It's often said that the elephant has the best memory of any creature in the animal kingdom, but if proponents of past life therapy (PLT) are correct, pachyderms have got nothing on people. PLT practitioners believe that, deep within the recesses of our unconscious minds, humans hold on to memories spanning millennia. PLT is a branch of hypnosis that allows a person to go into trance state deep enough to access memories of past lives stored in the unconscious, yet remain aware enough to be able to describe the memories to the therapist.

According to Tony Collins (, a clinical hypnotherapist and past and current life regression therapist based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the therapeutic benefit lies in identifying an issue causing problems in the person’s current life and tracking it back to the lifetime that started the problem. “The lifetime is explored in detail, and depending on the therapist’s qualifications experience, the client is taken through the point of death in that lifetime, where they will return to soul form,” he says. “They’re then given the opportunity to return to the peaceful space often referred to as the spirit realms.”

The space between

Collins was already treading a spiritual path in the mid 1990s when he discovered Brian Weiss’s seminal book about reincarnation and PLT, Many Lives, Many Masters. “I was looking to learn healing modalities in the field of hypnosis and altered states,” he recalls. “I read Weiss’s book and then Michael Newton’s Journey of Souls. His accounts of soul memories from between lives absolutely fascinated me and I was inspired to learn the technique, immediately opting to move in that direction to establish a full-time career.”

While science is generally dubious about past lives, Collins says he was moved by the wealth of anecdotal evidence that suggests PLT is not only real, but transformative. “This space referred to as the spirit realms has been consistently reported by thousands of people and is described in much the same way regardless of their religion, philosophical and cultural orientation, or nationality,” he explains. “From here, they will discover the purpose of the lifetime, the purpose of the problem and how it’s been serving them for soul development, and how and why the problem is still affecting them in the current life.”

Therapists employ a range of techniques to assist in clearing the issue, all of which Collins stresses are used in a safe and structured manner. “A great deal of emotional and mental clearing can take place in a small amount of time,” he says. “It’s strongly recommended that people seek out well-trained regression therapists who can handle traumatic events if they arise, and navigate all of the phases of a past and between lives experience.”

Open to possibility

Collins says PLT can help anyone who is open to the experience and can allow themselves to be guided into a hypnotic state of awareness. He has used PLT to successfully address physical and emotional issues including grief, anxiety, substance abuse, overeating, phobias, relationship problems, and recurring negative patterns, such as abandonment. While there are few people for whom PLT is not recommended, some people may struggle to achieve a trance-like state, meaning they’re unlikely to experience the full benefits. “Anyone who rejects outright that reincarnation is possible, or has strong beliefs against it for any reason, will probably not be open to accessing the memories,” says Collins. “People who struggle to visualise, or who have not done any meditation or hypnosis, may need some meditation or visualisation practice before being able to have a successful regression. Similarly, people who are strongly analytically-minded may need practice with trance, or education on how to ‘switch off’ in a regression so it doesn’t interfere with the process.”

Clear vision

Aside from being open to the process, the key to a successful PLT session is going in with a clear intention. “Intend to discover something you’d love to know about yourself, or to create a big shift in an emotional or thinking pattern that will make a very positive difference in your life,” Collins advises. “The other major advice I’d give a first-timer is to relax about it. Emotional clearing can be powerful, liberating, and faster than other approaches. An understanding of life purpose, an undeniable connection to the soul-self, and a lessening of fear around death are all common benefits. Gaining a deeper understanding of relationships to significant others and why things have happened in the way they have can reframe a person’s entire view on their life in an empowering way.” You can never really see yourself as a victim, or powerless, again.

“I’m now pain free”

Doctors told Nancy* that her debilitating pack pain couldn’t be fixed. The Brisbane woman says past life regression therapy has achieved what orthodox medicine could not.
“I suffered with severe back-ache since my teenage years. An x-ray at age 30 showed a few of my lower vertebrae looked like honeycomb. The radiologist asked me when I’d had the accident. When I replied, ‘Never’, it was decided the pain had to be result of birth trauma. When I booked my appointment with Tony Collins, I didn’t tell him this - all I said was that I had a sore back and would like to resolve the issue through regression therapy.
“At my session, I initially went to a past life as a young adult. When the healing for that life was complete, Tony asked if the problem had resolved. When I said no, he persisted in taking me back to the source of the problem. I went to a life where I was a young child playing with others. One of them accidentally blew a dart, which penetrated my lower back. With the help of past life regression therapy we ‘fixed’ this wound. I have never had recurring back pain since that session, which was over 12 months ago now. I am so appreciative of the work Tony does and how safe I feel.”
*Not her real name