of the Psychotherapists' Fallacy: Hypnotic Regression to Previous Lives