Now and Then

Reincarnation, Psychiatry and Daily Life

By Denys Kelsey MB, BChir, MRCP

Published by the Trencavel Press on February 5th 2007

ISBN 978-0-9545786-2-6

229 pages. £13.99

Denys Kelsey qualified as a doctor but specialised in psychiatry for close on 50 years after discovering a gift for hypnosis. He will always be remembered for introducing to modern psychiatry the fact, as he believed it to be, that not only have we all had many lives before our current one but that the origin of some psychiatric problems may lie in a patient’s former lifetime and still be accessible to therapy. His unique approach resulted in the rapid resolution of a considerable number of psychiatric problems that had not responded to therapy within the usual framework of psychiatry. Surprisingly, he found his belief in reincarnation focused attention on the ‘Here and Now’.

In the first part of the book Denys draws heavily on his cases to make a convincing case for believing in reincarnation. And, since one cannot believe in reincarnation without believing in the reality of a non-physical component that can reincarnate, he offers some thoughts concerning this and the part it plays in consciousness. 

The second part of the book is largely concerned with the contribution that reincarnation makes to our understanding of character. He explains why he is convinced that although character traits reincarnate and are often the crucial factor in a psychiatric problem, nevertheless we have the power to change them if we choose to do so. This has proved of immense value in therapy. Thoughts and insights are shared that explain in a novel way how certain common psychiatric problems develop in daily life, how they can be dealt with and how they can be forestalled.  These are expressed in simple non-technical terms. And, as throughout the book, points are illustrated by reference to actual cases.

The two parts of the book are closely linked and Part II in particular distinguishes it from other books that have been published in recent years about reincarnation and ‘past-life therapy’. The two parts complement one another to form a unity, which Denys thought of as a legacy to all people, lay and professional.

Now and Then is written in a flowing style that makes it easily accessible to all readers and provides a fascinating insight into the effects of past lives on our everyday living.


' is a treasure worth having.' C.Norman Shealy

'I can ... assure the reader that if like me, you hold that the soul is eternal but has the propensity to become embodied for the purposes of its spiritual evolution, you will find both of these books immensely interesting.
... Denys Kelsey writes touchingly, with humour and self-deprecation.'

Andrew Powell, Network Review

'The book is written in a lively style. The case stories are telling and dramatic; more so than is usual in conventional psychotherapy. The medically oriented passages are well informed. The tone throughout reflects an unquestioning conviction in the reality of reincarnation. Dr Kelsey ends with the challenging thought that we are fated to return to this planet in the state we leave it.'

Donald West, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research

'The author, who completed this engaging and unusual memoir shortly before his death in 2004, was one of the first psychiatrists to take seriously the idea that experience from a past life can cause personality disorders in the present one. He came to believe in reincarnation while reading Winged Pharaoh by Joan Grant, whom he later married and with whom he wrote Many Lifetimes (1957). Her remarkable ability to recall what she firmly believed to be her own past lives no doubt strengthened Kelsey's belief, which in turn seems to have enabled him to provide rapid cures for patients more conventional therapists had been unable to help.

'Indeed, as he gleefully points out, a few sessions of regression under hypnosis (or even just one) can achieve what might take a Freudian analyst five sessions a week for five years! The full transcript of one such high-speed cure of a serious phobia makes fascinating reading. This is one of those cases which, Kelsey says, he would have been unable to cure without using regression.

'This book is somewhat more technical than its predecessor and seems to be aimed mainly at professional therapists, although its informal style makes for easy reading, and Kelsey is a congenial and experienced guide to the labyrinths of the mind.'

Guy Lyon Playfair, Light Summer 2007

The first part of this book draws on Dr. Kelsey’s clinical experience in order to make a convincing case for reincarnation, while the second part explores its contribution to our understanding of character. Readers of this magazine will no doubt agree with Kelsey’s observation that “a certain particular trait frequently plays a significant part in the development of a variety of individual neurotic conditions as well as being responsible for widespread human misery”, and also his claim that the aim of therapy is “firstly, to help a person recognise the trait within himself, and then to choose to change it.”. I particularly like his analysis of what he calls the “Power Merchant” – a theme with countless possible variations, with some of which we can probably all resonate. In talking about ‘Anger and the Power Merchant’, the author quotes from Winged Pharaoh, when the Pharaoh says to his daughter Sekeeta (=Joan in a previous life) “Remember! Anger beneath your will is a flail in your hand, but uncontrolled anger is a lash upon your shoulders.” A book to be recommended both to those new to our therapy and to ‘old timers’!

Ann Merivale, International Deep Memory Association 2008

'Now and Then was published posthumously thanks in great part to the tireless efforts of Denys' second wife Machteld who was closely associated with his work from 1979. It is an immensely readable book written in a style that makes it easily accessible to all types of reader. As Denys puts it in his introduction: "If a colleague happens upon this book, I hope he will find something of interest, but it is written for anyone who, at some time has asked himself: 'Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? And is there any purpose in Life?"

'I thoroughly recommend this book as an exciting and coherent exploration of reincarnation and one that in the light of the social and environmental crisis we are facing, challenges the idea that it is only our children who will inherit the world we leave behind!'

Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, New Vision, January 2009

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