Family Constellation is a great modality to work with. It is a three-dimensional group process that has the power to shift generations of suffering and unhappiness. Bert Hellinger is the founder of this work. He studied and treated families for more than 50 years. In his study, he found that many of us unconsciously ‘take on’ destructive familial patterns of anxiety, depression, anger, guilt, aloneness, alcoholism and even illness as a way of "belonging" in our families. Family Constellations allow us to break these patterns so that we can live healthier, happier, more fulfilled lives. In a moment of insight, a new life course can be set in motion and the results can be life-changing.
A family constellations session typically takes place in a workshop made up of a group of individuals who are not related stand in for family members of the person or couple presenting a difficulty or concern. The person seeking resolution of an issue, who is referred to as the seeker, or the group facilitator chooses these representatives and places them into position as members of the individual's family, also choosing one person to take the place of the seeker in order to complete the family dynamics. The use of other individuals to represent the family is believed to illuminate the disharmony within the family, and the individuals standing in as members of the family are believed to be able to feel and experience the emotions of the person whose role they have taken on. Hellinger, the developer of family constellations, calls this sense of connectedness, which is said to be felt telepathically by members of the group, the morphogenic field.
The representatives speak very little, however, the sense of knowing results from the process is said to be apparent to all who participate. The seeker watches from the outside to gain new perspective on the situation. Even when an issue is not fully resolved by the constellation process, the individual who presented the issue may still achieve insight into the issue for which they are seeking help. The members of the constellation do not know the seeker or are aware of the underlying concerns or issues brought forth by the seeker, but they often report an awareness of specific emotions and feelings directly related to the individual's situation. The facilitator may ask members to explain what they are feeling, specifically in their relation to other members of the family.
Resolution may not be immediately clear to the person who has presented the issue. The facilitator in the session repositions members, occasionally asking them to speak their feelings aloud.
Proponents of the family constellations approach believe each member of a family, adult or child, longs to feel significant and find a place within the family construct and support the method as a helpful step in the process of achieving this sense of significance and belonging. People who participate in this technique often find themselves unearthing surprisingly emotional reactions regarding their relationships, familial or otherwise, regardless of their age.
Is Family Constellations for me?
Family constellations is gaining popularity as an alternative approach to therapy, particularly in Europe, America, Asia, and Australia, where it is seen by many as a powerful and cost-effective method of addressing relationship-based challenges. Family Constellations popularity may be in part due to the brief nature of the therapy and its unique method of resolving challenges in which others are involved without necessitating the presence of those other individuals.
There are many individuals report with success stories of achieving significant insight and clarity through constellation work, but because of the subjective therapeutic process and experiential nature of family constellations, family constellations therapy is not an evidence-based approach.