Systemic Healing and Family Constellations are a form of therapy evolved by Bert Hellinger that has foundations in systems theory and transpersonal psychology. At its core is the belief that every individual lives and thrives as a part of the family unit, and that that family unit or system is inevitably affected by the lives and circumstances of the generations that comes before it.
The work is predominantly done in groups, though one-on-one sessions are also possible, and is focused on looking at the family of origin as the primary and most important system that one belongs to.
How we are in and with our families invariably forms the code for how we are in the world, the experiences and relationships we have and the way life unfolds for us.
Through Family Constellations work, we can uncover hidden dynamics in a family system (often passed on from one generation to the next) to get to the root of our present-day experiences including issues such as stuckness, directionlessness, lifelessness, a disinterest in life and joy, struggles with financial wellbeing or success, inexplicable anxiety and panic, chronic pain, migraines, addictions as well as many other physical and mental illnesses.
We are everything: our present, the past and already the future. Our physical memory reaches far beyond our body.
It is seen that many of our challenges and struggles are not ours alone, and that they may also lie in the experiences of past generations of our family. Family constellations allow us an opportunity to witness these dynamics that are otherwise not in our consciousness, and present an opportunity to break unhealthy patterns to find gradual resolution. The healing process is one of integrating parts of our lives and selves that we may not always hold consciously, through seeing the true fates of our families, the way that things are, and in the profound quest to be in agreement with it all.
Since 2017, I have trained in Family Constellations with Annie Cariapa (Spanda, Bengaluru) and Colette Green (Ochre, Ireland), who are both direct students of Bert Hellinger and have worked and trained with some other masters of this work like Stephan Hausner and Franz Ruppert.
A little bit about Bert Hellinger and how Family Constellations came to be
Formerly a missionary priest and psychoanalyst, body/group dynamic and family therapist, Bert Hellinger was later also a prolific writer. He has authored 83 books in his lifetime. His life experience has been vast and rich, and he is best known for his work in Systemic Theory and Practice of Family Constellations.
At 17, Bert Hellinger was conscripted to the German army in 1942. He was captured and imprisoned by the Allies during World War II. When he was 20, he managed to escape and return home. He then joined the Catholic order to realise his childhood dream of becoming a priest. After 16 years as a missionary in South Africa, working and teaching, and observing life and culture among the Zulus, gave him foundations in his study of psychotherapy.
Upon his return to Europe, Hellinger left priesthood and set off to become a psychotherapist, spending the rest of his life’s years studying and working with many masters in the fields like psychoanalysis, psychodrama, Transactional Analysis, Neuro-linguistic Programming, Primal therapy, transgenerational psychology, family sculpting and other forms of therapy.
Eventually, in the 1990s, after nearly 50 years of work with families across the world, Hellinger crafted a new form of therapy that delved into the transgenerational aspect of trauma and healing. This is Family Constellations Therapy/Systems Constellations Therapy as we know it today.
Hellinger passed on, on September 19, 2019. His work continues to live, grow and transform the world.