Can the now really be explained by the past?


Breathe in. You’re walking along a dark hallway, feet treading softly against the cobblestone, creating a tiny echo as you move. At the end of a tunnel there is a door with a bright light.

Breathe out. You walk towards the light, apprehensive with what might lie beyond, the unknown of who you might have been and the answers you may uncover.

This can be the beginning of a “past life regression.”

What is a past life regression?

Past life regression (PLR) is a spiritual therapy method used by a practitioner or “regressionist” who often has accreditations for PLR and other holistic therapies, such as hypnosis, reiki, meditation and shamanic therapies. PLR can be hypnotic or non-hypnotic. There are arguments about which is better. Some claim the hypnotic form is suggestive, with the regressionist leading the client; other documentation states if you’re not hypnotized during a regression, your conscious mind conjures explanations for a problem in your life, thus developing incomplete or wrong conclusions.

Many use past life regression to aid emotional, physical and spiritual problems. Some practitioners will strongly recommend having a specific problem or question you want answered.

image3This is the space Daniela Hills utilizes for facilitating past life regressions, as well as other therapies. Photo by Kate Holowaty “Do it only if you have a problem or question, otherwise the regression can be confusing. A regression is all about finding answers and letting go of problems. If you had a negative experience and you don’t release it, it can become embedded in your consciousness, which can cause a negative after effect,” says Daniela Hills, a local regressionist.

Other regressionists leave it open to explore so the session unfolds organically. Alishia Alibhai, a regressionist who has undergone PLR herself, recommends this method.

“I might have had specific questions for answers I wanted or healing I wanted to address, but even when I haven’t and I have gone into a PLR, it’s always the most relevant thing in my life at the time that surfaces in the past life,” she explains.

Regardless, Hills says there is a lot to be learned from PLR.

“I’ve learned that we are all the same actually, we all have our own problems and struggles and the reason for this could maybe come from a past life,” she says. “We all have experiences from the past and that’s why we are who we are. Because of this I’ve learned that we should not judge other people.”

Why people seek PLR?

The main reason most people seek out a PLR is curiosity. They want to learn more about it or something identifies with them and the questions or problems they have.

image2Daniela Hills designed this alter, which resides in her space where she helps facilitate past life regressions, as well as conducts other therapies. Photo by Kate HolowatyAnother reason can be that they didn’t get the answers they wanted elsewhere, or didn’t feel satisfied trying other holistic strategies. For others, they explore PLR because they feel their experiences with traditional medicine haven’t worked, or they want to use PLR in conjunction with their current treatment.

Who can use it?

Anyone who is open minded can participate in PLR, but practitioners recommend not participating if you are skeptical. A PLR is not like Long Island Medium where a skeptic can go to try to prove the regressionist wrong. A true session relies heavily on the client’s participation, and without an open mind, it simply will not work.

The difference between leading and question-based PLR

Faith Wood, a hypnotist, blogger and speaker, gives an example of leading versus question-based PLR.

“’You are standing in sandals, you are standing in the Sahara Desert’ — those are ‘leading conversations’ versus, ‘Where are you? Are you inside or outside? When you look down what do you see? When you look around what do you see?’ We invite the participant to be able create the picture as opposed to the therapist creating the picture,” she explains.

In a hypnotic session the practitioner will tell you to visualize certain scenarios, and then will lull you into a hypnotic state through deep breathing and relaxation. Often, a hypnotic session will have more guidance from the practitioner, whereas in a non-hypnotic PLR session, the client is considered a co-facilitator and maintains conscious control to chose what he or she wants to remember and relive.

The process: What to expect

Both processes differ depending on the practitioner, but it is paramount to feel comfortable and safe with the regressionist conducting your session. Sessions can cost over $500. Before the session begins, you will typically speak over the phone to the practitioner, and then at length in person, before you officially begin the session. This is necessary to build rapport and trust, which helps support a successful session.

image1Daniela Hills takes notes as she demonstrates what a past life regression session might look like on her daughter, Mira. Photo by Kate HolowatyThen it’s time for the session to begin. Many practitioners will ask you to prepare a list of questions they can ask during the session. There should be a comfortable chair or couch to lie down on or even a bed with a pillow and blanket.

Next the regressionist uses relaxation techniques to ease you. You’ll close your eyes and the practitioner will either guide you or let you lead the way into your session. The session can take up to five hours, depending on where the client goes and what he or she uncovers. If the root of a problem is found, the regressionist will try to neutralize it using his or her preferred technique. Some regressionists may ask you to relive the experience a few times until it no longer is troublesome or some may say that simply seeing it once is enough. Hills explains what it’s like to go through a past death.

“The death experience is important in order to let go of your problem. You may think this is scary, but it’s just like a memory. Maybe you will remember the pain, but it’s more like feeling the emotions connected to this experience. After the death experience you will feel light and free, knowing the problem is gone,” says Hills.

Possible benefits

The benefits of doing a PLR will vary from person to person, but the goal is always to ensure the client leaves a session with resolution, closure, an answer or explanation. Sometimes the answers and understanding are not clear right away, but upon reflection, a client can start to make connections in their own past and present lives.

“PLR is life changing. Anyone who has done a PLR usually says it was the best thing ever, even if the process was hard. After this experience certain fears are gone. You know death is not the end,” Hills explains.

Thumbnail by Kate Holowaty.

The editor responsible for this article is Michaela Ritchie,

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