“It’s not me, it’s my maternal grandmother who woke up in me,” said Leonov’s hero in the film “An Ordinary Miracle”. A similar thought periodically visits many of us, we often hear it from friends or colleagues. And, as it turned out, for a reason!
German psychologist, philosopher and psychotherapist Bert Hellinger believed that it is important for a person to deal with personal events and family history so that they cease to affect his present. The idea developed into a system. Hellinger’s constellations independently on figures or in a group help to solve many psychological difficulties, remove internal blocks, deal with repetitive life scenarios, and understand the cause of personal difficulties. The solution comes through the discovery of the root cause, as a result of which difficult situations arise.
Let’s talk about the technique of conducting family constellations, to whom they will be useful, where to start acquaintance with the method and how to do the constellation alone.
What are constellations
Systemic Constellations is a special method of group therapy in psychology. This is a new technique that appeared at the end of the 20th century. In recent years, this type of systemic therapy has become popular all over the world. The authorship of family constellations belongs to the German psychotherapist, philosopher and theologian Bert Hellinger. It was he who first tracked and described the connection between human behavior (health, personal relationships, career success, ambition, fears) and family (birth) trauma.
The generic field contains information about the events of the family’s past, all significant incidents that have already happened to relatives occur in the present and will occur in the future. Bert Hellinger’s constellations allow us to correct scenarios that affect us: to close situations started by relatives (ask for forgiveness, correct behavior), and understand unconscious reactions.
The description of the method of constellations according to Hellinger is based on the idea of a close connection with the genus and the circle of influence is not limited only to close and blood relatives.
The benefits of training
Hellinger Constellation Therapy allows you to request a solution to a problem from any area of life.
The method helps to find a solution in the case of:
- chronic feelings of guilt, shame, fear;
- feelings of hopelessness, lack of a life purpose;
- chronic diseases;
- family difficulties or difficulties in personal life;
- the inability to conceive a child for a long time;
- discord with relatives;
- financial difficulties;
- questions about professional development;
- repetition of the same life situations.
In the family system, there is always a resource for “healing” that can be directed towards working through an exciting psychological or somatic issue.
The danger of Hellinger’s constellations
Before trying the described practice on oneself, the question arises: “How can Hellinger’s constellations be dangerous?”
Arrangements are prohibited:
- people with mental disabilities;
- pregnant women;
- people who have recently had serious illnesses.
Before conducting therapy, the psychotherapist must advise the client and determine whether he can resort to this practice. In some cases, it will be more effective to undergo prolonged therapy.
Well-known psychologist Veronika Stepanova expresses her opinion about constellations.
Only client images should be displayed in the spread. Be responsible for choosing a constellator. An illiterate specialist can admit a mixing of roles: from his unconscious or the images of substitutes. The psychotherapist should monitor the process, follow the rules and make sure that substitutes describe feelings and bodily sensations related to the client’s shifted roles, and do not experience them through personal experience and do not give them evaluations.
How to do the placement yourself
Answering the question whether it is possible to carry out the Hellinger constellations independently, the answer is “yes”. But this method gives a less tangible result, since the human psyche tries to protect itself from memories of unpleasant, traumatic moments.
Self-placement process description:
- formulate a request;
- make a list of close relatives;
- supplement the list with distant relatives;
- remember all family members, about whom they try not to mention in the family;
- focus and remember those people who have had a strong influence on you and your relatives (both positive and negative);
- on blank A4 sheets of paper, write each name: one name – one sheet;
- turn the sheets over and mix;
- lay out the sheets (with the inscription down);
- stand with your bare feet on each sheet and concentrate on physical sensations and emotions;
- give the state an assessment from 0 to 10, write it down on the sheet;
- then select the sheets with the minimum and maximum grade.
The root of the request is hidden in the name with the minimum rating, the resource is embedded in the person with the maximum. Mentally turn to the person with whom the negative dynamics is associated and ask for permission to get rid of it.
A person with the maximum assessment can be approached with a request for strength and energy. Save the sheet with its name. In difficult times, imagine the image of this person. Carry a photo of him with you, if you have one.
Hellinger built his system on the basic human ability to sense. Family constellations are like a game in which participants work with an information field.
By engaging in collective therapy, all “players” tune in to the general wave, feeling a sense of emotional uplift. An important factor in therapy is the personality of the leader. Its main purpose is to direct the stream of consciousness of the participants, structuring it in such a way that through their words the answer to the participant’s request is revealed.
There are three parties involved in group therapy:
- presenter and client;
Constellation is impossible without a client and a constellator (psychotherapist). They represent the key links. Deputies (group members) represent the second level of the system and act out the images of the client.
They adopt and reproduce:
- facial expressions;
- emotional response;
- the roles of the client’s father, mother, grandparents, children and distant relatives;
- personify “feeling”, “idea”, “symptom”.
With the help of group members, a person can see the content of the deep layers of the unconscious (memory).
The client himself chooses from the whole group who will become the deputy and who will remain in the observer position. In professional therapy, the client independently forms a request, describes the purpose of the study and the desired result. The psychotherapist monitors the client’s condition and, if necessary, guides him. By raising the issues that concern the person, the facilitator and participants create organized pressure and help him heal.
Algorithm of carrying out:
- consultation and problem statement;
- selection of deputies;
- the arrangement of the group in the room is relative to each other;
- monitoring the process, reactions;
- psychotherapist adjustments;
The duration of a group therapy session according to the Hellinger method can be from thirty minutes to three hours. Most often, the whole process takes about an hour. The dynamics of changes has been going on for several months.
An experienced and qualified psychotherapist can perform the constellation without the involvement of physical substitutes – the imagination constellation technique.
An example of a group placement is shown in the video:
When reading the responses to the request for “Hellinger Constellation Reviews”, most often we come across positive reviews from clients, which confirm the effectiveness of the practice. People get a strong emotional charge and a kind of impetus for life changes.
Those who played the role of substitute say that the answers sometimes seem obvious, but without external encouragement, people seemed to hesitate to accept what was happening.
Opinion of psychotherapists
The method has received recognition in the world scientific community, but disputes about its effectiveness do not subside today. In some European countries, psychological constellations are prohibited from being used as therapy. Interestingly, the creator’s homeland was also included in the list of countries. The argument against is the fact that the method is “unscientific”, while psychotherapists who support Hellinger’s practice speak of its high effectiveness, calling it almost a panacea.
Many experts recognize the family constellation as a tool for deep work and recommend resorting to it only when absolutely necessary.
The Hellinger constellation can be perceived as an auxiliary tool for the visual display of our own unconscious, patterns of behavior and images that are inherent in us for no apparent reason. With the help of the results of practice, we can recognize them and change them in the desired direction.
If you feel the need to turn to such a serious technique as constellations, you need to pay attention to the psychotherapist’s qualifications, experience and technical competence.
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