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Introduction by the author:
EVERY THERAPIST LEADS A DOUBLE LIFE. TO HIS PATIENTS HE is a companion on the road from disillusion to strength-an interpreter, a guide, sometimes a friend, sometimes a friendly adversary, but always a companion. To the world in general, however, he is something quite different. He works as a detective, tracking down every aspect of human nature in search of some final understanding. Who are we? What makes us love, hate, care, deceive, or trust? Every case history he builds represents another set of clues to this central mystery. The therapist's responsibility is to record accurately his discoveries and to measure carefully his insights.
 
As a counseling psychologist setting down his findings in book form, I bear the weight of this responsibility; the burden is increased because I specialize in a relatively new and "unorthodox" technique, called Past Lives Therapy. It deals with reincarnation and thus with the flood of traumatic incidents that the unconscious mind seems capable of unleashing, dating back hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. I realize that I run the risk of offending many and leaving many others incredulous. But I hope that those who read Past Lives Therapy will consider the method on its merits, putting aside questions of paranormal phenomena long enough to comprehend the workings of the therapy itself. The curious, often baffling (to a nonbeliever) events that sometimes accompany the sessions between myself and my patients will be touched on throughout this book and dealt with in some detail toward the end. My primary aim, however, is to describe a therapeutic technique and, through the examination of case histories, to preserve a record of that technique at work. I am aware that many people find it difficult to accept any "scientific" therapy that deals with the question of past lives, and it is with this in mind that I offer these introductory notes.
 
People of the Western world tend to think of reincarnation in terms of the occult and the bizarre, but reincarnation is a part of the mainline philosophy practiced by nine hundred million Hindus, Buddhists, and Jainists. To these people the concept that we live more than once is as much a fact of life as Western religious beliefs are to us. They represent nearly a third of the world's population.
 
Past Lives Therapy treats reincarnation as a proven fact; it is, of course, nothing of the kind. I doubt very seriously whether reincarnation can ever be proven, and I really have no interest in proving it. We treat reincarnation as a reality because this is the only way for the therapy to function successfully. Patients recreate scenes in past lives for the purpose of understanding certain problems they have in the present; it would be pointless to question the veracity of the material they are reporting. Past Lives Therapy does not depend on the "truth" of reincarnation, but on putting aside the question of "truth" in order to work toward curing the patient's behavioral problem.
 
Having made this point, I must state my own belief at once, which is that reincarnation does in fact take place. I have been influenced in this belief by neither occultism nor Eastern religion, however. The belief has evolved by following my own observations to their logical conclusions. On the basis of the cases I have handled personally, and the independent research I have done, I feel that the theory of reincarnation most logically explains the phenomena I have witnessed.
 
Over the space of ten years I have had the same execution recounted to me in detail by eighteen separate patients who could not possibly have known each other. I have been able to verify such facts as dates of sea disasters and obscure suicides based on material given to me by patients with no expertise in these matters whatever. Since I am a psychologist, and not a professional researcher, I have not attempted to prove the truth of these events. Their use in the therapy is far more important to me than any "proof" that might be attained. Needless to say, the searching out of material that might validate these past lives is an intriguing pastime to many, and I have presented, in the final section of this book, several cases suggestive of reincarnation.
 
As far as my patients are concerned, the success of their therapy is unaffected whether they embrace a belief in reincarnation or remain skeptical throughout. Several people who have come to me claiming to be able to prove that reincarnation is a fraud have found themselves pushed to the wall by the revelations that they dig up about their own past lives. Others arrive at my office skeptical, work for three months, and depart equally skeptical. I take no position in all this. As a therapist my commitment is to my patients' psychological well-being. The technique I use is intended to serve their needs. In this book I merely record what I have found in my work and submit it to be judged by others.
 
I feel strongly that there are many aspects of our existence that we do not even begin to comprehend. We are just beginning to explore the link between mental distress and physical pain, disease, and deformity. Medicine has come a long way in treating the deterioration of the body, and psychology has made long strides in understanding the mind. But these two sciences have merely performed the preliminary functions. Understanding the link between the psychological and the physiological is the task at hand. Past Lives Therapy is a tentative step in this direction.
 
The evidence for reincarnation is certainly strong enough so that it can no longer be dismissed as a joke or a lunatic notion of some occult fringe. I have used it as a therapeutic tool for over a decade. Almost invariably my patients have found that their mental anguish in this life could be pinpointed to a physical situation in a past life. To put it in the simplest terms, a patient who suffers from an acute fear of heights, for example, will discover recurring past-life situations where he died by falling long distances. The past-life falls could easily be called "creative daydreams," and if a patient wishes to regard them that way I make no objection; the therapy will still work for him. As he detaches himself from the commands of past incarnations he loses the fear he has been suffering in the here and now. The notion that what he has been describing is, in fact, real is supported by the evidence he himself supplies concerning the time, place, conditions and language surrounding "past-life" incidents. We accumulate these details because it is essential for the patient to relive the trauma of each past-life incident moment by moment, fully and completely, in order to detach himself from it.
 
The notion of "detaching" a patient from his fears by making him relive them is not new. Freudian therapy has always involved patients in attempting to uncover their hidden trauma from very early life, and in World War II many shell-shock victims were cured of their disorientation by being forced to describe in detail and to emotionally relive their battlefield experiences. Unlike the victim of shell shock, however, my patient rarely knows the origin of his distress, and so we search together for the events he can recall that might have been the source of trauma. Really the only "unorthodox" aspect of my method is how far back I am willing to go to find that trauma: to the seeds of man's existence.
 
I have altered the following case histories only to protect the privacy of my patients. All the names used in this book are fictitious, and other minor details have been changed where it seemed that they might reveal a patient's identity. However, no substantive changes have been made in the information. The stories I have heard are presented as they evolved, reconstructed from extensive notes taken at each session. Many of them are not particularly pretty; trauma is caused by ugly, almost unendurable situations. The reader will find no mention in my cases of long, idyllic lives, brought to quiet and peaceful ends. This is not because no one has ever lived a happy past life, but because happy past lives create little turbulence in the unconscious mind. When a patient comes to me, we attempt to pinpoint his greatest pain, his most extreme difficulties in coping with life. Beginning with these emotions, he will scan the past to find their source. Naturally, he rarely comes upon happy times. If I were to begin my sessions by asking the patient to remember his most pleasurable emotions, he would undoubtedly come up with many pleasant periods in previous incarnations. But this would not be therapeutic counseling; it would be a mere parlor game involving reincarnation, worth neither the patient's time nor my own. Ultimately, such sessions would be anti-therapeutic. For just as negative behavior is controlled by past trauma that can be erased, positive behavior is the result of past fulfillment. It, too, can be erased. The results might include loss of productivity, security, and self-esteem for the participants.
 
People whose lives are untroubled by behavioral disorders would undoubtedly find a greater percentage of "happy" past lives than my patients do. They have no reason to explore these lives and would probably do best to leave the unconscious mind undisturbed. As for the material presented by my patients, its frequently brutal and tragic content is undeniable. It seems cowardly, however, to dress up or disguise it. I have no interest in creating any sort of sensational material; in fact, I have had nothing to do with the "creation" of these incidents. My job has been, simply, to guide my patients in finding the links between past and present and to help eliminate the past from a controlling position in their lives.
 

 

Preface by Walter Steiss, MD:
THE AWARE PHYSICIAN MUST BE ALERT TO ANY DEVELOPMENT that will enlarge his understanding. When a new method of treatment consistently gets impressive results, it is the responsibility of every doctor to take notice.
 
I've known Morris Netherton as a colleague and friend for six years. During this time I have become more and more impressed with the work he has done in a technique called Past Lives Therapy. I am pleased and excited that Dr. Netherton has decided to compile his findings in book form. Although the doctrine of reincarnation is used as a tool in this therapy, belief in reincarnation is not essential to its success. Nonetheless, it has taken courage and conviction for Dr. Netherton to pursue this work in the face of almost certain cynicism from some segments of the public. I think he cannot help but be rewarded for carrying out this work; those with open minds will agree that the results speak for themselves.
 
Past Lives Therapy works on the assumption that patients can trace this life's trauma, both mental and physical, to roots in past lives. It is a technique for erasing the effects of these incidents, so that an individual can learn to live in the present. This book deals with the psychological implications of the therapy. As a physician, I feel that the technique can broaden our view of mental and physiological disease.
 
From the medical point of view, the most interesting thing about Past Lives Therapy is that it establishes the connection between mind and body. Most doctors accept the fact that the mind profoundly affects the body; this is readily apparent in such diseases as ulcers and migraines. 'What is less frequently realized is that a psychological component exists for every physical disease. Medical researchers are now beginfling to explore this area, most notably in the case of cancer, where a personality profile for that disease is emerging.
 
In Past Lives Therapy we find that the converse is also true. For every psychological problem, patients can identify a physical injury in past life. Body and mind exist in a reciprocal relationship which makes it essential to probe the effects of one upon the other.
 
Dr. Netherton does not claim that Past Lives Therapy eliminates the need for medical treatment. It cannot cure a physical condition which has already damaged the body. But doctors often observe that physically sick people have a psychological need for their diseases. Past Lives Therapy can help an individual see where the need for his disease comes from, and enable him to let go of it. It is extremely effective in limiting physical pain as well. Pain is a subjective experience; a given condition may hurt one patient much more than another. Past Lives Therapy demonstrates that physical pain is tied to past experiences. It can be eased by detaching a patient from this past trauma, frequently eliminating the need for debilitating, habit-forming, pain-killing drugs.
 
Past Lives Therapy has implications for the medical management of pregnancy, birth, and death, three important times in the life cycle that usually fall under the doctor's jurisdiction. Medical research is beginning to show that the unborn child has more awareness than had previously been recognized. It can be demonstrated that the fetus responds to light, sound, and the feelings of the mother. Dr. Netherton's work, bringing people through their prenatal and birth experiences, supports and expands this research with personal stories of remarkable prenatal and childbirth memory.
 
This therapy has much to contribute to the understanding of death as well. Fear of death, and the concomitant discomfort most feel in the presence of the dying, is eased through the exploration of deaths in past lives. The working through of these incidents, whether or not accompanied by a literal belief in life after death, can resolve the situation for both the dying person and his family.
 
Finally, because it is so effective with children, and because they take to it so readily, Past Lives Therapy has implications for early prevention of emotional and physical problems.
 
This book represenis Dr. Netherton's work at a midpoint. He has brought to our attention a technique that is, of itself, complete. It makes people healthier, risking none of the side effects of drug use. It is, in other words, ideal treatment. I believe, moreover, that the implications of what Dr. Netherton is doing are vast. I would invite both medical and psychological researchers to test the findings of Past Lives Therapy. The data produced could do much to bring our professions together in a more complete understanding of the link between mind and body, which stands at the center of the healing arts.
 

-WALTER STEISS, M.D.

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