The Forgotten Self
How past life regression therapy helps solve modern problems
STORY BY PALOMA PIROTTE | PHOTOS BY NICK DANIELSON
(above) Hypnotherapist Jeni Miller holds her hand to client Fanny Boileau’s head, helping her to visualize a place of relaxation while in a standard therapy session on January 9, 2015. Fanny, 31, has had multiple meetings with Jeni over the last few months and loves the experience she receives from hypnotherapy.
“All of a sudden my body moved, it turned and I looked at this light … a lighted building, and I pointed and said what’s that? And this chill ran through me,” Jeni Miller says when explaining her first experience with past life regression.
Miller’s short white hair frames the mysterious energy behind her blue eyes. Her voice is soothing, a contrast to her bubbly demeanor. The pensive look on her face makes her hard to read.
Miller, a trained hypnotherapist, was traveling in Vienna when she first saw the opera house that resonated in her gut. Years later, she traveled back to Vienna with a friend to tour the opera house.
“My body started to shake and I started to cry. My girl friend looked at me and she said are you all right? And I said, I’ve been here before. I know I’ve been here before,” Miller says.
She proceeded to receive past life regression therapy from a hypnotherapist. The therapy unveiled a memory of her past life being a well-off woman around age 40 attending performances at an opera house in Vienna during the 1700s.
Past life regression therapy derives from the belief in reincarnation and the concept of the human soul having past lives. A reported 24 percent of the U.S. public and 22 percent of Christians in the U.S. believe in reincarnation, according to a 2009 study by the Pew Center for Religion and Public Life.
From a therapeutic standpoint, Jeni explains that past life regression can be a helpful form of healing because the client can view a limitation in their past life and transform the limiting belief or situation that created the obstacle in this lifetime.
Miller has a degree in both psychology and anthropology. She pursued further specialized education at the Hypnotherapy Academy of America in New Mexico. Miller has obtained over 500-hours of training in clinical hypnotherapy, medical support hypnotherapy and past-life/natal hypnotherapy. She has two offices, one in Bellingham and one in Seattle where she does group and individual therapy sessions.
When one of Miller’s clients, Michael James sits for a session he explains going through a process of viewing the events of his past, whether it be from that day or his childhood. All those thoughts begin to slow down and the focus narrows to one thought at a time.
“Going through the process your body starts to de-weight and you get sensations all over your body,” James says. “Thoughts and beliefs are kind of released, and you feel a pure form of happiness.”
James was previously a skeptic to the idea of hypnotherapy, he says.
“If you go and say… I’m going to go hang out with a hypnotherapist for an hour, people probably think you are crazy. And that is just the assumption I had in my mind,” James says while chuckling.
His previous skepticism is a natural reaction that Miller explains is a result of people associating stage-hypnosis with hypnotherapy.
“Hypnosis is portrayed that you are relinquishing control, or you are gonna be made to do things you don’t want to do like bark like a dog,” Miller says.
Hypnotherapy differs in the sense that the client actually has more control because they are accessing the part of them that controls thoughts, beliefs, emotions, behavior patterns and physiological responses, Miller says.
During a past life regression therapy session a client must undergo hypnosis to expose the subconscious mind. Hypnosis is a natural yet altered state of awareness, it requires being in a deep relaxation both physically and mentally.
“Usually it is me speaking and guiding them,” Miller says. “I choose to have people focus on their heart and breathe.”
About 65 percent of U.S. adults have had or believe in diverse supernatural experiences such as reincarnation, according to a 2009 study by the Pew Center for Religion and Public Life.
Miller’s expertise in medical support drives her to perform past life regression for clients that are to undergo surgery, or have a consistent health issue.
One client had seen a doctor, had acupuncture and tried a variety of other methods before trying hypnotherapy. About three sessions in, Miller decided to perform a past life regression. The client thought of a time when she was a roman soldier at war and she received a wound to her hip.
As she was dying she recalls saying “She realized that she misused her power in that lifetime and she would prevent herself from ever doing it again,” Miller says. “That was the karma if you will, which had been created from that lifetime.”
In the noisy cafe, Miller’s gaze breaks as she explains the numerous damages the opera house in Vienna faced throughout the wars. The image of the building wasn’t something Jeni recollects from another life, but rather the inherent feeling of connection in this life.
For the confidentiality of Jeni Miller’s clients, no names were used without consent.