25 de enero de 2017

Unraveling Family Secrets

Unraveling Family Secrets
Bert Hellinger interviewed on Family Constellations,

By Humberto del Pozo in Santiago de Chile, September 1999.
(translated from Spanish)

What is the family psyche?
We observe when we work with the family that they are driven by a common principle or force, and I call that a family consciousness. We can observe that a circumscribed number of people are subject to unconscious drives to behave in a certain way. For instance, if in a family one member has been excluded or forgotten, for example a child that dyed early, and is no longer counted among the siblings, then later on in that family, in the next generation only, another member takes up the same fate of that child. This person then wants to die, with nobody knowing why.

And we do a family constellation. That means that in a group, a person collects himself and selects
representatives for the members of his family –including one for himself- and places them in a space in relationship to one another, following only his own intuition. And as soon as those people have taken up their places they feel like the people they represent without knowing them. So by means of the Family Constellation,  we get a real picture of what is going on in the family.
How does the therapy then work for the unconscious behaviors you mentioned?
Let’s say in this example, the person selects a person for his father, mother, his/her siblings and one for himself. Then he sets them up in a space, and they are all looking in one direction. That is very strange, so when we see that we know immediately somebody has been forgotten or excluded. Then they suddenly remember, “Oh Yes! ... there was a sister who was handicapped and died after three months...”  Then I select a representative for the dead sister and I place her in front of the others. And they all feel relieved for she can now be included, and another child who has became ill, for instance, of diabetes, has now a greater chance to deal with that illness in a positive way.

I have seen you require very little information from the client before asking him to set up his Family Constellation. Is that enough? How come?
Yes, for the perception is helped most by asking only for the most essential information, and for that to be done just prior to the constellation, not earlier.
The essential questions are:
  1. Who belongs to the family?
  2. Are there any stillborn members of the family, or any who have died early? Has there been any special fate
  in the family, for example someone with a disability?
  3. Was one of the parents or grandparents engaged, or married before, or in a significant prior relationship?
Any further questioning usually hinders openness to the phenomenological information which emerges. This is true both for the therapist as well as the representatives. This is also the reason why the therapist declines any prior conversations with the client or extensive questionnaires. In addition, it is best if the client remains silent during the constellation, and that the representatives refrain from asking the client any questions.

How is it that somebody is selected to represent an excluded person?
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Publicado en Constellation Solutions, London