Family ConstellationsNov 21, 2021
Family Constellation Therapy is an approach to help people to discover and resolve problems within the family dynamics. This is based on the understanding that problems can be passed down through generations, and by examining and effectively dealing with these familial patterns, the stresses and problems can be resolved. This method was developed by German psychotherapist Bert Hellinger in the mid-1990s, and was derived from his experiences and years of treating families, and focuses on the ability to see things from others' perspectives and by seeking alternative solutions. Hellinger also studied with other notable psychotherapists with other therapies that influenced his work, including psychodynamic therapy, hypnotherapy, systemic family therapy, neurolinguistics programming, transgenerational psychology and Zulu beliefs, amongst many others.
This approach draws from a number of other modalities, including Gestalt therapy, psychoanalysis, Virginia Satir's family sculpting, psychodynamic therapy, hyponotherapy, systemic family therapy, and Zulu beliefs.
How does it work?
Contrary to what you may think, a Family Constellation therapy session does not normally include the members of a specific family who are seeking problem resolution. Instead, the more common sessions make take place in a workshop with complete strangers. The individual seeking to resolve an issue is called the Seeker, the Facilitator is the therapist, and there may be other members involved who could also be Seekers, or used to represent the family members that help to demonstrate the disharmony within the family. One of the representatives will take the position of the Seeker in their family setting, while the Seeker steps back to observe the dynamics and to gain a different perspective on the problem identified.
There is no speaking or role-playing within the constellation; instead, the Seeker silently observes all of the Participants that have been placed in the Constellation. If this doesn't 'feel right' to the Seeker, then the Facilitator will change the arrangement of the Participants until this feels right to the Seeker. Hellinger calls this 'sense of connectedness', which is said to be felt telepathically by members of the group, the Morphogenic Field, or the Knowing Field.
The Participants may then be asked how they feel when being placed in various arrangements within the Family Constellation. Often, these feelings, or even physical sensations, help to inform the process and may help the Seeker to understand their feelings better or even help them to identify the source of the issue at hand.
Family Constellation Therapy can also be done through individual counselling, however, this requires the use of visualisation and imagination and by envisioning the connections to family members, either living or even if deceased.
Who can this help?
Family Constellation Therapy can be used to help people with various problems, including physical, emotional, mental, social and even spiritual issues, including:
- Family dysfunction
- Anxiety and depression
- Negative relationship problems
- Fears, traumas and phobias
- Obsessive thoughts
- Physical conditions
- Financial problems
- Bad habits
- Failure at work
Although many people claim to have resolved various personal and family issues using the Family Constellation method, it's not an evidence-based approach. However, saying that doesn't mean that it can't be effective for you, just like other complementary therapies and modalities that are based on 'energy' and the unseen. The important thing is that you feel a connection to this, as well as to your therapist, who is reputable and qualified. It's time to open your mind to possibilities beyond what we know and accept today, to methods that use concepts and knowledge that have been around for thousands of years.
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