‘The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see’.Winston S. Churchill
Family constellations or Systemic constellations, developed by the German philosopher and psychotherapist Bert Hellinger, is an approach designed to help with difficult experiences addressing family, social and organisational problems. It helps to reveal the hidden dynamics in order to address any stressors impacting these relationships and heal them.
Systemic constellation approach
Constellation work rests on the integration of phenomenology and constructivism. In short, phenomenology is describing our experience, rather than evaluation and interpreting.
While Constructivism is a perspective that helps us see that we create lenses through which we see things. We generate our own ‘rules’ and ‘mental models’.
In Systemic constellations we look at each person’s place in the inter-connected groups or systems to which they belong, rather than simply focusing on the individual in an isolated way. (Rupert Sheldrake)
During a session the participants tap into their shared experiences rather than acting out a ‘story’.
The Orders of love
Bert Hellinger, who pioneered this work, suggested that when love (from different generations) can’t flow freely in a family, that’s when problems, issues occur. When the orders of love are respected it is then that the love flows more freely and has a helpful and profound effect on our family and social life. They are guidelines not strict rules.
The systemic constellations approach pays attention to following:
- Place – everyone is at the right place within the system
- Time – we acknowledge who came before us
- Belonging – everyone has the right to belong to the system
- Exchange – an equal give and take must be maintained in the system in order for everyone benefit from the system
When any of these is not acknowledged there is an obstacle in the system that can be manifested and made visible by different difficulties (health issues, addictions, problematic relationships etc). This imbalance in the system can be caused by different stressors (trauma, war, injustice…) Often they are deeply unconscious.
The work is done either in a group setting or on a 1-2-1 session. As a group setting there is a facilitator, the issue holder and helpers. The helpers are there to be representatives of the elements of the problem the issue holder would like to work with.
On a 1-2-1 session the facilitator is using figurines to represent the issue.
To set a constellation you don’t even need to go into the details of your issue. That isn’t necessary for me, as the facilitator to know.
What to expect after a session?
This isn’t a quick fix, short-lived solution. It can take some months for the full benefits of a single constellations session to unfold in your life and the life of those around you. However, there will be immediate relief and clarity of your issue.
You don’t need to understand it rationally, just allow the constellations to unfold naturally.
Family constellations can bring you new insight and solution with the following:
- Relationship issues (romantic, family, work)
- Divorce & Separation
- Cultural issues
- Death and loss
- Loneliness, addiction
- Looking for some answers
- Depression & Confusion
- Career issues & conflict
- Incest & Violence
- Health issues
- Secrets, Guilt & Shame
- Anxiety, Grief, obsessive thoughts
Let go of the final outcome (solution), focus on the next step.