Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, And The Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives

Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, And The Past-Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives

by Brian L. Weiss M.D.


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From author and psychotherapist Dr. Brian Weiss comes the classic bestseller on the true case of the past-life therapy that changed the lives of both the prominent psychiatrist and young patient involved—now featuring a new afterword by the author.

As a traditional psychotherapist, Dr. Brian Weiss was astonished and skeptical when one of his patients began recalling past-life traumas that seemed to hold the key to her recurring nightmares and anxiety attacks. His skepticism was eroded, however, when she began to channel messages from the “space between lives,” which contained remarkable revelations about Dr. Weiss’ family and his dead son. Using past-life therapy, he was able to cure the patient and embark on a new, more meaningful phase of his own career. With more than one million copies in print, Many Lives, Many Masters is one of the breakthrough texts in alternative psychotherapy and remains as provocative and timeless as it was when first published.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780671657864
Publisher: Touchstone
Publication date: 07/15/1988
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 13,948
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Brian L. Weiss, MD, a psychiatrist, lives and practices in Miami, Florida. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School and is the Chairman Emeritus of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami. Dr. Weiss maintains a private practice in Miami and conducts international seminars and experiential workshops as well as training programs for professionals. He is also the author of Through Time into Healing and Same Soul, Many Bodies. You can visit his website at

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

The first time I saw Catherine she was wearing a vivid crimson dress and was nervously leafing through a magazine in my waiting room. She was visibly out of breath. For the previous twenty minutes she had been pacing the corridor outside the Department of Psychiatry offices, trying to convince herself to keep her appointment with me and not run away.

I went out to the waiting room to greet her, and we shook hands. I noticed that hers were cold and damp, confirming her anxiety. Actually, it had taken her two months of courage gathering to make an appointment to see me even though she had been strongly advised to seek my help by two staff physicians, both of whom she trusted. Finally, she was here.

Catherine is an extraordinarily attractive woman, with medium-length blond hair and hazel eyes. At that time, she worked as a laboratory technician in the hospital where I was Chief of Psychiatry, and she earned extra money modeling swimwear.

I ushered her into my office, past the couch and to a large leather chair. We sat across from each other, my semicircular desk separating us. Catherine leaned back in her chair, silent, not knowing where to begin. I waited, preferring that she choose the opening, but after a few minutes I began inquiring about her past. On that first visit we began to unravel who she was and why she had come to see me.

In answer to my questions, Catherine revealed the story, of her life. She was the middle child, reared in a conservative Catholic family in a small Massachusetts town. Her brother, born three years earlier than she, was very athletic, and he enjoyed a freedom that she was never allowed. Her younger sister was the favorite of both parents.

When we started to talk about her symptoms, she became noticeably more tense and nervous. Her speech was rapid, and she leaned forward, resting her elbows on the desk. Her life had always been burdened with fears. She feared water, feared choking to the extent that she could not swallow pills, feared airplanes, feared the dark, and she was terrified of dying. In the recent past, her fears had begun to worsen. In order to feel safe, she often slept in the walk-in closet in her apartment. She suffered two to three hours of insomnia before being able to fall alseep. Once asleep, she would sleep lightly and fitfully, awakening frequently. The nightmares and sleepwalking episodes that had plagued her childhood were returning. As her fears and symptoms increasingly paralyzed her, she became more and more depressed.

As Catherine continued to talk, I could sense how deeply she was suffering. Over the years I had helped many patients like Catherine through the agonies of their fears, and I felt confident that I could help her, too. I decided we would begin by delving into her childhood, looking for the original sources of her problems. Usually this kind of insight helps to alleviate anxiety. If necessary, and if she could manage to swallow pills, I would offer her some mild anti-anxiety medications to make her more comfortable. This was standard textbook treatment for Catherine's symptoms, and I never hesitated to use tranquilizers, or even antidepressant medicines, to treat chronic, severe fears and anxieties. Now I use these medicines much more sparingly and only temporarily, if at all. No medicine can reach the real roots of these symptoms. My experiences with Catherine and others like her have proved this to me. Now I know there can be cures, not just the suppression or covering-over of symptoms.

During the first session, I kept trying to gently nudge her back to her childhood. Because Catherine remembered amazingly few events from her early years, I made a mental note to consider hypnotherapy as a possible shortcut to overcome this repression. She could not remember any particularly traumatic moments in her childhood that would explain the epidemic of fears in her life.

As she strained and stretched her mind to remember, isolated memory fragments emerged. When she was about five years old, she had panicked when someone had pushed her off a diving board into a swimming pool. She said that even before that incident, however, she had never felt comfortable in water. When Catherine was eleven, her mother had become severely depressed. Her mother's strange withdrawal from the family necessitated visits to a psychiatrist with ensuing electroshock treatments. These treatments had made it difficult for her mother to remember things. This experience with her mother frightened Catherine, but, as her mother improved and became "herself" again, Catherine said that her fears dissipated. Her father had a long-standing history of alcohol abuse, and sometimes Catherine's brother had to retrieve their father from the local bar. Her father's increasing alcohol consumption led to his having frequent fights with her mother, who would then become moody and withdrawn. However, Catherine viewed this as an accepted family pattern.

Things were better outside the home. She dated in high school and mixed in easily with her friends, most of whom she had known for many years. However, she found it difficult to trust people, especially those outside her small circle of friends.

Her religion was simple and unquestioned. She was raised to believe in traditional Catholic ideology and practices, and she had never really doubted the truthfulness and validity of her faith. She believed that if you were a good Catholic and lived properly by observing the faith and its rituals, you would be rewarded by going to heaven; if not, you would experience purgatory or hell. A patriarchal God and his Son made these final decisions. I later learned that Catherine did not believe in reincarnation; in fact, she knew very little about the concept, although she had read sparingly about the Hindus. Reincarnation was an idea contrary to her upbringing and understanding. She had never read any metaphysical or occult literature, having had no interest in it. She was secure in her beliefs.

After high school, Catherine completed a two-year technical program, emerging as a laboratory technician. Armed with a profession and encouraged by her brother's move to Tampa, Catherine landed a job in Miami at a large teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Miami School of Medicine. She moved to Miami in the spring of 1974, at the age of twenty-one.

Catherine's life in a small town had been easier than her life in Miami turned out to be, yet she was glad she had fled her family problems.

During her first year in Miami, Catherine met Stuart. Married, Jewish, and with two children, he was totally different from any other man she had ever dated. He was a successful physician, strong and aggressive. There was an irresistible chemistry between them, but their affair was rocky and tempestuous. Something about him drew out her passions and awakened her, as if she were charmed by him. At the time Catherine started therapy, her affair with Stuart was in its sixth year and very much alive, if not well. Catherine could not resist Stuart although he treated her poorly, and she was furious at his lies, broken promises, and manipulations.

Several months prior to her appointment with me, Catherine had required vocal cord surgery for a benign nodule. She had been anxious prior to the surgery but was absolutely terrified upon awakening in the recovery room. It took hours for the nursing staff to calm her. After her recovery in the hospital, she sought out Dr. Edward Poole. Ed was a kindly pediatrician whom Catherine had met while working in the hospital. They had both felt an instant rapport and had developed a close friendship. Catherine talked freely to Ed, telling him of her fears, her relationship with Stuart, and that she felt she was losing control over her life. He insisted that she make an appointment with me and only me, not with any of my associate psychiatrists. When Ed called to tell me about his referral, he explained that, for some reason, he thought only I could truly understand Catherine, even though the other psychiatrists also had excellent credentials and were skilled therapists. Catherine did not call me, however.

Eight weeks passed. In the crunch of my busy practice as head of the Department of Psychiatry, I had forgotten about Ed's call. Catherine's fears and phobias worsened. Dr. Frank Acker, Chief of Surgery, had known Catherine casually for years, and they often bantered good-naturedly when he visited the laboratory where she worked. He had noticed her recent unhappiness and sensed her tension. Several times he had meant to say something to her but had hesitated. One afternoon, Frank was driving to a smaller, out-of-the way hospital to give a lecture. On the way, he saw Catherine driving to her home, which was close to that hospital, and impulsively waved her to the side of the road. "I want you to see Dr. Weiss now," he yelled through the window. "No delays." Although surgeons often act impulsively, even Frank was surprised at how emphatic he was.

Catherine's panic attacks and anxiety were increasing in frequency and duration. She began having two recurrent nightmares. In one, a bridge collapsed while she was driving across it. Her car plunged into the water below, and she was trapped and drowning. In the second dream, she was trapped in a pitch-black room, stumbling and falling over things, unable to find a way out. Finally, she came to see me.

At the time of my first session with Catherine, I had no idea that my life was about to turn upside down, that the frightened, confused woman across the desk from me would be the catalyst, and that I would never be the same again.

Copyright © 1988 by Brian L. Weiss, M.D.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Edith Fiore, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author of You Have Been Here Before This thought-provoking, beautifully written book breaks through the barriers of conventional psychotherapy and presents an innovative and highly effective treatment. It should be taken seriously by those in the mental health profession.

Richard Sutphen, author of Past Lives, Future Loves and You Were Born Again to Be Together A spellbinding case history substantiating the effectiveness of past-life therapy. The book will open doors for many who have never considered the validity of reincarnation.

Jeanne Avery, author of Astrology and Your Past Lives A profoundly moving account of one man's unexpected spiritual awakening. This significantly courageous book has opened the door to a marriage between science and metaphysics. Must reading for a soul-searching, hungry world.

Joel Rubinstein, M.D. former instructor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School now in private practice Dr. Weiss integrates concepts of traditional psychotherapy and the exploration of his patient's spiritual unconscious. My view of myself and others will never be quite the same.

Andrew E. Slaby, M.D. Ph.D., M.P.H. Medical Director, Fair Oaks Hospital An interesting, well-written and thought-provoking exploration of the influence of past-life therapy on present behavior. You cannot put it down without feeling empathetic with Dr. Weiss's conclusions.

Jeanne Avery author of Astrology and Your Past Lives A profoundly moving account of one man's unexpected spiritual awakening. This significantly courageous book has opened the door to a marriage between science and metaphysics. Must reading for a soul-searching, hungry world.

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Many Lives, Many Masters 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 119 reviews.
Maria_of_amor More than 1 year ago
Many Lives, Many Masters clearly explains, for open-minded, life learners, why we are all inter-connected. Why we are placed in this plane of existence. To learn life lessons, painful or not. and to reduce, or eliminate karmic debt. It gives clear and comprehensive reasons why our actions, or inactions, MATTER! Dr. Brian Weiss, MD's writing style is impressive! As a prominent psychiatrist, he does not use psychiatric psycho-babble, but clear, down-to-earth, comprehensive, lovely to read, synopsis' of hyponotic regression of a patient. She starts therapy in distress, and when conventional therapy doesn't produce results, she is cured by discovering her connectedness to life, and others, via Past Lives. The patient enriches her own life, and produces tremendous learning capacity, insight, into the psychiatrist's life, as well. LOVED this book! I do recommend it to ALL.
StephanieR More than 1 year ago
I read this book when it first came out, long before I knew where my life would take me. I'd had a Near Death Experience at 19, (which I kept to myself) and I'd always had "inklings" of a direct past life as a doctor. But like many people, it wasn't something I thought much about. It wasn't until my husband died in my arms and "came back" to me that I re-read Brian's wonderfully helpful book, and it allowed me makes sense of what was happening to me. Because I'm a hypnotherapist, I took his professional training, and have done so many past life regressions over the past four years, that it seems strange that anyone could doubt the validity of this kind of therapy. But I realize that's my own specific "perception." If you, too, are a therapist or just interested in this work, you might want to take his week-long training. Brian is charming, funny, accessible and both he and his wife Carole teach with kindness. I recommend "Many Masters, Many Lives," to all my clients, because it helps to ground them in the multi-dimensional nature of their souls, and I recommend it to you, too!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My son of 21 years, 2 months and 22 days was murdered in Miami, Florida on October 15th, 1988. I raised my 3 sons as a single father from ages 9 years, 7 years and 4 years. When my name sake was taken from me, and I do realize that it is a selfish emotion, I was devastated. Brought him home in a pine box on my birthday. LET ME TELL YOU, this book SAVED MY LIFE! Believe it or not it changed my whole outlook. I highly recommend it for anyone who has lost a loved one; especially a child. God speed Dr. Weiss.
Booklover823 More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful book. I recommend this book to anyone struggling in life and with the people in (or not in) your life. If you get anything out of this book it will be an understanding of the human soul. I also recommend Same Soul, Many bodies by Brian Weiss as well.
CliffWhoReads More than 1 year ago
Dr. Brian Weiss, a well established psychiatrist, placed a high-anxiety patient under hypnosis. While in this state, she revealed details of a number of previous lives. So far, this sounds like an old film, “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever”, but the story goes further. While in the hypnotic state, the patient communicates the words of “Masters” from this other worldly plane. These supervisors of the reincarnation process provide Dr. Weiss with insights into why our lives are recycled and where the afterlife actually leads. Technically, this is a fairly well written book. It does flow quickly, although some of the patient’s other life experiences are very general and a bit of a bore. Likewise, the Masters do not really provide major breakthroughs, yet one cannot deny that their comments are of interest. The question that is often asked is whether Dr. Weiss’s account is factually true. He makes it clear that his patient could not possibly have fabricated the stories which she communicates over a number of sessions, so the question concerns Dr. Weiss’s veracity. For what it is worth, this reader was not totally convinced. (Not totally unconvinced, either!) However, is it really necessary for the story to be a factual retelling of Dr. Weiss’s experience? Fiction, as well as non-fiction, can provide us with truth. Taken from that perspective, this can be a pleasant reading experience.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I truly cannot put Brian's books down! Past life regression seemed so flaky to me before reading these real life regressions and progressions. It makes me more at peace with the energies that I am surrounded by every day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Absolutely amazing. Well written, easy has so much to teach us. Or, according to this book, we have so much to teach ourselves. Enlightening...a feel-good book. I never before felt my time was put to good use with a book, but this blew me away. I'm not a reader and hardly ever read, but I read it in one day. Couldn't put it down. Highly recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this a while ago but it is a book I will never forget. And if you do believe in past lives it is something to read. I am sure that you too, will enjoy it like I did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of my students gave me this book to read, and I was surprised when Dr. Brian Weiss talked about past lives as well as explained how understanding one's past life could cure any disease in the present life. Thus, I attended a medical conference in Virginia Beach where I heard him discuss these very aspects with other professionals. During the conference, I was able to bring forth past memories from another life time. Also, I was able to check out these facts and verified that they were true. Therefore, this book became even more meaningful to me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is good because it opens up a discussion on a critical subject, reincarnation, which is long denied in our rational science. The author himself is a medical practitioner also gives extra credit as well as argument to this book. The concept of reincarnation has long been existed in the history of many civilizations. The argument of its truthness is still an open-debate. What is the difference between a living body and a corpse? Does our hearts just happen to beat by themselves? If we reduce all forms (body and objects) to their very molecular level, we may find our bodies a mere combination of various chemical substances. So where does the life energy come from? Scientists told us that the energy of our universe does not diminish or increase, but it takes place in different forms. When the body deceases, the energy goes into another body and continues to exist. Some people may raise the question that the world population is increasing, if the quantity of energy is consistent, where does the extra energy come from? Let me explain, there is no extra energy. The energy is always out there but takes place in different forms. Human form is not the only living forms exist on earth. However, this is another level of discussion that i may not go further here. Yet, people still ask, 'Is there really reincarnation?' It is a difficult and dangerous question, just as the question, 'Does God exist?' After all, truth is truth, whether we believe it or not. Nobody in history ever witness soul, memory, love and other metaphysical things. Do they exist? Another point I would like to make is the BC argument by another reader of this book is reasonable, the author may distort his story for commercial purpose is also reasonable (it is a common practice in many publications anyway.) However, it would be unreasonable to overrule the whole concept of reincarnation simply because of a flaw found in a book. It is very important to have an open mind while our modern science is still searching for explanations of our world. I recommend this book to anyone who interest in Before/After life path. Further discussion/opinion welcome.
Rgutro More than 1 year ago
If things seem familiar to you, or you're drawn to certain periods in history, you may have lived during that time in that place. This book relays is a professional psychatrist's shock and surprise at one of his patient's revelation of detailed past lives she led. In fact, she led 86 past lives as a woman or a man, child or adult, and the things she described could only be known by someone that lived in a certain place at a given time - unless she researched and memorized intimate details of each, which is impossible. It's a fascinating account of how souls journey through time to live life after life to achieve the true purpose of life: faith, hope and love. Basically, you keep coming back until you get it right, and most people are going to come back a lot- just look around you at the materialism, prejudice, grudges, greed, hatred and intolerance of others and you'll see who'll come back to Earth as another person to learn more lessons. Bottom line, we all need to love and respect each other, and you've been here before. - Just read about the young boy who turned out to have all the memories of a WWII fighter pilot that died during the war. Now as a teen, his memories of this life have wiped out the memories of his past life, but not before his mother recorded the details, and researched - which led her to find out who her son was in a past life. They even met the dead man's sister who is still alive, and she confirmed other details! Life is a lot more interesting than we think.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was extremely moved when I read this book as although what Dr. Brian experiences and discovers after regressing Catherine the values may be consistent with most religions, it also highlights that under the face of science, we learn to be cynics and view everything with scepticism. This book shows that life is indeed a full circle with no beginning and no end. It teaches how spirituality has a higher standing universally than religion. it teaches importance of patience and understanding and the importance of being a better being.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and read the entire thing in a day and a half. I want to believe it is true and not just a hokey money-making scheme. My inclination is to believe that Weiss is telling the truth and that he really has had these experiences with patients. But I am a skeptic and admit that I go back and forth between thinking it is fact and fiction. Nevertheless, the principles it teaches are valuable and if we adopt them, the world will be a better place.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been an atheist all my life despite (or is it as a result of?) attending Hebrew school as a child and Christian school from 4th through 12th grade. In my final year in college, I took an Intro to Buddhism course and was immediately intrigued by Buddhist teachings and philosophies. But my exploration of Buddhism hit a wall, because I could not convince myself to subscribe to one of the fundamental tennets of Buddhism: the belief in reincarnation. I just didn't believe in reincarnation at all. I was always of the "You Die and That's It" school. Nothing even remotely changed this view for years--until last week when I read this book. In the span of less than 24 hours, I went from not believing in reincarnation at all to being almost completely convinced of its existence.  The methods he describes using to obtain this material don't rule out contact with less enlightened spirits, which Dr. Weiss admits at one point. So the "many masters" may not have been masters at all. He does show how past life regression can be a powerful tool in healing emotional problems and phobias. Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls by Michael Newton, Ph.D, another regression therapist, are much more in depth and informative, though they deal with life between lives more than the mechanics of reincarnation itself. If your budget calls for more bang for your buck, your money might be better spent on classic "must read" books on reincarnation: Many Mansions by Gina Cerminara & You Were Born Again To Be Together by Dick Sutphen.    
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. Dr. Weiss has such great credentials that it helped me to see his work as very creditable. This was very helpful since I was skeptical. I was a believer in past lives, yet I wasn't. This book made me a believer and made me feel comfortable with that belief. I was initially pretty freaked out. But now I feel pretty OK about it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you know nothing about past life regression, reincarnation, etc, then this is a good place to start. Dr. Weiss spends a great deal of time explaining (over and over again) that he is a scientist and wants PROOF. He shows that he gets the proof that he is looking for and is surprised by this. However, if you already know anything about past lives, then this book will be a tad unilluminating. I felt the Dr. Weiss spent too much time trying to protect his career instead of giving the message that the 'masters' sent to him. I suppose that is understandable, but it was easy to skip several pages in each chapter that were devoted to this topic. Overall, a good book to start with - an easy introduction to past life regression.
Gigi73 More than 1 year ago
This book has so much for us to learn from, I know that I was so drawn to the teachings offered and couldn't wait to read the whole book that I just read it in a matter of a few hours. I definitely plan to read and meditate on the teachings. It has given me a lot to think about.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I cried when I started to read this book, couldn't put it down. This has said what I have been saying from when I was a teen, I dream and see things, but after I read this book I knew that It will be ok to let It flow, not to be afraid.
cewood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Purchased for Erin from the recommendation of Tammy Cunningham. Very interesting and thought-provokign book.
Pranamama5 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had the pleasure of attending Dr. Weiss's Regression Therapy Training at Omega Institute and I can tell you, Dr. Weiss is the real deal! His compassion and willingness to share his knowledge is a blessing. "Many Lives, Many Masters" is a great place to start but I suggest you work your way through all his books and experience his meditation'll be in for an experience that will change your view on life and your relationships!
luvoldnew8 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A true story of a psychiatrist living in Miami, who takes a patient through past life regressions via hypnosis. She has led 86 previous lives. Through hypnosis she is cured of her numerous fears and while in deep trances reveals Master Spirits to the doctor. It is a spiritual journey for all -- the patient, the doctor and the reader.
-Cee- on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dr Weiss (psychiatrist) records in detail his experiences with a young woman who seeks his expertise in overcoming severe fears and anxieties in her life. True story. After 18 months of unsucessful treatment, Weiss decides to try hypnosis to search her early childhood for traumas that may be causing her distress. Much to his surprise she goes back even further - to previous lives. Being well trained at Columbia and Yale in the scientific method of observation and discovery, he has a difficult time with this very personal experience. He finally gets to a point he can no longer NOT believe. Bottom line: the patient and doctor find the problems and cure the fears. But the experience is so much more than that for both of them.Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, this book is fascinating. And frankly, I don't find it offensive in any way. The views in this book are consistent with many faiths around the world. The excesses, rites, and man-made structures of all religions are stripped away to expose the "secrets" of life and death. This is a book to lessen anxiety and the fear of death. It aims to promote spiritualism and instill hope. It briefly outlines a path for evolving spirits and living in harmony... starting with do not kill and emphasizing balance. If you dare, read it and see what you think. Because you will think something!Recommended.
Lilac_Lily01 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am always eager to learn something new or approach life from a new perspective. And this book certainly did the trick. "Many Lives, Many Masters" is an interesting account of a psychotherapist who discovered that under hypnosis his patient would share experiences from her previous lifetimes. During those sessions the patient shared some unique insights into life, death and reincarnation. It definitely sheds a new light on life when you think that everybody is here to learn their lessons and that no deed (good or bad) goes unoticed. The book is a quick read and it will capture your attention from the very first page.
diasukie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one is a real page turner. Fascinating reading. I'll be looking for other work by Brian Weiss and looking up others that he himself has researched. By the way - where are the missing texts from the Bible that were deleted?
dragonasbreath on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It can be boring at times, but it is an interesting read. It comes up with possibilities of life, and after life. Part of the purpose of this book is to give hope to those facing the great curtain.