SYSTEMIC CONSTELLATION WORK
SYSTEMIC CONSTELLATION WORK
When the family has been brought into its natural order, the individual can leave it behind him while still feeling the strength of his family supporting him. Only when the connection to his family is acknowledged, and the person’s responsibility seen clearly and then distributed, can the individual feel unburdened and go about his personal affairs without anything from the past weighing him down or holding him back.”
- Bert Hellinger
The Family or Systemic Constellation method was founded in the 1990’s by psychologist, philosopher and author Bert Hellinger, who studied and treated families for more than 50 years, observed that many of us unconsciously take on ourselves destructive familial patterns of anxiety, depression, anger, guilt, aloneness, alcoholism and even illness as a way of "belonging" in our families.
This method is now used in many areas of human work, for example, in therapeutic institutions and psychosomatic clinics. However, it is much more than a therapeutic method, which can be recorded and passed on in rules and usage instructions.
Previously a Catholic Priest in Hellinger went to South Africa as a missionary to the Zulu people in the 1950’s and 60’s. In the 16 years he spent with them, he learned their language and observed their indigenous healing traditions, noting the significance of ancestral patterns and effects of transgenerational trauma on the lives of individuals. after leaving the priesthood in the 1960’s, Hellinger studied modern psychology with several teachers.
His work is also influenced by:
Alfred Adler, who theorized that individual is bonded in relationship to other members of is family system;
Jacob Moreno, founder of psychodrama;
Ivan Boszormenyl-Nagy, pioneer of transgenerational systemic thinking;
Milton Erickson, pioneer of brief therapy and hypnotherapy;
Eric Berne who conceived the concept of life scripts; and
Virginia Satir, developer of family sculpture – the precursor of Family Constellations.
This work uniquely uncovers destructive family dynamics that may be lingering beneath the surface. Constellations are usually carried out with a group of people, where members of the group play the roles of representatives for family members or sometimes other concepts or parts of a person such as heart, body and mind. By using this method, the order of things can be restored and love can flow freely in the system.
However, it also works in individual sessions where small figures can be used to represent family members or even where one can hold family members in one’s mind. Or, sometimes even using clarifying, simple sentences dissolve the entanglements. Everyone can find his place and the image of a new order emerges: the order of love. This image unfolds in our inner healing effect.
In order to belong in our family system we have to abide by the “conscience” of system the rules that keep the family together. This is not connected to right or wrong an example of this is say in a family where committing crime is the norm, to belong we must commit crime. A person will experience feelings of guilt if they disregard their family conscience this leads to feelings of not belonging. Often in loyalty to their system and in particular their parent’s people will limit themselves in their own lives in a vain attempt to belong.
Working with several thousands of families, Hellinger discovered “Orders of Love” that operate in the depths of family systems and in the human soul. Violation and disrespect of these natural laws due to tragic circumstances and unconscious behavior in past generations affect the lives of later generations.
The orders of love with respect to the personal conscience:
The need for bonding or belonging.
The need to maintain a balance between giving and taking.
The need for order (safety of social convention and predictability).
The orders of love with respect to the systemic conscience:
Everyone who is a member of the system has the right to belong.
Those who come first have (a form of) priority over those who come later.
Those who come first give to those who come later.
With regard to systems, later systems have priority over earlier systems.
If the orders aren’t followed, love is blocked within the family system and entanglements occur. By using Family Constellation method deep pains can be relieved often even more quickly than traditional psychotherapy could do. But that is not all it does: when those standing in for family members follow their spontaneous movements, not only are family entanglements revealed, but we also discover what leads to healing. And this Healing movements could also be also supported by the interventions of the therapist, who brings in missing or excluded family-members, suggests new, conscious behaviour. Finally a new, more natural and healing balance for the whole system can be found, where the love between its members can flow again in a new and more conscious way.