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.
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.