When I discovered Family Constellations, my life changed completely. I found hope and deep healing.
As you probably know, today I mainly use Family Constellations to help my clients. This practice is so simple, powerful and creates peace in all systems. The harmony of any system depends on the ability to include all its members, to balance the giving and the receiving, and to respect the hierarchy.
More about Family Constellations
Family Constellations, also known as Systemic Constellations and Systemic Family Constellations, is an alternative therapeutic method inspired by phenomenology and observing indigenous tribes in South of Africa (Zulus). It was created by Bert Hellinger.
Hellinger was a Catholic priest who left the church to become a psychoanalyst. During his studies, he met Arthur Janov, Eric Berne, and Virginia Satir. They inspired him to create Family Constellations. He is the author of more than 60 books and, today, his method is known across the world. Born in 1925, he is still alive and continues to lead big groups with his second wife.
“The family is a microcosm. By knowing how to heal the family, I know how to heal the world.” Virginia Satir
Virginia Satir greatly inspired Family Constellations. She developed Family Sculpture. Jacob Moreno, creator of psychodrama, also inspired the practice.
Family Constellations is the result of different approaches and it continues to evolve every day, worldwide.
Why do I like Family Constellations?
In my opinion, Family Constellations returns power to the client and the healing power of the process is amplified when done in a group.
There is no good or bad way to use it. Whether you join a group or choose to have an individual session, you embark on a journey to meet your True Self, which allows you to heal.
The “therapist” is only a facilitator or a catalyst. I like to say that he or she is a guardian of the circle, the space or the knowing field, taking care of its members and allowing the process to progress in a safe and gentle way.
It always surprises clients as it allows them to give up on trying to intellectually explain what’s going on. The healing process is spontaneous and easy. It is gentle and respectful.
The effects are deep, fast and lasting. The ripples of healing can spread beyond yourself to your ancestors and descendants. That is absolutely magical.
I believe that all of us need Family Constellations, not just when we terminate a pregnancy, but when we lose a parent, brother, sister, partner or child. It is particularly adapted to refugees and immigrants who have suffered exile and exclusion from their country, land, culture or family.
War can have a huge impact on several generations (more than seven in some cases), as can genocide, deportation, starvation and deprivation. We all unconsciously carry our ancestors’ burdens, not knowing what relief we would experience if we were to let go of these burdens. Our ancestors don’t want us to carry the burden of their fates. They want us to enjoy life. They themselves paid a high price and sacrificed a lot. When we don’t enjoy life, it costs them even more.
If you’re an orphan, or if you’ve had problems with fertility, poverty, abuse or bad health, Family Constellations could help you free yourself of toxic loyalties and enable you to thrive.
When I discovered the power of Constellations to heal from wounds created by abortion, I was amazed. It was like an epiphany.
After making this discovery, all I wanted to do was travel around the world and tell women who had had abortions that their lost babies loved them. They did not suffer from the abortion. What an incredible thing!
The three basic laws of Family Constellations
A family is like a living being. To be healthy and in balance it needs to follow the cosmic laws of life. When we disrespect these basic principles, we create imbalances and problems.
Bert Hellinger identified three laws that conduct all human systems:
1. The right to belong
Each and every member of the family has the right to belong to it. This right is impossible to refuse. There is no superior or inferior degree of belonging. The simple fact of being born (I should say, of being conceived) gives us a place in our families. Even death cannot take away this right.
2. The order of love
This is not a common concept. Systemic order respects chronology. For example, parents come before their children. The first child comes before the second, and so on. A first spouse or partner keeps his/her place as the first partner, even though the two have since divorced. The “grown-ups” are responsible for themselves; children are only children. Ancestors have rights and obligations towards their children, and they in turn have rights and obligations towards their descendants.
3. The balance between giving and receiving
All relationships must strike a fair balance between giving and receiving. Whether a relationship is sustainable depends on each party’s ability to respect this balance. Between parents and their children, the ratio is a little different: parents give more to their children, and they receive more from their parents that they give. When the children become parents, they will give more to their children. The exchange of giving and receiving works over several generations. But in the end, balance is restored.
What does it mean to have an abortion?
When it happens, a family member is obviously excluded. The consequence of exclusion is always an energy block in the family system, which causes something called “entanglement”.
What is an “entanglement”?
In the words of Bert Hellinger: ”Entanglement means that somebody in the family unconsciously picks up the destiny of somebody before them and it is lived out again… And they cannot extricate themselves from this entanglement before they become aware how they are entangled.”
“The resolution now is the opposite – the excluded person is brought back into the Constellation. Suddenly the excluded person becomes a protection for the one who is identified with them. As soon as they are acknowledged in this way the identified person is released, and that is the resolution.”
When a woman has an abortion and also has children, the latter could be entangled with the excluded. This could lead to the creation of patterns and situations designed to recognise a forgotten member.