Oprah continues her Soul Series with the fascinating story of Miami psychiatrist Dr. Brian Weiss, author of Many Lives, Many Masters. Dr. Weiss, a Yale Medical School graduate, says he had always considered himself to be an academician—a pragmatic, "show me" kind of person who didn't give much thought to anything spiritual or mystical. That is, until he began working with a patient he calls "Catherine."
Dr. Weiss says Catherine had come to him suffering from depression, phobias and panic attacks. To help relax her and enhance her memory, Dr. Weiss used hypnosis and asked her to go back to the time when her symptoms first started. Under hypnosis, Catherine went back to 1863 B.C. "She went back about 4,000 years to an ancient New Eastern lifetime—different face, hair—drowning in a flood or tidal wave, her daughter being torn from her arms by the force of the water," Dr. Weiss says.
Dr. Weiss says he was not immediately convinced that Catherine's story was real. "It was going to take a lot more to convince me because I was so left-brained," he says. "I thought, 'Maybe it's imagination or a metaphor or Freudian or Jungian or something like that.'" Weiss noted that Catherine's inexplicable lifelong fear of choking disappeared after she related the memory of a drowning so long ago. "She began to look radiant," he remembers, "Her symptoms—the anxiety, the phobias, the panic attacks—disappeared."
Dr. Weiss says since he first met Catherine 27 years ago, he's worked with more than 4,000 patients with other amazing stories. He tells Oprah of patients who've found children from past lives, eventually being reunited with family members in other parts of the world who validate their stories. Dr. Weiss says these cases provide evidence of the origins of the soul. "We not only have people getting better, we're collecting data…that points to us as being souls, not bodies—that we existed before and we will exist after."