How did you come to study past-life regression?
"In 1980 I was treating a woman for fears and phobias. Traditional therapy was not making much progress. I decided to use hypnosis to enhance her memory for childhood events, which I thought were the root of her symptoms. To my amazement, she remembered past life memories from ancient times and her symptoms resolved. Since I was a skeptic, I decided to research this phenomenon. I knew that imagination or fantasies could not, by themselves, cure such lifelong symptoms."
What techniques do you use for this approach?
"I use a combination of traditional psychotherapy; hypnosis, which is a form of focused concentration; relaxation and visualization techniques. The retrieval of memories from prior times is called regression therapy."
Give us an insight into what can be achieved with this form of therapy?
"This type of therapy can be used to heal physical and emotional disorders. It can give insight into and repair relationships. It certainly is useful for grief reactions and existential crises. Many practitioners use these techniques as a form of psychospiritual therapy because it helps people connect to the journey of their soul and the meaning of life."
What are the most common fears that hold back our spiritual growth?
"Fear of loss and death is persistent and profound in our culture. To remove this fear allows people to function with more happiness and joy in their lives, to understand their lives and actions more fully. In particular, phobias are amenable to this form of therapy, because when the root cause of the phobia is uncovered, then the symptoms often disappear. I have found that what we often fear the most has already happened in the past."
Tell us a little about the power of our intuition?
"Intuition is a very real avenue of learning and understanding, both for the patient and the therapist. Not all information comes to us through the usual five senses. It is sometimes called a hunch, a gut feeling, flying by the seat of one's pants, a "knowing", etc. Too often we rationalize away our intuition, but it is important to give it respect. Generally women are more open-minded to intuitional wisdom. Men need to catch up because there is a danger when we don't listen to our gut feelings."
How are your workshops structured – is there audience participation?
"All of my workshops are highly experiential and include a great deal of audience participation. I have found that experience is stronger than belief. In large and small group exercises in meditation, healing and past life regression, I give workshop participants many opportunities to experience past life memories or spiritual states."
What single transformational event has defined your life?
"The experience in 1980 with my first patient who had past life memories and who was also able to impart spiritual wisdom from the in-between-lifetime state completely changed my life and how I view my role as a therapist. My first book, Many Lives, Many Masters, is the story of how I changed from a skeptical psychiatrist to who I am today."
Visit hayhouse.com.au for more information on Brian Weiss's visit to Australia.