Re: Confusion about Soul Paches.
I noticed a similar issue myself too. I think when a Soul Patcher "regresses"you, you DO have some skill points removed from skills that are only level 1. If you look at your character screen, yes you will have an increase in the number of skill points that you can now distribute, but if you look carefully at the skills you do not use regularly, and were only at level 1 and they have now been reduced to level 0.
I also tried to regress my character, because I wanted to see what happened too. I gained 5 skill points to add to skills of my choice, however 5 skills that were at level 1, were all reduced to level 0, making them unuseable. ( I could no longer, swim, use any bow skills at all, or use dirty trick. 1 point lost in swimming, 1 point lost in dirty trick, and 3 points lost, one in each of the archery skills i had paid for to learn, but never used...)
I myself have only tried to regress my character once, so I do not know if you can reduce the skill level of a skill that has more than 1 skill point in it. Maybe you can, I don't know for sure, or where for that matter.
I get the feeling that Soul Patchers are bugged maybe. You don't get to choose the skills to reduce like it says you can do so in the manual. Atleast I wasn't able to choose them either.
P.S. it's pretty easy to level up in this game so why would you need to use the Soul Patcher anyways? Go kill a few more baddies and you get some more skill points to distribute.