Family Constellations represent a therapeutic approach founded by Bert Hellinger.
This approach has its roots in psychotherapy, family therapy, group therapy, system theory and phenomenology. Bert Hellinger has brought all these theories together and developed this work technique.
Against all expectations, the name Family Constellations has nothing to do with stars or astrology, it is as a matter of fact an abbreviated translation from the German language, meaning „placing the family in space”, (Patrice Van Eersel, Catherine Maillard, 2011, page 58).
Family Constellations can be used in all the environments where there is a need to understand group dynamics.
The method is an efficient tool for understanding and handling interpersonal issues appearing among families and organizations.
Bert Hellinger speaks about the existence of “love laws” in families, or „orders of love”.
Systemic Laws/ Orders of Love in Families:
The same way there are natural laws in nature, there are laws of the family system among a family system. When these laws are not applied, there are going to be consequences upon the lives of the members in that family.
Knowing the systemic laws, becoming aware and understanding the dynamics in a family, the healing words offered by the facilitator (sentences which reflect what it is, what is noticeable), these all bring about openness and help rebalancing a specific situation in a family.
Some of these Orders of Love:
- Each member has an equal right to belong in his own family system.
- In terms of birth order there is a specific hierarchy: firstborns are firstborns.
- Parents offer, children receive. The gift is life.
- Parents offer to their children what they have received from their parents.
When we avoid these rules by excluding members from the family, by not mourning the departed young, by keeping secrets related to illegitimate children given for adoption, or related to adulterous or undisclosed relationships previous to marriage, then the consequences can be experienced by the individuals in the next generations.
All these can happen without the person realizing why they feel the way they feel. These feelings show up at the surface as depression, addictions, physical and mental illness, difficulties with starting and keeping long intimate relationships.
One can work with this method in both individual and group settings.
Also read the article: Movie Recommendation: Coco (2017) – On Family Loyalty and Constellations
Association website: International Systemic Constellations Association
„J’ai mal a mes ancetres, La psychogenealogie aujourd’hui”, Patrice Van Eersel, Catherine Maillard
„Coming Home, One Step into Family Constellations”, Barbara Morgan