Regression therapy, sometimes called past-life therapy, can safely be placed among the "alternative" groups of mind and emotion therapies. It has been used, mainly in the U.S. and U.K. by some hypnotherapists and psychotherapists since around the 1950s. It is a technique that uses regression under hypnosis to let patients discover and express memories from their own earlier life, and indeed from potentially several earlier existences. This is carried out in a safe, therapeutic environment. A further detailed explanation can be found at www.ibrt.org/
It has been widely suggested that these regressions provide some evidence of reincarnation, though that is disputed by conventional practitioners. However, some therapists perceive regression therapy as a way to unleash buried thoughts, emotions and important memories in a symbolic way. In fact, cases have arisen where families have been torn apart, when a member undergoing past-life regression therapy has called up abusive experiences, citing a family member as the abuser. Investigations and court cases followed, sometimes disproving these memories; they were thought to be totally false. Others have had the veracity of their findings confirmed.
The therapy usually happens one to one under hypnoses and can give release, indeed a catharsis, and thus aid the patient to find mental health by removing emotional or nervous traumas such as panic attacks and phobias. Such sessions last about an hour and the treatment can go on for either many months or longer. Group sessions are sometimes used in regression therapy. Psychotherapists trained in hypnosis will sometimes work with a fully-conscious patient, or use a very light trance state. Questions to the patient are based on past events and experiences that are still "haunting" the patient, in fact things that are still highly significant for them in their current life.
Some patients will recall memories of time and place that they realistically would have no knowledge of. There have even been cases in which such memories, recalled under hypnosis, have had historical details confirmed. The jury is, however, still out on whether regression therapy really is of much value in terms of treating mental health problems and certainly is not part of the normal forms of treatment otherwise available. Though that may be the case, a balanced viewpoint may be accessed at www.familyhealthguide.co.uk/.../past-life-regression-therapy-e28093-fact-or-fiction/-
The doubts most doctors and mental health practitioners would have are centered around whether regression or past-life therapy is merely a way of letting the imagination roam free to find solutions. The advice might be not to take as gospel the memories recalled when in this state, or to give literal meanings when interpreting such past experiences.
Given the potential damage and the apparent lack of conventional medical support for this form of therapy, perhaps it is best just to know how regression therapy works, but to look for more accepted, conventional forms of therapeutic interventions when searching for mental health and well-being.