by Judy Bertrand, M.S.W., and Jim Charleston, M.Div., M.S.W.
Editors’ Note: This research study was discovered by our Editor (and APRT’s Ambassador to Cyberspace), Russ Davis, through a chat group on America Online. Bertrand and Charleston had had no awareness of APRT before Russ found them but they had courageously pursued their research because they believed it was important (as it is). They are to be commended, and also, welcome to APRT to these two new members! They used past-life regression to examine connections between present life preferences and past-life experiences in other civilizations.
Our desire to explore past-life therapy began when Ms. Bertrand was working at a county department of social services with physically and sexually abused adolescents. Some of these youngsters deliberately cut themselves with knives and razor blades. At the time, Mr. Charleston had a private practice in intensive family therapy and worked sometimes with families with crack-addicted babies. We were talking about the traits of these clients and speculated that if we were in some other societies these activities and behaviors would not be unusual. For example, even today in many parts of Africa, carving and cutting skin to produce scarring is still a form of self-beautification, and in some South American (and other) cultures, mothers chew cocoa leaves and babies are often born addicted. Perhaps our clients were only engaging in behaviors that they had done in other lives.
Our final motivation for beginning past-life research was to try to make sense out of why people behave in certain ways and hold certain beliefs that have no basis in their current lives. We decided to start by developing a questionnaire that would identify associations with previous civilizations. But more, we wanted to develop specific techniques that would use past-life therapy in positive ways and pull from people’s strengths as opposed to some traditional therapies, which often focus only on trauma and the negative conditions in people’s lives.