Book Review: Past-Life Therapy in Action by Dick Sutphen

I hadn't read any of Dick Sutphen's books so when the shelf elves delivered this one to me, I was intrigued. Sutphen is one of the original New Age personalities who helped to put Sedona on the map, and he has one of the earliest mass market books on reincarnation with "You Were Born to Be Together", published in 1978. The timing of reading this book is interesting as Sutphen is an advocate of what hypnotists call "regression to cause," going immediately to the source of the trauma. His style is very "in your face", challenging people's belief systems with the confidence of someone who has years of experience. He even jokes in one chapter that he tells people "I wish you a miserable past-life regression." His reasoning is:

"If your regression experience is vivid and real enough for you to get upset, then I guarantee you this past-life incident is still in your present life. It is programming that is still under the surface, festering and manifesting as problems. By getting in touch with the cause in regression, you can totally experience it, possibly resolving your problem... Everything you feel, every attitude, hang-up, fear, and phobia is rooted in your past. There is a past event or series of events that is causing you to experience the present undesirable effect."

That sums up Sutphen's philosophy and methodology better than I could. Sutphen is an advocate of the belief that “you create everything, that you are totally responsible for everything that happens to you.” Luckily, he also stresses that “wisdom erases karma:”

“Can you make it all right with yourself to release and rise above the past, the past of being a victim and the past of being the bad guy? Can you let go of all the past situations you’ve lived and suffered? If you are ready to truly forgive yourself, you can release all the undesirable effects right now. You can wipe the slate clean and move forward into your present life; clear, focused, in balance and harmony. The choice is yours.”

I have recently been working with this very intense practice, doing this past lives version of shadow work. This is being willing to look at the events and choices that lead to you being “the bad guy.” And its surprising to find that for all the times I’ve seen myself as the victim, further digging uncovered a life where I was the perpetrator, sometimes with the same people involved! It is extremely powerful and I am in agreement with Sutphen that it is necessary. In fact Sutphen goes further:

“If my subject has a severe physical problem which is also associated with depression or emotional troubles, experience has taught me not to be satisfied with a ‘cause’ that does not include guilt.”

The only aspect that dates this work from 1983 is that the old model was to access the trauma but full back from feeling it, working from a "detached, all-knowing level of awareness." Sutphen’s induction includes the command:

"I want you to be an observer of your own experience. Detached, without any emotion or pain." 

Now I understand that this book is based on transcripts from workshops where he was doing group work. It must have been an intense experience for participants to open themselves to exposing their issues and confronting them in a public format. But its an interesting sync that this book shows up just after I connected with George Druisman and started experimenting with his CTT method. This consists of aiming directly to the source of the trauma, not detaching but acknowledging the level of distress, then tapping on it using his unique innovative form of EFT. (More on CTT in my next post.) 

These words from Dick Sutphen will be my quote of the month in the newsletter:

Nobody punishes us but ourselves. And nobody rewards us but ourselves.

Past-Life Therapy in Action by Dick Sutphen and Lauren Leigh Taylor, Valley of the Sun Publishing, 1983