The therapeutic method known as Family Constellations was developed by German author, psychoanalyst, poet and healer, Bert Hellinger. At the age of 82, Hellinger is a best-selling author and probably Europe’s most innovative and provocative psychotherapist.
As a Jesuit Priest and educator, Hellinger spent 16 years with the Zulu people in Africa. Through the insight gained from these experiences, Hellinger saw there was a natural order that was applicable to all systems. He noted that problems and intractable situations arise when one or more of these natural “orders” are ignored or violated.
Bert Hellinger states that these natural laws and orders are given by nature itself.
The ability to resolve problems, and/or “settle” a disturbed system is often found when we consent to and follow these orders rather than resist them.
The Orders of Love
The first order is that everyone in the family has a right to belong.
If someone is forgotten, rejected, or ignored then the flow of love is blocked between the generations and a descendant will identify unconsciously with the excluded ancestor and bear that burden.
For example a suicidal person may be unconsciously acting out both a murderer and the victim, an event that occurred two, three, four or more generations previously.
Other hidden issues include abortions, miscarriages, infidelity, and the early death of a parent or child. These issues may exhibit as chronic or sudden illness, depression, feeling isolated, mental illness, persistent relationship problems, or being accident prone.
The second order is the natural order: parents come before children, the first child comes before the second, etc., and the first spouse comes before the second.
Examples of entanglements here are the child becoming the parent of the mother or father; a child being recruited as a spouse, emotionally or even sexually; a second spouse not honoring the first one, etc.
The third order is that there needs to be balance of give and take in a relationship.
Systems thrive on balance. A balance of give and take supports a sense of contribution and validation, and a willingness to give more. This is particularly significant for couples.
The constellation process allows us to go back in time and clear or resolve those entanglements to the Orders of Love in order that love may be allowed to flow freely again. By bringing to consciousness that which has been hidden and by honoring the fate of the excluded family member, we reconnect with our own life path and fulfill our own purpose and destiny.
Within a Constellation is the opportunity for the family system to create new relationships in which healing and healthy belonging can occur. For the individual that is observing his or her family constellation unfold, a new “image” emerges that can have transformational influence at a “Soul level” for the entire system and thereby help prevent further entanglements in the next generation.
Family & Human Systems Constellations can re-establish the flow of love in a family, break the bonds of generational trauma and limitations; provide powerful insights into gifts and barriers in one’s own family system.
An important and significant aspect to strengthening a healing image for a client doing Constellation work is the experience of connecting, or, re-connection to their ancestors.
In some constellations it has been shown that having a line of people (representatives) standing behind a client as their ancestors can offer a very tangible experience of support, love and strength that can be a great benefit to the client in their life. Indigenous wisdom says, “Our life actions and experiences will impact up to seven generations”.
The Constellation method is also used with business personnel and management and has been found to often provide substantial assistance in identifying roadblocks to profit and productivity.
Because the Family Constellation method uses representatives (workshop participants who represent different family members, business associates or other life issues), actual family or business associates don’t need to be present for the constellation process.