Family Constellation Work or Constellation Work (my terms for Family Constellations) is a therapeutic healing modality that originated with German psychotherapist Bert Hellinger. For many years Bert Hellinger was a Catholic priest and missionary to the Zulu in Africa. Eventually Bert left the priesthood and married. He studied various innovative therapies in Europe and the USA and from there, developed his own, original group therapy he calls Family Constellations. Working with thousands of individuals and families, Bert Hellinger became aware that people are linked to an invisible field he calls the Knowing Field. This Knowing Field can be accessed to provide information that is hidden and unknown. Then, this revealed information can become a catalyst to induce healing not only for an individual but an entire family system.
Constellation Work is normally facilitated in a group setting and addresses the root cause for many of our life’s problem. In normal talk therapy, it is possible to discuss issues that trouble a person and never get to the source of why we feel, think and act in ways that cause us pain.
For instance, a woman’s depression may be linked with a child she aborted when she was a teenager.
A man's rage that he feels all the time might have to do with a murder in the family dating back several generations.
A woman experiencing continual betrayal in her life may be tied to a handicapped ancestor who was placed in an institution a century ago and never saw his family again.
A boy who’s continually getting in trouble with the law may be expressing loyalty to his grandfather who was known to be a criminal.
A girl’s anger with her dad might be connected to her father’s first wife who’s still angry with him.
A woman’s anorexia could be tied to a hidden wish to die to follow her twin into death who had died at birth.
Can you see how regular talk therapy, although immensely helpful in many ways, can not address such obscure entanglements? Some other kind of system of detection is needed to access the sphere of collective memory. Sadly, thus far, our modern-day scientific community has refused to give credence to phenomena like the Knowing Field. Eventually, in the future, I am certain, science will devise instruments that will detect forces that cannot be, as of yet, quantified. Today, scientists are able to measure electromagnetic waves like radio waves that were unknown only a short 150 years ago.
Our current understanding how life works is very restricted. Our belief that solid matter alone exists is still all too prevalent. Nevertheless, something like a higher intelligence or collective memory bank exists in the form of a greater wisdom or consciousness. Everything that has ever been experienced on this planet by all life forms is recorded within this memory collective. Nothing is ever lost. Nothing is ever forgotten. Whatever has happened in history is meticulously remembered by some invisible means. The present and future are based on what has been experienced in the past. This is evident all throughout nature. Rupert Sheldrake, an innovative, modern-day scientist who is studying this phenomenon in nature and with animals calls this invisible memory sphere the Morphic Field.
Bert Hellinger realized when people do not resolve difficult life events or trauma in their lives, the effects can be unconsciously passed on to future generations. Innocent children may unknowingly live out the exact same fate or attempt to resolve tragedies that don’t belong to them via difficulties in their own lives. When the original trauma and the people involved have been identified, the unresolved suffering can be brought to a peaceful close. In this way, particular challenges that have remained within a family lineage for many generations can be released. Constellation Work allows us to tap into the mystery of our unknown family histories to gain cues and information that can bring about true healing and lasting change. Family members that are currently living as well as future children will thus be freed from having to carry forward a particular troublesome family legacy.
About 70% of all problems worked on in psychotherapy stem from family entanglements and can only be solved by looking at the entire family system."
--- Bert Hellinger
Indigenous and traditional cultures adhere to this wisdom. Their worldview and life philosophy is based on the understanding that their actions and ways of life affect future generations. Our Western culture has forgotten this age-old wisdom. I attribute the Liberation Process and the eventual direct-seeing, which is traditionally called spiritual awakening and enlightenment, to my in-depth involvement with Family Constellation Work.
The following life events can generate entanglements that can span over many generations when not properly resolved:
- Child loss due to stillbirth, illness, death of twin in utero, miscarriage, abortion
- Premature death of parents, siblings or someone beloved
- Any kind of childhood trauma – especially early separation from mother, adoption
- Physical assault, sexual molestation, rape, murder
- Serious illness, injury, injustice, handicap, mental illness
- Not being able to be with the person one loves
- Leaving one’s home country
- Involvement in war, disaster or crimes
- Betrayal, loss of one’s fortune and any kind of other trauma experienced in childhood or adulthood
Expressing my gratitude:
I am immensely grateful to Bert Hellinger, Heinz Stark and Gabrielle Borkan for all that they taught me and all that I learned from them. I would not be able to do the work I am doing today without having profited from their expertise, wisdom, guidance, support, love and care. I am deeply indebted to them and offer my heartfelt thank you to them!