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What is Age Regression?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2016
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Age regression is a concept tied to the ideas of hypnosis, especially as used in a therapeutic context. It is the process in hypnosis of taking a client back to a younger age, and some say a different life at times, in order to process experiences or material that have been forgotten by the conscious mind. There are a number of reasons why age regression might be suggested as a treatment, and there exist strong arguments for and against doing it or for believing that what is recalled is truly what happened.

Therapists skilled in hypnosis might use age regression for several reasons. One of these is to treat phobias. Understanding origin of a phobia could be useful in helping to conquer it, but sometimes understanding of where the fear first occurred is not accessible to the conscious mind. Hypnosis is often thought of as being able to access a deeper level of consciousness, where repressed memories may lie. Another reason age regression could be used is to look for buried memories of abuse, particularly if it appears a client suffers all the hallmarks of abuse without remembering it.

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In either of these circumstances, age regression may or may not be successful. First, a person must be one of the types of folks who are easily hypnotized. Another thing to consider, is how vulnerable a person might be to the therapist’s suggestions. A therapist who believes a client has been abused may consciously or unconsciously confer that belief to a client, and this could cause the client to produce memories that are not real.

The issue of the benefits of age regression invites even more skeptics when it comes to regression to a past life. Many people strongly believe this is possible and that past life memories can inform the present life. Others just as strongly believe that there are no past lives, and thus what occurs in this form of hypnosis is an imaginative adventure of the client. That adventure may still be useful therapeutically, as it is a production of the mind that could be a comment on a client’s present state of being.

Whether age regression is a scientifically founded tactic or other, typically it would not be something performed right away in hypnosis. A person would usually be informed before it was used, except in the controversial use of it in treating attachment disorders in kids. Most adults would know ahead to expect it.

When a person is hypnotized, the therapist would suggest the person was a particular age, or might ask to be taken to a specific age when a phobia or other experiences suspected may have begun. Several sessions might be needed to glean the information of that age the therapist or client want to visit. In most cases, follow up sessions would be used to discuss findings; it can be very damaging to a client to regress to trauma without adequate counseling afterward.

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MrsPramm
Post 3

@irontoenail - I've known quite a few people who claimed to have experienced the womb or even past lives through some kind of mystical age regression hypnotherapy and I've never seen one who had any kind of proof of what they experienced.

irontoenail
Post 2

@Mor - If it is done properly, there isn't going to be any bias at all. You're basically just putting the person into a relaxed state where they feel safe enough to remember events that would otherwise be too difficult to confront.

There are some age regression stories out there which are very persuasive and where the person involved was helped a great deal by the process. I'm not sure if there is any other way for people with buried trauma to find relief.

Mor
Post 1

The problem with this is that it is so very easy to convince someone that they have particular memories even if an event never happened. Scientists have done it multiple times in experiments where they figured out different ways of inducing false memories in people.

If a psychiatrist is doing age regression hypnotherapy in the first place, they are almost certainly expecting to find something. Which means they are probably going to bias the person into remembering something that may not have happened.

I think people should confront their demons, but age regression is simply not the best way to do that.

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