Family constellations

Everyday we are confronted with anxieties, feelings of depression, frustrations or helplessness for which our daily reality does not provide sufficient answers. You might have finally finished working on your dream house, have a satisfying job, wonderful children and still experience feelings of loss or frustration, even feel displeased or as if there is no light at the end of the tunnel. 

BERT HELLINGER and the people that developed “systemical work” and “family constellations” together with him, found an explanation for these feelings in our family background. 

A feeling of loss that can only be satisfied by eating sweets, can find its origin in the loss of a child in the former generation. The feeling of not being able to live can stem from a grandfather surviving the war, while his brothers in arms did not. As it were, the person stays connected to the deceased companions of his grandfather. 

Certain events in our family history may have an influence on us or our offspring. Among others, these are:  

  • A parent or child that passed away too soon
  • Suicide or death as a consequence to war
  • An extramarital child, a stillborn child or a possible miscarriage, adoption 
  • A previous partner of one of the parents
  • A serious illness or disability
  • A perpetrator or victim of a crime 

Each of these events can lead up to certain feelings in the descendants, of which, among others:

  • A general feeling of dissatisfaction without apparent causes
  • Recurring fear, anxiety, anger, sadness
  • Guilt
  • Depression
  • Relationship troubles
  • Difficult processing of a divorce or separation
  • Fear of commitment
  • Negative self-image
  • Difficult family relations
  • Children with behavioral problems
  • Physical symptoms without a clear identifiable cause
  • Burn-out, stress or overstrain
  • Addictions

 

What are family constellations?

A family constellation is a representation of the family into which you belong. This can be your family of origin or the relation (and possible children) you have now. This is done through representatives. 

Representatives in the constellation have access to the feelings and the mutual relations of those they represent. 

In a constellations certain patterns out of the family system will come to light. What is shown in a family system cannot be conceived by our minds. 

If we were able to think of this with our minds, then there would be no problem. 

Often we look at our parents (often the only thing visible to our eyes) as the cause of our suffering. Our parents in their turn, are also children of their parents and just like us, they belong to a greater family system, in which certain events have occurred, of which they are often victim too. By representing these systems we can observe recurring patterns in different generations that are inherited from parent to child. 

 

Structure constellations

Systemic structure constellations depart from a certain structure. One possible structure is the tetra-lemma structure, which stems from the Indian logics that MATHIAS VARGA VON KIBED works with. The first and second positions are bipolar, they form a dilemma. The third position is “both”, meaning both the first and the second. The fourth position is neither of both, meaning neither the first, nor the second. The fifth position stems from Madhyamika Buddhism of Nagarjuna and is the “free element”. Humor, compassion, spirituality or wisdom are possible forms of this “free element”. 

The advantage of structure constellations is that the structure is looked at and not the content of the system. Emotions are less stimulated and less confronting. And the content can stay covered for other participants. 

 

How does a workshop go?

After an introduction of how to represent and the method of the therapy, the facilitator asks if there is someone who wants to work on something. It is not necessary to know this beforehand or to be able to formulate it precisely. If the problem could be solved by only thinking, then there would be no need for a constellation. Constellations shed light on what is beyond the mind. 

The facilitator invites the client to answer a few questions to conclude which elements or people will be represented. The client will then pick other participants to represent the element or person. Then the client will set up the representative in the room. When all representatives are set up, the client sits down and observes what the constellation shows. 

The facilitator will ask the representatives wether they observe certain changes in their physical experience to then move them or let them take a more suitable place or position. If every representative has found their right position, the client can, if they wish to, take their position in the constellation. 

Participants in this workshop will be able to experience this new method as a client and/or a representative. 

If you not wish to be a representative in a certain constellation, you can indicate this. There is no obligation to do anything. Each of us is able to experience change. Each of us is able to know what is best, even without knowing what is right. Participants that do not set up a constellation and only represent or observe are often deeply moved by what happens during the constellations and are also able to have a deeper insight into their own situation by taking part. In Bert Hellinger’s book “ACKNOWLEDGING WHAT IS” you can find additional information.

Family constellations do not provide us with a crystal ball that tells us the truth about our family history. Family constellations merely show patterns that are present in our family in response to the question of the client. Sometimes a representative may experience feelings of situations that occurred more than two generations ago. 

If you are interested in a workshop, click HERE (link to constellation dates). You can print and download the invitation to the following workshops HERE. 

 

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