Former long-term resident of the Algarve Judy Sharp has written a book about her 25 years and more experience of working with past life regression for healing – and says that her professional therapy career started right here!
Judy first came to the Algarve in 1992, to look after Quinta da Calma while owners Al and Sylta Kalmbach took a much-needed and long-overdue three-week holiday. Back then, Quinta da Calma was the only centre of its kind in the region – perhaps in the whole of Portugal – offering a menu of yoga, tai chi and meditation alongside a range of complementary therapies. Three weeks turned into three months as Al was taken ill, and by the time the Kalmbachs returned, Judy had started her own journey, one that was to change the course of her life. She takes up the story:
Complementary therapies, spirituality – none of that was on my radar until I met Sylta in Gibraltar, where I had my own companies and was suffering from typical “running-your-own-business-it-is”. On the recommendation of a friend, I booked a session with Sylta on one of her regular visits to the Rock.
She was a naturopath and worked with a pendulum to dowse the information she needed: at that time, I had never heard of naturopaths or pendulums! Her diagnosis was that I needed to change my diet and put my body back into balance with prescribed natural vitamins and minerals. In just two weeks, I lost about 15kg in weight, my energy levels went through the roof, and I felt as though I had been plugged back into the mains. I can remember thinking that if that was complementary medicine, I was all for it!
After a run-in with the Government of Gibraltar, I was forced to close my companies, and so when the call came from Sylta, there was nothing to stop me taking a working holiday in the Algarve – a holiday that turned into 20 of the happiest years of my life!
The office at Quinta da Calma was also the library, so I was surrounded by books on everything from Ayurveda to Zen. On the doorstep was a team of therapists who offered me treatments in a range of modalities, from shiatsu and acupuncture to Reiki and even re-birthing. That was my introduction to the whole world of spirituality, energy work and complementary therapies and I took to it like the proverbial duck to water. I decided to learn one of these many therapies for myself – but which one?
A Scotsman called Ron Pittendrigh was a good friend of the Quinta. He had had a corporate career, as I had, and he had changed course too: he ran a successful hypnotherapy practice in the area. The more I learned about hypnotherapy, the more I liked the sound of it, so when Ron said he was going to run a course in psychotherapy and hypnotherapy at the Quinta, under the auspices of his home college in London, I signed up on the spot.
By this time I was no longer full time at Quinta da Calma, although the association continued. I was working as a freelance feature writer – I had my own page “Is it just me?” in the Resident for some five years and was a regular contributor to Open Media’s stable of publications including the various Essential magazines.
I was offered what was then a very rare opportunity (especially for a foreigner) to visit the working salt mine just outside Loulé and I jumped at the chance of such a fascinating exclusive. It was only a week before the visit that I remembered I was terrified of being in an enclosed space, especially underground – how could I possibly go down into a mine?
I turned to Ron Pittendrigh, the hypnotherapist, for help. He took me through a session of past life regression, and we found a life where I was a young architect in ancient Egypt. The architect was shut into an underground storage room and left to die. The session was long and intense – but it worked. I was so impressed I decided there and then to learn more about past life regression for healing so I could help other people.
Fast forward to the present day. I am back in England, in private practice as a hypnotherapist, with past life regression as one of my key areas. After more than 25 years of doing this work, I felt qualified to write a book about the subject, and Past Life Healing was published, appropriately, on All Hallows Eve, October 31, 2022: it won the 2022 national Spiritual Writing Competition.
The book explains the concept of reincarnation across history and across cultures; it outlines the research that has been done in the field, both by independent researchers and by therapists; and it includes more than 30 stories from my own case files.
These are everyday men and women, with ages from twenties up to eighty, who sought my help with a range of issues in this life from fears and phobias to emotional trauma; from problems with relationships, sex and money – and even looking for a lost libido!
Not everyone believes in reincarnation, of course: they believe that when the physical body dies, that’s it, there is no more. Personally, I find that a bit wasteful, like single-use plastic: I much prefer the recycling option!
My own work – like that of researcher Dr Ian Stevenson and pioneer therapists in the field such as Dr Michael Newton, Dr Brian Weiss and Roger Woolger – would strongly indicate that there is indeed life before life, and that tracing the root cause of a ‘this life’ issue back to a past life trauma can indeed heal both the past life and this one.
Phobias are among the most common issues that can be traced back. A lady came to see me because she had just become a grandmother for the first time, but her grandson was on the other side of the world and she had a fear of flying, particularly of being shut into the enclosed space of the cabin with no way out.
We found a life where she had been a man in the 1600s in India. He died in an earthquake in Calcutta, trapped under rubble when a building collapsed: he was shut into an enclosed space with no way out.
A man came to see me to give up smoking but also admitted that he was terrified of heights and constantly felt that he was losing his balance. The fear of heights, including not being able to drive over bridges, severely hampered his job as a voluntary driver for a local charity. We found two lives: the first was when he was a young pilot in WWI. The planes then were very fragile and there were no parachutes.
The young man was shot down in just his third mission. That alone would probably account for a fear of heights – his plane nose-diving to the ground in flames, him with no parachute. But something he said to me before the plane crash made me look further. He said, “I was too high to be saved.”
I asked the client, in his deep state of relaxation, to go back to the very first time he was too high to be saved – and back he went to the 1500s, to the time of the Wars of the Roses in England.
He was a soldier high up on the battlements at Warwick Castle, and the armies of York and Essex were engaged in fierce fighting outside the castle walls. A stray arrow pierced his chainmail, he lost his balance, fell backwards off the battlements and smashed his skull as he hit the ground in the keep below.
The soldier gave me quite a bit of detail about dates, people and so on. When I researched the information for the book, the soldier was totally accurate on all the major points. The client admitted when he came round from the past life journey that he had not been good at history at school and knew nothing of the Wars of the Roses.
At his next session, he was smiling broadly – he had been driving over every bridge he could find, he could look up at high cranes on building sites: his fear of heights was gone, as was the balance issue. Oh yes, and he gave up smoking very easily after that!
If I had not gone to the Algarve for three short weeks; if I had not met Ron and learned about hypnotherapy; if he had not resolved my chronic claustrophobia, I would not have embarked on my professional career as a hypnotherapist.
I have a lot to thank the Algarve for and that must surely be near the top of the list!
My book “Past Life Healing” is published by Local Legend
It is available from book shops worldwide, and from Amazon, cover price £8.
More information about my therapy work is on my website: