Today, when we talk about family system therapy, we think about Bert Hellinger and his method of Family Constellation. At twenty years old, he began to train as a priest, and in his next sixteen years, he worked as a missionary among the Zulus in South Africa. His experience was very and varied throughout the Second World War in Africa where he was exposed to rituals and shamanism. After twenty-five years, he left his religious order and returned to Germany.
Hellinger studied many approaches to therapy such as Breath and Body-based Therapy, Gestalt - Transactional Analysis, Family System Therapy, Family Constellation, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Provocative Therapy and Holding Therapy.
Hellinger is led by his spirit of inquiry. He calls his method phenomenological. Through testing and working with many individuals, he has discovered many rules that govern our lives and destinies.
The Power of Family Constellation
Through being born into a family, we inherit not only our biological genes but also our belief systems and behaviour patterns. Our family is an energy field within which we are held, each in our unique position, from the time we were born. This family energy field limits or enhances our capacity for happiness, freedom of choice, success in accomplishing our goals, ability to maintain enjoyable relationships, health, and well-being. We may feel that we have been held in a pattern of problems for eternity, but Family Constellation offers us a chance to understand these patterns at the deepest level. They enable us to bring our pattern to resolution and thus find peace and happiness.
The character of our Family energy field is formed by our family’s history, including its religion and beliefs, even the country’s characteristics we were born into. Our Family system is shaped by power events such as the relationship history of the parents and grandparents, early death of children, miscarriages, abortions, adoptions, suicides, mental illness, incest, betrayal, cheating, trust, secrets, abuse, wars, having to leave one’s country, changing one’s religion, ancestors who were victims or perpetrators.
The essence of working with Family constellation is ACKNOWLEDGING WHAT IS. We can heal our family system. We are empowered through understanding the mechanisms to control our behaviour so as not to cause self-distractions and suffering to the following generation.
What Kind of Unwanted Pattern Do We Work?
Family Constellation can be used for a wide variety of problems, including physical, mental, social, or spiritual issues.
We are seeing clients coming with:
Depression - low mood
Failure at work - no promotion, not having your dream job
Negative relationship patterns - friends, love, co-worker, boss
Family dysfunction - especially with parents
Trauma - from childhood
Obsessive thoughts - negative and false beliefs
Benefits for Clients and Their Family
Clients have stories – the stories they always tell about their families: their father was like this; their mother was like that; they suffered thus and so. They come with a family picture of who the good and the bad guys in their family are. They have told these stories hundreds of times and yet telling them brought no fundamental changes. These stories are never true o the Soul Level.
A family constellation sets clients’ families free from this paradigm. They discover the rules that govern their family energy field. They experience how various members are caught up and moved to behave and act in certain ways, rather than acting out of free choice. And at the end of the constellation, they are left with the healing image that percolates over time into their lives and into their family energy field.
Because it affects the whole family energy field, a constellation has an effect on all the members of a family, not only on the person who set it up.
Benefits for Representatives
Representatives stand in the place of the person (client’s mother, father, or child, a victim, a perpetrator, etc.) or an abstract concept or entity (death, life, country, obstacle etc. ) and are chosen by either the facilitator or the client. It doesn’t matter who is chosen to represent. Usually, it is better to have a man representing men, and women representing women but it is not a requirement. I found that it makes no real difference except in the case where, in a group sufficiently rich in participants of both genders, a client chooses a man to represent a woman or vice versa. Then the choice is significant.
A representative takes on and experiences the deep feelings of the person he or she is representing. Representatives feel many emotions. Emotions are still, intense, and profoundly intimate. They are the deepest point of the suffering and the very center of the pain. They give constellation work its beauty and move a constellation toward resolution. They serve to release deeper traumas or energetic blocks in the family system.
A common expression used for representing is “being in service”. Representatives serve the family energy field by surrendering to it and letting it guide them. They allow emotions, thoughts, and feelings coming through the energy field and experience the pain and suffering, illness, needs, loves and fears, joys and sorrows of the people they represent. Often these are emotions that the original person could not feel.
Representatives give information to the facilitator and the client through what they do and say or, when advanced, simply through letting the field move them. Representing truly is a scared task.
Benefit for the Observer
The task of observers is to hold and sustain the energy field that the constellation brings into being with their attention. In a way, the observer gets it all free. As an observer you can witness profound love, deep feelings, human dramas unfold and find their resolution in front of your eyes. Learning how human life works and the Soul Level.