FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
© Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
Also see my Reincarnation
as well as:
Letter to a Child
Perspectives on Exploring Past Lives
What Is a Past Life?
China and Tibetan Reincarnation (from the New York Times, October 2007)
and Testimonials about this work ....[3 February 2010]
Are you a psychic who can tell me about my past lives?
No, I'm not a psychic. I facilitate your going into a light trance state and then help you to move backwards and forwards in the ”story” by asking you questions, much as a friendly interviewer would do. Whatever past life information and emotions you get come from you -- and not secondhand through me. As I question you, you're completely free to answer, or not, as you wish. I can’t psychically "spy" on what you're seeing or feeling from a past life, so you have complete privacy. I'll only know what you choose to share with me, during or after the past life regression.
How long have you been doing this?
Since the early 1970's, first in New York City for several years, then in Southern California for 26 years, and now in Michigan since 2003. I have worked one-on-one as well as with large (up to 200) and small groups, taught the subject in local community colleges, and been interviewed about my work on radio and TV.
What is a Past Life Regression?
A past life regression is a way of accessing material that seems to come from earlier lifetimes. In a light trance state, one “regresses” ( i.e., travels back through time) with a facilitator to discover the roots of skills, relationships, problems, or “blocks” in former incarnations. The information usually emerges in one of three ways (or in combinations of those three):Vivid imagery, sound, taste, emotion -- everyone, of course, hopes for a George Lucas production, but few actually get it, so it's wise to lower one's expectations <smile>.All three modes: visual, emotional, or cognitive, are valid. Sometimes accessing one mode will activate one or both of the others, sometimes not. Lives are stored as complete records but in a light trance state they may not all be accessed with the same ease – some lend themselves better to one mode over another. Pleasant lives, for example, usually come through clearly. Difficult lives, on the other hand, where one had neither leisure nor energy to enjoy even the simplest pleasures of life, are often quite vague, except for sharp moments of trauma, which tend to be exceptionally vivid. Since such trauma has been stuck for so long, that vividness, fortunately, makes it easier to work with the material in beginning the healing process.
Strong emotions with only minimal imagery -- this mode can be both dramatic and convincing: imagery, after all, can be dismissed or "explained away" by blaming it on watching too much TV. Strong, gripping emotion, however, demands a different level of acceptance.
“Knowings” -- this is a cognitive-mode devoid of emotion and imagery -- it's "the facts, ma'am, nothing but the facts." Clients usually feel disappointed if this is all they get, yet the data can be quite relevant, even crucial, especially if they're willing to work with journaling, dreams, sketches, psychodrama, or other means of unlocking emotion from the session's cognitive level. Since emotion is the carrier of transformation, leaving the experience at the leftbrain's cognitive level may be fascinating and intellectually exciting, but unless deeper emotion is involved, it won't actually transform one.
Note: my comments are not intended to diminish the value of the cognitive dimension. If one wants change, release, transformation, however, then keeping material on an intellectual level is why "talking therapies" often take so long to produce results. Past life regressions have the potential to fast-forward through a good deal of intriguing (but ultimately unnecessary) cognitive detail. For those for whom there is no such thing as "unnecessary cognitive detail," then karmic work allied with traditional talking-therapies, especially Jungian, can be invaluable. Jung, by the way, wrote that no western philosophy adequately explains the problem of innocent suffering -- only India's concept of karma offered him a measure of satisfaction.
Important sidebar: during most if not all of a session, many people genuinely believe they’re simply “making it up.” It's wise to expect this and just let things flow regardless -- one can always dissect the material later but only if you've first allowed it to come through relatively unhindered by your critical mind. In such cases, only in hindsight does the experience reveal its “otherness” and actual value.
How long does a session take and how much is it?
The light trance portion of a session averages about 90 minutes. However, since I allow time for discussions beforehand and afterwards, an appointment tends to run about 3 hours. I usually book sessions from 1-4pm-ish EST (or EDT), 7 days a week. Cost is $150/session, whether in person or by phone.15 October 2006 update: Normally, people pay in cash or by check but several people have recently asked if I take credit cards. I'm not set up for that (it's a very time-consuming process involving levels of web security way beyond my technical competence), but since using a credit card is easier for many, I am happy to accept gift certificates from nationwide chainstores like Lowe's, Home Depot, Pier One, World Market, amazon.com, or vitaminlife.com.
26 February 2007 update: I am now set up to receive payments through . Pay Pal accepts major credit cards (as well as their own).
Can this work be done by telephone?
I resisted doing this for many years but in early December 2004 it dawned on me that there was an entirely new and surprising level of sophistication among the general population concerning things like karma, reincarnation, meditation, and relaxation techniques. It was no longer the '70's -- and I was no longer having to spend so much time explaining basic concepts to my clients.
As I thought things through, I was reminded of energy-workers who work by telephone with great success because the non-local, "quantum physics" aspects work as well at a distance as in person. I also know psychologists who do intense dreamwork by telephone. So why not pastlife regressions? Regressions are, in a sense, "dreams" of an earlier time/space.
So the focus of my work has shifted since then and most of it is now done by telephone. The results have been remarkable. Many people actually prefer relaxing among their own familiar surroundings and thus go under more easily. Another advantage (especially if a session has been deeply emotional) is that they aren't faced with driving home afterwards. (August 24, 2006: also see what I've written on this topic for my new Reincarnation Portal Page.)
How would I arrange for a telephone session?
You'll need about 3 hours of relative peace and quiet in a place where you'll be comfortable either sitting or lying down. You'll phone me at a pre-arranged time from there. Some people put the call on a speaker phone; some prefer headphones. Some use their cell; others (like me) use a normal landline phone. Once you call, we'll spend about 5 minutes fine-tuning the set-up, equipment placement, and volume controls at your end, since everyone's system is different. It's important that you be comfortable and that both you and I can hear each other clearly.
As noted above, I usually book sessions weekdays and weekends from 1-4pm (give or take an hour or two either way, depending on clients' schedules -- I can also adapt to other times, if need be). Sessions usually run 2-3 hours, sometimes longer, so it isn't something you'd want to shoehorn into an already busy day. If possible, you should also be able to take quality time for yourself once the session ends so you can eat, make notes, sleep, or just relax.
What if I can't get relaxed enough to enter a light trance?
I wouldn't worry about it. If you absolutely can't relax, then a past life regression isn't the right approach for you, at least for now. However, if on a scale of 1 to 10, you only relax to about a "1" or "2", it's surprising how much data you'll still be able to access. It won't be as vivid or detailed as someone who relaxes to a "5" or "6" (or higher) but the information may be of equal significance. Whenever I work with someone, I trust the body's own wisdom. If your body refuses to relax, it's for a good reason. If you've ever been injured by mind-control techniques, for example, either in your current life or in an earlier one, you may have an automatic defense mechanism set in place to prevent that from happening ever again. This needs to be respected. Under certain conditions we can temporarily override it, but the ultimate choice is yours.
How will I feel afterwards?
Some feel exhilarated. Some feel tired, and/or very hungry, and/or very thirsty. All such reactions are normal and should be honored. If possible, it’s wise to schedule an appointment at a time when you can take the rest of the day off -- most people want to be alone for awhile to integrate what they’ve experienced. You may not feel like talking about it with others for at least several days. It's also good to write up (or record) your notes and reflections afterwards as this tends to re-activate your memories and perhaps fill in some of the gaps. The first night after a session is usually dreamless but beyond that, for a week or so, you might get relevant dreams so it's good to keep a notepad or tape recorder at hand.
How many sessions will I need?
That depends upon what you're looking for. According to the theory of karma, we've lived thousands of times. Those lives that ended with strong, unresolved emotional issues can be an energy-drain on all the lives downstream. But this doesn't mean you have to tend to each one of those lives. Looking at a few will suffice for a generic healing.
As an analogy, consider an ancient round tower with thousands of windows begrimed with the dirt of many centuries. Just walking in there makes you feel a bit creepy -- getting it clean seems hopeless. Yet you get a ladder, some window cleaner and clean rags, and you start with a single window. Of course, you don't select that window at random -- something about it seems to speak to you. So that's the one you clean -- and you feel very pleased afterwards because just doing that one window dramatically alters the light illuminating the interior of the tower. It no longer feels so alien and creepy. You can even see a lovely landscape outside that one window. You hardly even notice the rest of the tower now.
Sometimes cleaning only that one window suffices: it clears up a longstanding issue and you can go on with your life. Even if there is a cluster of similar lives revolving around one key issue and demanding your attention, it's often enough to explore only one or two in any detail. Based on how you heal those examples, you can then tell the others in the cluster to "do likewise" on their own. After all, you can't be expected to devote your whole life to clearing up traumas and grief from earlier lives or you'll never get to live your own! Explain that to your "earliers" -- they'll get the point.
If you need/want to explore more than the first one or two, you let a few days pass, or maybe a week, a month, a year, several years, and then you return to the tower with your ladder and cleaning supplies. You clean another window, then another, and another, all in different locations inside the tower, and each time it's because something about that window attracts you.
You probably won't have to clean that many windows before a critical mass is reached and the entire edifice is transformed. By then you've come to understand that many of the tower's windows are dusty because no one's looked through them in a long time and there's really not much to see outside them anyway. In other words, they were relatively low-key lives -- no more than karmic R&R in between your heavy lives and lacking anything potent enough to still have a claim on you after so many centuries. Thus, it no longer bothers you to let them stay dusty. When you look around the tower, you realize that the important windows are sparkling with such radiance that even the untended ones are illumined with loveliness.
So, ultimately, the number of sessions you'll need, or want, depends entirely upon what you're looking for -- and even that will change as time goes on.
How frequently should sessions be scheduled?
This varies greatly. In the middle of a crisis, or if a particular life is so rich that one look isn't enough, a client might wish to have a handful of sessions on a daily basis. Back in the 1970's, for example, a contemplative nun who was deciding whether to leave monastic life, tapped into an early 17th century Spanish life as a young Carmelite nun who lived shortly after the time of St. Teresa of Avila (d. 1582). This client was an exceptional subject, easily able to retrieve very vivid, detailed experiences. We spent nine hours on that one life -- three hours/day for three straight days (among other things, having her hair shorn off still remained a distressing memory nearly 4 centuries later). Those three sessions gave her sufficient information -- both emotional and cognitive -- to make her decision to leave monastic life. After all, she had "been there, done that" and felt it was a good time to move on.
More recently, beginning mid-October 2009, I have had the pleasure of working with a client on a more extended and regular basis -- she first made monthly appointments, then she changed to every six weeks because that allowed her to process and integrate each experience more fully. For me, it has been fascinating and a privilege to share the vast sweep of one person's many interconnected soul-stories, in which she is continually meeting people known to her in her current lifetime and seeing them as well as herself in many guises, many roles. For her, as she wrote me recently, this on-going work has been both grounding and deeply reassuring.
As for other clients, some come a few times/year; others call for annual appointments; quite a few drop out of my life for several years and then get back in touch when another major issue erupts. I am non-directive about all this. I trust the process and leave scheduling considerations to my clients.
What are “old souls?”
Slow learners. That’s the best definition I’ve ever heard for them. So next time someone calls you one, don't necessarily take it as a compliment. ::chuckle::
What about famous lives?
Since I don't deliberately probe for these, they rarely come up. When they do, my clients are usually extremely embarrassed to have been famous. Just for openers, whom could one tell? Most of your friends would laugh you out of the room. "You were Julius Caesar?! Yeah, sure." Or: "You were once a pope? Well, no wonder Christianity is in such a mess!"
Although I have no doubt that each of us has been "famous" for something or other in earlier lifetimes, such fame would rarely have any relevance today unless one is currently famous and needs to understand how well or poorly one handled its pitfalls in an earlier life. For most people, simple "householder" lives are the most important because they focus on human relationships, in all their dysfunction, hope, and wonder. Lives in which we've felt mystically connected to all of Nature are also significant because people are currently ignoring that dimension, and suffering because of it. Without a sense of interconnectedness, beauty and creativity, we don't survive well.
What if I don’t believe in reincarnation?
It doesn't matter because belief isn’t a pre-requisite. Having an open mind and a willingness to explore that mind is all that matters. You're free to interpret the data that emerges as a waking dream, a “story” that resonates deeply with you regardless of whether or not it was once your “story,” or as guided, “active” imagination. What counts is if the dream/story/imaginings give you deeper insight into a situation or help you to shift a painful attitude or perspective. Also see my page: Perspectives on Exploring Past Lives.
If reincarnation exists, why are there more people on earth right now than there have ever been before?
There are many possible reasons. We might be living more "parallel-lives" right now. Also, many souls are tightening up their turn-around time between lives -- in other words, where they might once have waited a few decades or even centuries between lives, they're now only waiting a year or two before reincarnating. For some this is no problem because they're more spiritually grounded. Sadly, others are coming back in with far too many unresolved issues and far less preparation than usual -- these are easily confused, manipulated, and angered; they're an obvious danger to all of us if/when they grab power.
Many other souls haven't bothered to incarnate since the fall of what we call "Atlantis" and "Lemuria." They may have checked in "for fun" at a few highpoints: e.g., Egypt's Old Kingdom, ancient Rome, Ming Dynasty China, the Italian Renaissance, but that's about it. According to Edgar Cayce, however, they've been coming back in droves the past century or so because technology, while still primitive by "lost civilization" standards, is still nevertheless advanced enough to interest them. Of course, as you might expect from such a long period of inactivity, these are people with brilliant minds but few people-skills. Unfortunately, many also lack any ethical sense about the uses of technology. They've blown up whole civilizations before and have few qualms about doing it again.
On the plus-side, however, are many Atlanteans and Lemurians who were so horrified by events in their own timeframe that they've been coming back again and again into countless lives, really mastering compassion and empathy. They no longer scorn what they once viewed as "commonplace humanity," for they no longer feel separate from it. Further, many still have clear instincts when it comes to the tricks their former elitist colleagues will try to pull in our own age. Most have really done their homework and are among those who are speeding up their turn-around between lives.
Finally, no one ever said we live all our lives on earth. There are countless places where life-forms incarnate. As one place has a population spurt, maybe volunteers "on loan" from elsewhere answer the call. We could call it a program for Cosmic Exchange Students <smile>.
Do you believe in reincarnation?
For me, it isn't about belief. As Carl Jung said once in a BBC interview, "I don't believe -- I know." For nearly four decades, I have been privileged to share in the details of many, many lives lived by a great many beautiful souls. I have learned much from them. In the beginning, my own theories and concepts were routinely turned on their heads. I now allow for alternate realities, parellel-lives, time-loops, and other concepts that would sound like sci fi to many people. Running like a thread through all these interconnecting realities, however, is the concept of karma. I see it simply, not as a belief, but as natural law. One doesn't "believe" in the law of gravity, for example. It just is. It's not in the category of "belief." Karma, for me, is like that. Of course, just as the law of gravity can, under specialized circumstances, be neutralized, so too can karma. But in general, it's just how things work.
"Evil" people, for example: where do they come from? I have had clients who have been injured by "evil" power-figures -- usually a boss, spouse, or parent. In exploring the karmic patterns, and with permission granted by the Higher Self of the "evil" figure, I have found that in 100% of the cases, the root cause is a lifetime wherein the "evil" figure was a desperately abused child. I'll repeat: in 100%of the cases, child-abuse is the cause.
Such abuse creates a karmic hole, or vacuum. In later lifetimes, when that hole eventually attracts a compensating power that the victimized source-child never knew, lack of experience means that such power will tend to be misused in cruel ways. This isn't necessarily to say that the source-child wants vengeance -- in fact, that child's sorrow when it becomes aware of what its later incarnations are doing to victims like itself is often a major step in healing the "evil" figure. In such cases then, the "evil" trigger has nothing to do with repressed desire on the part of the child -- it's simply that child-abuse creates an opening that stays hollow and unused until the law of karma, just like the law of gravity, creates circumstances that fill it. The sudden imbalance in a soul, untouched by compassion in its source-child life, can result in later lifetimes in which power, almost mechanically, like gears slipping into place, will be abused to the same degree that power over the source-child was abused -- not because the child wants it, but just because it's how things work. I hate this -- it's cruel, ineffective, and creates still more generations of abuse. But since it's how karma works, it's a great pity that the workings of such laws aren't taught in the West nor taken more seriously in the East where karma is better understood.
I don't happen to like the law of gravity -- I'd much rather be able to leap off a roof and fly into the sky instead of falling to the ground. I also don't like the law of karma -- there's far too much pain and brutality involved, and almost no sensible follow-up or "counseling" on the Other Side in between lives. As far as I can tell, the guides on the Other Side all study Guidesmanship 101 where they are taught gentle and wise-sounding platitudes, like "all will be well." And maybe it will be, but often not until one has spent decades, even entire lives, experiencing suicidal despairs, the loss of loved ones, jobs, hopes, health, and so much else. "Who's minding the store?" I keep demanding to know of "Them," on behalf of my clients as well as my friends and myself. Guidesmanship 101 instructs Them to respond with silence. So they do.
I think of a Hindu tale about a devout householder who begs a holy man to ask Brahma (God) how many lives he still has to live. The holy man returns with God's answer: "If you continue to give alms, pray, follow my laws, and devotedly love me, you will only have seven more lives to live." The householder is overjoyed. "Only seven? -- O, what a great blessing to know I'll be free then!" But the holy man interrupts and continues, "There's more, for God added that I should tell you this: 'If on the other hand, you feel hatred for me, constantly rage against me, expressing nothing but wrath and contempt for me, then you can end the chain of karma in only three lives'."
As I see it, the message in that tale is about the benevolent focusing-power of rage. I'm not a monotheist so I don't rage against a deity -- it's those Guidemanship 101 folks who infuriate me. They're mostly mental. They've forgotten how precious, sacred, and totally unruly bodies and emotions are. They see the calm long-shots, not the excruciating closeups. Those guys dwell in the Light. What do they know of polluted air, water, soil, food and other toxicities that alter our body-chemistry, leaving us exhausted and emotionally unstable? They assure us before we leave for another incarnational journey that we're be able to run the 100-yard dash with no problem. They forget the weakened lungs, the brittle bones, the grief all around us, the insanity in the world at large, the so-called leaders "on loan" from the most unevolved locales imaginable, the, the, the -- all the "the's," they forget all the "the's," damnit. And when we die after running only 5-yards, we wind up with the sense of guilt and failure, not Them. Never Them. For They've passed Guidesmanship 101 with flying colors and They know that eventually all will be well. Bah.
Why do I tell you all this on my past life FAQ page? Because along with my work in helping people get free of stuck-places and solve karmic problems, I'd like to encourage everyone with the stomach for it to keep Quality Control Reports about what life on earth too often is really like. And then, when you die, and before you get too blissed out and forget all the "the's," present those reports to whomever is on duty and demand some changes. Enough's enough -- all the pain just begets more pain. I, for one, plan to continue to be a pain in the you-know-what to those Guidesmanship beings. As I age more and more, I suspect They're all keeping a close eye on me so that if it looks as if I might be getting ready to die, They can all put in for vacation-time. But at least someone will still be on duty and I plan to give that one an earful. For I, and millions like me, probably unbeknownst to Them, have been developing an entirely new syllabus for a brand new, hands-on course designed to replace the detached serenity of Guidesmanship 101. It's called Compassion 101.
Also see my Opening
as well as:
Perspectives on Exploring Past Lives
Letter to a Child
and What Is a Past Life?
For information on telephone sessions,
arranging public workshops,
or for private sessions in southwest Michigan,
please contact Dr. Kathleen Jenks at:
[Please forgive the inconvenience of having to type out the e-mail address
but if I use a "hot" link, I get swamped with endless spam.]
For information on accommodations in my area,
see my page on Inns and Hotels.
Page designed and written 12 October 2003; launched
2am 13 October 2003.
12 December 2004: added update about doing regressions by telephone.
3-5 December 2005: tweeked a few things here and there.
20 January 2006: added new page, "What Is a Past Life?"
Updated 24-28 August 2006: added Portal Page, Letter to a Child,
tweeked misc., revised data on telephone sessions.
15 & 22 October 2006: added info on credit cards/gift certificates.
6 December 2006: updated e-mail.
26 February 2007: added Pay Pal info.
1 July 2010: made many revisions, deletions, & additions throughout.
19 August 2010: updated new email with Frontier.
31 October 2010: removed Nedstat counter due to annoying
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Busiest day so far 13 May 2008 [Page views 30].
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Category: Religion and spirituality.
19 May 2011: thanks to sensible advice from Brett, discontinued sliding scale.
Text © 2003-2011 Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.
Opening Tree/Roots logo and leaves: sources unknown.
Closing image of "Hands Protecting a Sapling" is a bookplate from the 1950's: artist unknown.