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Sometimes difficult psychological problems can be easily solved with common therapy methods. Even if the work is time-consuming, the therapy is successful and the problem is finally solved. But if that's not your case, then you're probably wondering why conventional methods of psychotherapy don't work so well for you. Perhaps you should try a new technique, such as family constellation. What do you actually know about it?

What is a family constellation?

A family constellation offers a different starting point and helps in situations where nothing else has helped. Read on to learn more about this unique method of psychotherapy and its history.

Family constellations help with both personal and family problems

What is a family constellation?

Family constellation is a form of therapy based on the idea that problems repeat themselves over generations. When we examine our feelings and perceptions in a "field of knowledge," we can break out of family patterns that cause suffering and disease. Working through a family constellation helps us to find and solve the real cause of our problems.

This may sound a bit strange, but in reality difficult and stressful situations happen in every family, which burden its members in the long term.

If you are in this situation right now, it doesn't mean that your family is "bad". It just means that family is a big part of your life. It's like having a good job or going to a good school. But that can also cause a lot of stress.

Family constellation therapy is not for everyone, but it can be especially helpful for people who are experiencing stress or problems related to family life.

What does your family tree look like?

The story of the family constellation

Alfred Adler was the first to use the Term "Family Constellation" used to refer to the bonds and sense of belonging within a family. However, family constellation therapy was developed by the German psychoanalyst and family therapist named Bert Hellinger. He developed this form of therapy by combining his earlier work with related therapies with his own life experiences.

Today, many other therapists use the family constellation method, either as a sole practice or as an alternative therapy, to treat both family and individual problems.

Bert Hellinger himself does not claim to have created the concept of family constellations. But his work is the cornerstone of this method, namely family constellations as it is known today.

Bert Hellinger - December 16, 1925 - September 19, 2022

Bert Hellinger comes from a German family that survived World War II without sacrificing their moral values. As a youth he was supposed to go to Hitler Youth meetings, but instead he was employed in a Catholic organization.

Soon after, Hellinger became a Catholic priest. As a missionary in Africa, he observed the Zulu people of South Africa and how this different culture solved problems that have their roots in the family. He also noted that the Zulu spiritual ceremonies are very similar to the rituals of the Catholic Mass. These influences flowed into his later investigations into family constellations.

After returning to Europe, Hellinger left the priesthood and became a psychotherapist. He studied with well-known psychotherapists from various therapy schools. During this time, his work was influenced by various family therapy systems such as:

  • Psychoanalytical Methods
  • Transaction Analysis
  • Primary therapy
  • Psychodrama
  • Family sculpture
  • Transgenerational Psychology
  • Neurolinguistics programming
  • Provocative therapy
  • Holding Therapy
  • Life Scripts
  • Short therapy

In the 90s, after 50 years of working with families around the world, Bert Hellinger brought all of these diverse ideas together into a new kind of therapy and healing. His work includes an impressive 83 books and he has also conducted countless seminars.

Bert Hellinger at a family constellation

Concepts in the Family Constellation

The following concepts can help you better understand family constellation.

A trauma can affect several generations

Family constellations assume that everything that happened in your family line can affect the way you think, feel and behave now. One person's sadness, fear, or anger affects the whole family. Because family members are connected in the morphogenic field, they all feel the effects of things that happened to each of the family members.

Morphogenic field

The morphogenic field is an energy field that contains a group's memories and specific energies. This group can be a family, a community, a country, or even the entire population of the world. Because this energy field contains all the knowledge of the group, it can help us understand the sources of our problems even when no one has shared the facts with us.

How do family constellations actually work?

Orders of Love

Hellinger identified several orders of love from which love follows. The two most important and fundamental orders of love are as follows:

  • Everyone in the group has the same right to belong and always belongs.
  • Everyone who belongs must be given their specific rightful place.

Excluded Family Members

You might think that your family would never exclude one family member, but unfortunately it happens all the time. In family constellations it is assumed that excluded family members affect the whole family, even if the family no longer has any contact with them. Some examples of excluded family members are:

  • Babies who miscarried or had an abortion.
  • Babies or children put up for adoption.
  • Family members who have died, especially if they died young.
  • Ex-spouses and partners from previous relationships
  • Family members who, for various reasons, no longer have contact with the rest of the family.

These excluded family members continue to affect the entire family. When another family member takes his place, they can take over their emotional struggles, addictions, or even physical illnesses.

Family members are replaced by other people or objects represented

Need of belonging

The family constellation identifies the need to belong as the biggest influencing factor in the family. When someone feels they don't belong, they will do whatever it takes to satisfy that sense of belonging.

Hidden loy alties

Within the family, we all show our loy alty. According to family constellation theory, we are faithful to family members who have passed away. These hidden loy alties can lead us to follow patterns, form habits, and make decisions that are unfavorable to ourselves. Family constellation therapy can help us understand how these loy alties drive us so we can make a conscious decision.

All family members must be recognized

When is a family constellation necessary?

Family constellation can be used for a variety of issues, including physical, mental, social, or spiritual issues. This therapeutic method can help solve the following problems:

  • Depressions
  • Anxiety
  • Addictive disorders
  • Bad habits
  • Failure at work
  • Negative relationship patterns
  • Family dysfunction
  • trauma
  • Mourning
  • Obsessive thoughts
  • Physical illnesses
  • Financial problems
  • phobias
  • Excessive guilt

Family constellation method

In a typical family constellation there is a seeker/client, a facilitator and possibly other participants. The seeker is the person who wants to solve a problem. The facilitator is the therapist leading the family constellation. The other participants must be unrelated people.

The seeker has a problem they want to overcome. The problem can be anything from nail biting or smoking to relationship problems or depression. He tells the moderator very briefly what his problem is. However, they usually don't explain it in detail or give any reasons for the problem.

If other people are involved in the session, the seeker chooses different people to represent specific members of their family.

Everyone stays still for a while to connect to the morphogenic field and see if the arrangement sounds true to them. The moderator then guides the participants in such a way that their suggestions make sense to the searcher.

A family constellation always begins with a conversation with the therapist

This creates a living model of the client's original (or current) family. It is found that the feelings and thoughts of the people who represent the family members are very similar to those of the actual family members. There is obviously an energy field/ morphogenic field that controls the movements of the representatives and allows them access to all essential information.

Such family constellations are usually conducted with a group of people, with the members of the group playing the role of representatives. However, it also works in one-on-one sessions, where pillows or other symbols can be used to represent family members' positions.

How do family constellations work in practice?

This work uniquely uncovers every destructive family dynamic that lurks beneath the surface. But that's not all: when those who fill in for family members follow their spontaneous movements closely, not only do they uncover family entanglements, they also uncover the resolution of the problem. Healing movements are supported by the therapist's interventions. Missing or disfellowshipped family members are welcomed back into the family. New and more conscious behaviors are built through healing phrases that representatives say to each other. Eventually, a new, more natural and healing balance can be found for the entire system, allowing love to flow again between true family members in a new and more conscious way.

Love and respect are the basis of every he althy relationship

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