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Woolger, Dr Roger - Other lives, Past Selves - A Typical Past Life Session in Therapy



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Other lives, past selves [A Jungian Psychotherapist discovers Past Lives] – Dr Roger Woolger

A Typical Past Life Session in Therapy

Usually I start with an interview to explore any current or recurrent problems. In the first session I take a detailed personal history from birth through childhood up to the present, noting illnesses and emotional upheavals of any kind. Then I give my client a simple relaxation exercise with eyes closed and begin to focus on whatever issue seems central. Sometimes I encourage the client to focus on an image, a recent memory or a person and start to say whatever comes to mind as if they were confronting that situation. I may feed them, Gestalt-fashion, a phrase to sum up or intensify the affect, such as "I've had enough of this. Leave me alone." Sometimes we may focus on a pain in the body, such as a backache or stomach cramp, and allow images to emerge from that area.

As soon as images, words, and feelings start to intensify, I suggest they follow them into any story that emerges, this life or another life. I tell my client: "It doesn't matter whether you believe in reincarnation or not; simply follow the story as if it were real for the duration of the session."

Very soon the client will find him or herself in a different body and personality, … recounting the story quite dramatically as that other self, Then, following the principles of psychodrama, I encourage my client to relive in their fullness the major events and turning points of that other life, assuming that the most catharsis and release will come at these crucial points of conflict. Whatever arises, however confusing, incoherent, or bloody, I will take him or her through it to completion. If the climax of a particular story is in fact a violent death, I will ensure that it is fully relived at a physically conscious level on the same principle that has been successfully used with shell-shock victims, namely, that only a remembered trauma can be let go of.

In most sessions I will attempt to complete the memory of a life story by taking the remembered through the death of that particular personality. This brings a sense of completion and, more importantly, of detachment. The death transition is an opportunity to let go conscious level of the obsessive and repetitive thoughts, feeling, or fears of that other self. In the after-death period there is usually a valuable opportunity to compare the themes of the past life with unresolved issues in this one. ….., every client is encouraged to see the story as now finished, a pattern that need not be repeated.

Naturally there will be painful, even shameful aspects of the self that may have to be faced. In Jung's perspective this is what is called shadow work: looking at unpleasant and often negative characteristics and not repressing them further.

Because I always insist that the past life story be experienced fully in the body-not from the viewpoint of a detached observer-there will often be quite intense bodily convulsions and contortions that are part of the somatic process of spontaneous release. Sweating, hot and cold flushes, cramping, temporary paralysis, sharp pains, erotic sensations, numbness, trembling, shaking, or tingling may all occur. I tell clients that this is the release of blocked energy associated with an old trauma. The trauma at a physical level may be from birth, a past life, or an operation in this life, and often all three.

Whatever it is, the body is encouraged to express and let go of the shock and the trauma. Although to an observer seeing a session for the first time this may seem frightening or even a little crazy, it has been the repeated and consistent finding that such release at a somatic as well as emotional level is absolutely crucial to the full healing process.

Mostly I work with an individual client for two hours. This gives adequate time for the three stages of the process:

1) interview,

2) intensive work,

3) refection and re-entry, or what some therapists call "processing."

From the foregoing and later descriptions of sessions it will become clear what an extraordinarily concentrated and intensive form of therapy this is. I know of nothing other that psychedelic work that operates at so many levels in so short a period of time. Generally no more than five to ten intensive two-hour sessions are necessary to work through major issues therapeutically. This is, of course, a radical departure from longer psychoanalytic methods of treatment, which are very often slow because they fail to engage experientially and remain at an intellectual and interpretive level only.

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