GRESS, GRESSION, GRESSIVENESS
by Hans TenDam
Most of us call ourselves regression therapists. Some prefer past-life therapists. The first expression was past lives therapy, the title of Morris Netherton’s book in 1978 and the name of the therapy in the Psychotherapy Handbook in 1980. It unabashedly talks of previous lifetimes. In 1980 APRT was founded, the Association for Past-Life Research and Therapy. Past-life, of course, could also refer to the past of the present lifetime and is somewhat less provocative to the mainstream.
In 1991 William Baldwin titles his book Regression Therapy and in 1993 Winafred Lucas publishes her great two-volume handbook called Regression Therapy. Regression as a concept comes from hypnotic experiments, where it was usually known as age regression. It means simply going back or, a bit more precisely, stepping back.
The term has another great advantage over past-life or past lives therapy: a lot of our work is in this lifetime. In my practice, which may not be representative for either clients or methods used, I find I am working in about one third of cases in the present lifetime only. In about one third of cases I am working predominantly in past lifetimes and in the remaining third the attention to past lifetimes and the present lifetime is about equal. With the coming of inner child work and prenatal work regression therapy in the present life has expanded.
In the English language we can regress, agress, progress, digress, ingress, transgress. So I will suggest, not too seriously, to elaborate a number of brand new therapies (on top of the more than 250 kinds of psychotherapies listed in that Psychotherapy Handbook.)
Exploring the future as it is expected, hoped or feared in the subconscious of our clients. Helping people to get rid of false hopes and false fears and teach them to have positive, but realistic and not too detailed expectations of the future. And mobilizing resources to go in the right direction. We may go to the future death experience and from there look back at the present life, but there are plenty of snags there.
In general I would say if you are not too satisfied with regression therapy, you should certainly not label yourself a progression therapist.
Not be mistaken for anger management, usually an euphemism for bottling up anger in a way that is not making you crazy, at least not in a discernible way to accidental passers-by. Superficial aggression therapy is about acting out, blatantly calling for attention, about shouting and claiming and dominating and manipulating all other people around you. It is about at least verbally kicking and slapping and hitting and bruising the bastards that make our life miserable. More professionally, it is about eliminating our enemies in unobtrusive ways not discovered by the police and not inviting private investigation. It is about truly professional revenge that produces lasting peace of mind. Analyze this!
This is an ancient practice, though usually not sold as professional therapy. This is about redirecting people’s attention from the worries they are obsessed with, about breaking the pattern, the stuck-in-the-rut problems and so-called solutions. This is about fresh views, taking a break, about paradoxical therapy, about changing perspectives like singing the praises of laziness or happy-go-lucky mindsets. “Don’t worry, be happy.” Or Monty Python’s “And now for something completely different!”
Ingression is about going in. Going into what? Usually, it is inadvisable to go into the client, though psychiatrists and psychotherapists are known to have practised that. More in general this is about medical interventions like swallowing pills and surgeons invading our body and bringing in implants or – more usually – taking out things, even things we have been born with. Organ transplants also belong in this category.
Helping clients to do forbidden things or at least engage in activities that are generally frowned upon, like graffiti, stealing, cheating, lying and public nudity – or all of these simultaneously. For overly adapted and overly well-bred people, a necessary treatment. If people are too good for their own good, we have to teach them to become naughty again. Only recommended for very stable and courageous therapists.
I hope you realize by now how perfectly normal and acceptable regression therapists are.
We should be proud of ourselves,
Aren’t we mainstream or what?