This occurred for a client recently who was in a lot of emotional pain from the feeling that those people he most loved always left him. When we asked in regression for the source of this pattern, events of loss and abandonment from his childhood came up rather than a past life experience. Although the client knew about these events, he had never fully explored them in his adulthood. In regression he recalled many details that he was not consciously aware of. And he was able to tap into and release much of the fear, pain, and bewilderment that he felt as a child in response to these events.
He reported later that he felt an amazing sense of release and lightness as if he had dumped a very heavy burden he had been carrying much of his life. So although we didn't 'go past life,' the client still achieved the desired outcome. I always trust a client's higher knowing that whatever is most helpful for them in the moment is the direction the session will go, even if occasionally it's not into a prior life experience.