Systemic Considerations for Chronic Pain: Case Studies

Case Study 1

This was a constellation for a woman in her early 60’s who had been plagued with low back pain for over 20 years. She had previously pursued chiropractic therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture and reiki, but the chronic nature of the pain always returned. A constellation was set up to see if there was some systemic influence coming through her family. Someone stood for her and someone stood for her chronic pain initially.

As the constellation unfolded the pain representative maintained a fixed gaze just outside of the area referred to as the “knowing field”. Because of this strong fixation another person was brought into the constellation. Immediately the other representatives began to move and the client’s representative also began focusing on this new rep.

At this point the facilitator asked the new person who they were representing.

The answer was that the rep was representing a grandmother, who as it turns out was mostly left out of the family system for one reason or another. The constellation proceeded with the acknowledgement of this grandmother’s existence in the family system.

At the conclusion, the person standing as the grandmother stood behind the client’s representative. This allowed the clients rep to feel strength coming from her grandmother into her body. She began to relax and the pain was gone.

We saw this person a month later and she reported that she hadn’t experienced any back pain—the longest stretch of time that she had been without pain. We talked to her again about 6 months later and they were still pain free!

Case Study 2

A woman in her early 50’s came to us with crippling rheumatoid arthritis. She had both knees and both hips replaced and she was always in pain to some degree. In her constellation there was a person set up to represent her, her mom and her mom’s mom (grandmother) who died giving birth to the client’s mom. This grandmother needed to be acknowledged, respected and honored for giving her life so the daughter (mom) could live.

During the constellation it was interesting to watch the client’s reps hands go from a closed crippled posture to a relaxing, softening and opening position. We have yet to see this person again, so we don’t actually know how this constellation has affected her.

The impact from having a constellation isn’t always obvious or immediate. The effect of a constellation still be manifesting years down the road.

Case Study 3

A woman in her late 50’s has been experiencing burning and acidity in stomach for the past 4 to 5 years.

In her constellation a rep was placed for her and her mother. The constellation showed the client was being the mother in the relationship. Once the mother took her rightful place as the mother and the client took her rightful place as the daughter (child), the constellation came to a peaceful, warm and loving conclusion with the mother holding the daughter as a mother would hold her child.

The client’s symptoms since this constellation have been reduced by about half.

Case Study 4

This woman in her mid 50’s has a chronic stomach condition that is also present with her daughter. This client has a lot of issues with her own mother, who interestingly has crone’s disease.

It turns out the mother lost a boy at two months of age because of diarrhea, and another child died with a high fever at age 5. The client has 9 siblings altogether and she is the youngest. The parents blame each other silently for the death of their two children.

In this constellation the daughter and mother were originally placed, and then two reps placed for the two dead children because the mother kept looking at the floor. The mother was leaning toward the two dead children on the floor as if a part of her wants to join them.

The client resisted looking at her dead siblings—she was too busy taking care of her other siblings for her mother.

When the mom realizes this she said, “Oh my God!” The client’s mother and daughter lay down beside the dead children.

The client then verbally acknowledges them and her place as the ninth child. She then told her daughter, “I will always be there for you.” Each generation was formerly unable to be fully there for the next.

The client left the session with the intention to share this experience and insight with her daughter and granddaughter to further strengthen what was revealed in the constellation.

It is well known that we inherit physical traits from our parents. What is less recognized is that we also inherit our family’s issues. We are profoundly affected by our families’ history.

Traumatic events — such as the premature death of a parent, sibling or child, an abandonment, crime or suicide — can exert powerful influences over us. Bonded by an unconscious loyalty, family members often repeat the sufferings of the past, and these wounds can leave their imprint on our entire family system for generations.

Family Constellations is the key to overcoming generational trauma.

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