Q&A: Exploring Past Lives Through Carol Bowman's Reincarnation Therapy

The practice may not be for everyone, but for individuals with unresolved issues, unexplainable phobias and nagging anxieties, Carol Bowman's past-life insights may be able to help.



A world-renowned past-life- regression therapist and pioneer in reincarnation studies, Carol Bowman has spent the past 25 years helping others access memories from their prior lives to combat current issues. To her, reincarnation is a practical explanation of who we are, why we’re here, and how certain traits carry over. Bowman’s two books about spontaneous memories in children have been translated into 19 languages. She also hosts the Reincarnation Forum, the Web’s oldest and largest reincarnation discussion forum. With a master’s degree in counseling from Villanova University, Bowman has a full-time past-life therapy practice in Media.

Photo by Jared CastaldiMLT: Is there a common type of person attracted to your practice?
CB: Doctors, lawyers, truck drivers, government employees, rock stars, nurses and nuns. It’s become more mainstream over the past 20 years. And, still, people are reluctant to talk about it openly.

MLT: What’s the most common need from clients?
CB: Many have experienced the loss of a loved one. They’re looking for meaning, validation or closure. In the case of loss, the one-life paradigm doesn’t provide an answer to having a child who dies young. How can that be right? It’s not.

MLT: The Sandy Hook massacre is a fresh wound. Is there a glimmer of hope that you can provide those families?
CB: As a parent, that event is heartbreaking. From what I’ve found in my research, it’s possible that any of those children could be reborn into the same family within a relatively short time. In my book, Return From Heaven, I document such cases. It’s a delicate topic. For some, the reality of the rebirth of a loved one provides comfort and continuity. For others, it challenges their hope that they’ll meet that loved one again in heaven. 

MLT: How did your career head in this direction?
CB: I came to believe in past lives as a college student in Boston in the late 1960s, when I had an out-of-body experience sitting on a beach at sunrise. That moment convinced me that a part of us never dies—that we are more than our bodies. I also remembered having that same type of experience as a 4-year-old. These experiences led me to the study of Eastern religions and reincarnation.

MLT: Any celebrated cases you’d like to mention?
CB: On my forum, there’s the case of a California boy who was born in 2003 and remembers being a firefighter who died on 9/11. Based on detailed information he gave his mother, she was able to specifically identify his past life as an Irish Catholic firefighter from Long Island, though she never contacted the former family. There’s also James Leininger, who remembered dying as a World War II fighter pilot. Based on his specific memories, his father established that he was James Huston Jr., a Haverford School graduate who went missing over Iwo Jima in 1945. I wrote the foreword for the 2009 book, Soul Survivor, which is now in production as a Hollywood movie.

MLT: Is this type of therapy for everyone?
CB: We probably all have previous lives. Past-life experiences can leave both positive and negative impressions on our current lives and personalities. It’s the traumatic lives that need to be addressed in therapy. The patterns from these traumatic lives usually begin manifesting when we’re children, but can grow deeper and potentially more problematic if left unprocessed. Sometimes just one past-life therapy session can lead to relief from emotional and physical pain that was carried forward into this life. 

MLT: How does an adult session work?
CB: In a typical three-hour session, we start with a history—family dynamics, childhood personality and experiences, medical history, phobias, dreams, etc. I’m looking for recurring patterns in the client’s present life. Usually, the dominant and recurring patterns have a past-life backstory. 

MLT: What are some telltale signs of a past life?
CB: Many personality traits are imprints from a past life. Some of these traits show up early in life as phobias, abilities and emotional states. For example, if a child is terrified of having his head submerged in water, and there aren’t any conscious memories, it’s a mystery. But, if the child says he remembers falling off a boat and dying, it’s a good indication it’s a past-life memory. That’s clear. However, if an adult comes to me and has had strong feelings of abandonment throughout his life, whether or not this could be traced back to a childhood experience, that might be a clue to abandonment in a past life. Sometimes these past-life patterns are replayed in childhood and throughout the current life.

MLT: What’s it like to be on the listening end of these regressions?
CB: It’s always fascinating. Many clients come to me as a last-ditch effort to resolve issues that haven’t responded to years of therapy. When they can access the origins of these issues in the past, it’s a profound moment. Clients are relieved to realize that these different lifetimes—no matter what happened—are for the purpose of learning and growing. It’s not a punitive process. It’s an almost poetic sense of fairness and justice.

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