Family ConstellationsTransgenerational healing which clears blocks and allows for a new perspective for acceptance and moving forward.
Family Constellation attempts to reveal a previously unrecognized systemic dynamic that spans multiple generations in a given family. It enables clients to resolve the painful and damaging effects of that dynamic by encouraging them to accept the factual reality of the past and see how acceptance and healing can occur.
Annie uses Family Constellations with individuals and couples, to help understand how parents, grandparents and other ancestors, and major events, have impacted on them, today. With this perception and understanding it is far easier to break free of the influences and constraints of the past, and move forward more freely.
Family Constellations is a process that allows the client to spatially set up the inner vision or unconscious pattern of their relationships with significant others. Traditionally conducted in a workshop setting with large groups of participants, it works equally well in the therapy room with one or two clients using felts or objects to represent people or events from the family and the past. It is based on the work of Bert Hellinger and others.
Through the process, the inner eye or unconscious pattern is put out into the room to be seen and felt. This becomes a constellation, to which grandparents or other family members, or events or emotions may be added if necessary. It is a visual, experiential and energetic process, facilitated by Annie who follows the energy of the ‘Knowing Field’ towards the best solutions for the client and the system.
Systemic Family Constellations is different to Psychodrama or Virgina Satire’s Sculpting, in that no role play is attempted. Rather, individuals are not asked to play a role but to observe their bodily sensations in the constellation.
Why look at family?
The family of origin is considered a very significant blueprint of systemic patterns and trends that we all carry at a deeply cellular, unconscious or soul level. These patterns are the underlying dynamic that drive us in playing out unconscious desires and patterns seeking expression and systemic resolutions. This may be done by finding order which is a healthy place for each person in the system, so that love may flow. Put simply, we may find on reflection of our own experiences, that we have married our mother or father, even though we may have consciously tried to create a different or better dynamic, or we may find that patterns are continuing to persist through the generations in spite of conscious efforts to change them. Events and secrets which happened long ago continue to have an impact on the descendants, and manifest in emotional difficulties.
Ancient and new knowledge working together.
Family Constellations draws on aspects of early psychological knowledge and primal, ancient tribal ‘knowing’ concerning Natural Order and also present day knowledge of energy coming through quantum physics. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychology, showed us the importance of parental influences on the developing personality of children, while Karl Jung (a student of Freud) drew attention to the idea of the collective consciousness of family, culture and humanity and the innate spiritual nature of human beings. Another student of Freud, Alfred Adler, drew attention to the influence of sibling position, family dynamics and socio-economics having an effect on personality development, while naming the dynamic of family systems Family Constellations.
Another important contributor to present day knowledge of Family systems is Virginia Satir’s work, investigating the nature of family interactions and relationships, through her method of ‘sculpting’ involving expression and movement. This provided experiential situations to affect change in family members and their experience of each other. In addition, Transactional analysis and Ericksonian hypnosis were also significant contributory influences on Bert Hellinger in formulating the process of Systemic Family Constellations. Hellinger presented Family Constellations to the world in the 1990’s.
Therapy for the individual.
We are each the sum total of everyone that has gone before us, in terms of our ancestral or genetic lines and a particular issue may not be purely personal, but rather systemic. This is particularly true if the root of an issue does not make sense in the biography of the person. For example an individual appears to have always had a feeling of anxiety or sadness, rather than the sadness appearing after a particular event. This is particularly appropriate in families where depression, anxiety, or any other pattern is prevalent in the family tree and especially where the root cause or event cannot be located in the life of the person, as they may have been born into the systemic energy of this condition, that may have its roots in the parents, grandparents or great grandparents generations.
From a systemic Family Constellation point of view trauma, exclusions, secrets and taboos are powerful in forming disturbances in family energy causing disease of mind or body. It is often picked up by the present generation, playing out in unconscious pulls or drives in their life. There is often a tendency for present day members of a family to unconsciously take on the burdens, guilt or shame of others in their family system, even if on a conscious level they make a vow to be totally different from their parents. It is often the case that a similar energy or behaviour becomes apparent in their children or grandchildren or in themselves, as they reflect on their life path. These patterns are easily seen and resolved in a Family Constellation session and may also be observed and resolved effectively in a private counselling or hypnotherapy session using Family Constellations theory and practice. This brief experiential intervention may assist individuals in accepting themselves through acceptance of the reality of their family systems and situations allowing them to find new perspectives. It may involve being able to come away from feelings of rejection, sadness, anger or lack of worthiness, which from a psychological and Family Constellation perspective are often at the roots of emotional disorders such as depression and dysfunctional relationship patterns.
The advantage of using Family Constellations methodology is that it quickly reveals the client’s entanglements, loyalties, mis-perceptions and ‘blind love.’ As this methodology is solution focused, experiential and brief, it is respectful in allowing acceptable solutions to unfold. A Family Constellation can tap into personal and systemic emotion and energy quickly, highlighting the underlying dynamics that the client has created or is involved in. It is not only diagnostic in raising awareness of unconscious and systemic patterns, but is also solution focused in being able to facilitate resolution through ‘healing sentences’, creating healthy ‘order’ and new perspectives, resulting in more choice and freedom. Relationship and emotional issues such as anxiety and depression respond particularly well to hypnotic Family Constellations, significantly reducing the treatment period.
In Annie’s private practice she frequently uses Family Constellations for relationship and parenting issues and also sexual abuse as well as many cases of depression and anxiety with great success.
The methodology provides a philosophy for healthy living, as an individual and within or alongside the family system, culture and humanity and is also a valuable therapeutic approach to resolving the underlying dynamics of relationships, family patterns, mental and physical health, as well as personal and professional development and spiritual growth. It is a methodology that is growing and developing around the world.