What is Family Constellations?
A therapeutic system created by renowned family therapist Burt Hellinger.
If you have a headache and go to the doctor, she will examine your head and give you appropriate medication. If you go to a holistic therapist with a headache, they will take you whole being into account – mind, body and spirit. If you go to a family constellator with a headache, they take the holistic approach even further and take your whole family system into account.
The idea behind this is that everyone in one’s system is interconnected and that just like a baby’s mobile, pulling one side of the mobile will cause an imbalance in the mobile as a whole and affect other sides of the mobile. Imbalances in the mobile or family system are caused by circumstances such as:
- early or tragic deaths
- family secrets
- exclusions of family members
The theory is that if any of these circumstances take place and are not acknowledged or dealt with in a healthy way by the family, then the imbalances can cause disturbances that are passed down to the future generations via the collective consciousness of the family system. These may be played out in various ways such as unexplained physical, emotional and relationship problems that don’t respond to other methods of healing (conventional or alternative).
The aim of a constellator is to restore balance into the family system with the intention of bringing about more wellbeing and harmony to the individual with the problem (eg the headache) which then influences the family system as a whole.
It can help families to deal with:
- mental disorder
- and more
A grandmother survives war but the rest of her family dies. She never speaks of her past. Her children are told never to ask. Her grandchildren experience unexplained anxiety and panic attacks. A resolution might be the realisation that anxiety and panic attacks were a reflection of her grandmother’s unbearable grief and survivor’s guilt that had been passed down through the generations. By acknowledging the family tragedy, grandchild is able to break the cycle of family pain.
Watch a video of me talk at the GOE (Guild Of Energists) Energy Conference 2015 about Family Constellations and how I combine it with EFT
What happens in a Family Constellation workshop?
The group sit in a circle and one person is known as the Issue Holders who has chosen to address a problem they have. Within one workshop there will be 2-5 Issue Holders. Each one in turn sits by the constellator for an initial interview in which the facts around the issue are briefly explored. If the constellator feels that a constellation would support the Issue Holder’s healing, the constellator asks the Issue Holder to select participants of the circle to represent various members of their own family or aspects of the problem (known as Representatives). The Issue Holder then places the Representatives within the circle where they feel they need to stand.
The constellator then helps the system regain balance by doing a number of things such as asking them in turn what they were feeling and, if it felt appropriate, she asked them to move to other positions or to say various healing sentences to other representatives. The representatives are able to pick up accurate information about the family system without knowing the story or details about the family via the Knowing Field. Towards the end of each constellation, the constellator asks the issue holder to take the place of the person representing them. I know this sounds strange!!! but by the end of the process, the issue holder commonly feels better in some way – it might have been a feeling of resolution of the problem, insights into the bigger picture, a shift in perspective or a deeper understanding for other family members being represented.
What happens in a 1-2-1 Family Constellation session?
Usually I will combine family constellations with EFT in 1-2-1 sessions, sometimes using a technique created by Deborah Donndellinger called Family Energetics. Here is a case study and video of a live session to give you more of an idea:
<picture of video from this page>