The method family (systemic) constellations was created by German psychotherapist Bert Hellinger in the 90s of the last century. This method considers the individual as part of a bigger whole – the family system to which they belong. The familly system is guided by the so called collective conscience – the hidden authority to which all family members conform in their lives, and which is unique to each family system.
Family constellations are a phenomenological approach based on the idea that we are connected energetically to all the people from our family of origin and present family. Who belongs to this system?
- Our present family – our partner and children, if any, and former significant partners as well as children from previous marriages. Abortions and stillborn children are also part if the system.
- Our family of origin – our siblings, our parents, their siblings and former significant partners of our parents as well as children from previous marriages.
- Our maternal and fraternal grandparents with their siblings and former significant partners.
Usually 2-3 generations back have impact on the family system, in rare cases influences can be traced 7 generations back.
People who are connected by fate to our family system also belong to it. For example, if we a member of our family has caused an incident or the death of someone, the victim is also part of the system. Or if someone has caused the death of a family member, willingly or by incident
Family constellations work with the so-called “entanglements” or “hidden loyalties”, which work unconsciouslly, under the surface, and can manifest as illness, anxiety, depression, fear, panic attacks, agression, self-harm addictions, etc. These states are usually caused by the so-called “identification” with someone who has been excluded from the family system, e.g. someone with bad reputation, or a difficult feeling (e.g. fear, shame, guilt) that was repressed and is being carried through generations – the so-called multigenerational trauma.
If there is such a feeling, a person from a next generations takes over the feeling and can get sick or even want to die. This is the child’s magical thinking: “I’ll do it for you” or “I’ll follow you in death” (if a parent has died early). This dynamic is totally unconscious and can be revealed only in a family constellations session.
When the child leaves the burden back to the person to which it belongs, or when the missing family member is honored and seen, the order is restored and love can flow freely again. This is the essence of the healing process.
Family constellations can be useful in dealing with the following issues:
- Partner relationships
- Relationships with parents, siblings, children
- Depression, anxiety, panic attacks
- Coping with a trauma or loss
- Identity crisis
- Low self-esteem
- Career progress, fulfilment, success