Systemic Constellations

Systemic Constellations – a method, an approach, a type of therapy, a collection of insights, applied philosophy, study of human relationships, a useful tool applied in many disciplines, a way of perceiving the world – which keeps captivating many around the world: those who struggle, those who want to learn and those who want to teach.

The wide application of this method in many different disciplines by many different professions makes it impossible to offer one definition, even only one description won’t suffice. Through it we are all connected, and yet our relationship to Constellations remains deeply individual and personal. Everyone experiences it differently.

Constellation Work flows and keeps changing, and all of those affected keep changing with it. Systemic constellations are like a river, in constant movement and also streaming in different directions since first developed by Bert Hellinger .

Through some quotes of Hellinger’s and others, we invite you to find your own way into this flowing river of constellations and – become a con-tributary!

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Constellations are a SYSTEMIC APPROACH

“In family constellations one uses a systemic approach. Systemic work depends on obtaining a view of the totality, the whole. So, those who have been excluded from the system, who are denied acknowledgement or love, must first be sought out. My heart belongs to them right from the start and this enables them to be re-embraced in the family so to speak. This way of working requires the therapist to side with the whole system and not with any individual person. This change of emphasis demands reorientation from the others. Thus, when I ally myself with the whole system, the other family members achieve a new connection with these excluded members.” (Bert Hellinger)

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Constellations rely on the in-formation from the FIELD

“Family constellations produce an energy field. When you enter this field as a representative for a family member you behave and feel as though you belonged to it. For many people family constellations have given rise to confusion and bewilderment because they contradict many of our most cherished beliefs. In a constellation something profound is brought to the surface in a every simple way. Then solutions can be found with the love that has become visible, solutions that can have a healing effect in the soul – simply because a reality has been made visible.” (B.H.)

“The family constellation experience shows us that there is a connection with the larger whole, with a spiritual field. In this spiritual field all the members of the family are present, including the dead ones, and everyone is in resonance with everyone else.” (Bert Hellinger)

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Through constellations we observe that we are all part of SOMETHING GREATER

“There is obviously a dimension of awareness that we all share. We all participate in a common field. The soul is something in which we are, in which we have a part. We are part of something greater. We open ourselves up to a broader context and out of this place knowledge emerges, directly, knowledge that is experienced. On this totally different level information, experiences, communication and solutions all happen.” (B.H.)

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Constellations require a PHENOMENOLOGICAL STANCE

“A family constellation is a result of a phenomenological stance. A phenomenological stance means, philosophically speaking, that a person holds herself back and is without intention, without fear and without wish to help someone else. The constellations unfolds in front of the therapist; something happens outside the therapist. By holding back she does not engage with it. It is this way of holding back that creates the space in which the decisive movements can come to light. The representatives move under the influence of the soul and find solutions that lie outside the influence of the therapist who basically doesn’t need to do anything. She isn’t passive, however. In holding back she is completely present and so sees when it is appropriate to intervene and does so. But it is without method. So in a way, this phenomenological stance succeeds only if one forgets what one knows about family constellations. One also withdraws and clearly gives space to whatever arises of its own accord.” (Bert Hellinger, “No Waves Without the Ocean”, 2006)

“An exercise for the helper is to withdraw to an empty center. In this empty center we are without intention, without fear, without memory. We are fully recollected. When we succeed in this recollection, things happen around us, as if they were done by us. But we did nothing…But this non-doing is utmost presence. It is non-doing in complete mindfulness. In the presence of someone who is non-acting in this way, the other person can do what really needs to be done.” (B.H. “Rising in Love”, 2008)

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Constellations use representatives and rely on the phenomenon of REPRESENTATIVE PERCEPTION

“In constellations we are confronted with the phenomenon of representatives having access to knowledge or awareness that actually belongs to the people they are representing. In other words, the representatives are aware of feelings and relationships of someone they don’t know. Without this key concept as an underlying assumption of the work a family constellation would be inconceivable.” (J.Schneider “Family Constellations”)

“The energy and dynamics which arise through the therapist’s posture of attentive reserve and representations, create a space in which relationships and entanglements can emerge and move towards resolution. In this process, it seems as if the representatives are being influenced by a powerful external force that appears to direct them in some way. Our established psychological and philosophical approaches are not sufficient to explain the phenomena which can be observed here.” (B.H. “No waves without the ocean”)

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Constellations reveal the ORDERS that operate in our family systems

There is a basic underlying order in our relationships. Our lives unfold in accordance with certain predictability, in relation to what extent we align ourselves with this order. Life and love follow certain orders which are about balancing, belonging, inclusion, wholeness and priority. Even though we are not conscious of these, they determine our relationships, our success and failure, our illness and health. It is through constellation work that we get to know about them and understand how they impact our lives. We can also learn how to be in alignment with them, so that we can experience harmony.

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Constellations work through MULTIGENERATIONAL patterns

If there is an unresolved trauma from an earlier generation, members of the family in later generations will feel the consequences through entanglements with older or deceased members fate. Sometimes through a repetition pattern and sometimes through the process of an identification of a descendant with a member from a previous generation.

Constellations include & honor our ANCESTORS

Like many indigenous cultures of the world, Constellations share the notion of the spiritual continuity of present and future with the ancestral past. The continuing and interconnecting relationship between past, present and future is achieved through knowing where we come from and through this knowing we develop strength for living our lives in the now. In indigenous cultures as part of the ritual ceremonies people are reminded of their responsibilities, of the need to mend and preserve relationships between the living and those gone, also between the people and the land. In Constellation approach too, we often find that it is these relationships which have to be looked at and be mend for our present difficulties to be resolved.

“As long as our ancestors are still suffering within us, we cannot be truly happy. If we make a step with awareness…we do this for all the past and future generations. Then all arrive at the same moment we arrive and we all find peace at the same time.” (Thich Nhat Hahn)

 

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Constellations take many different roads

“When the chickens have been hatched, they run off in all directions. They build their own nests and have their own chickens. Like this, family constellations and the movements of the soul also grow in manifold ways. I support all these endeavors with good heart feelings and good thoughts. I can see that all the different ways, if they respect one another, contribute something special to this richness. When we approach a destination from many different roads, greater fullness is gained for all. To me, all paths are useful and valuable. I am happy to see the seeds I was allowed to scatter sprouting and thriving and bearing fruit, wherever they fell on fertile ground. (B.H. “Rising in Love”)

 Constellations make us realize we are all CONNECTED

“What is now so clear from the movements of the soul is wonderfully presaged by Confucius – that we have no choice but to stand together because what is split and opposed constantly unites itself and orders itself and respects the separate parts.” (B.H., from an interview with Norbert Linz)

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Foundations of Systemic Constellations