Suddenly, we experience that it is possible that we are united in a way which goes far beyond our usual experience. This greater soul encompasses not only the living, but also the dead. And this is something quite extraordinary to experience: that we are part of a greater realm which unites the living and the dead, and that we have to meet the dead as we meet the living.
Bert Hellinger. Originator of Family Systems Constellation work.
How Family Constellation works
So, here’s how it works: First, let’s assume that almost all the issues we face have their roots in our family of origin.
Even for problems that emerged more recently, the seeds were already sown.
A group of people come together under the supervision of a facilitator to help a client to transform an unresolved issue; emotional, inter-personal, professional, spiritual, even a health issue.
Often it’s something that conventional modalities have not helped resolve.
The other participants do not need to know any details. In fact, the less they know the better.
Members of the group are then asked to represent specific members of the client’s family and are directed to stand in the agreed workspace, which is usually a designated area in the center of the room.
Sometimes only two or three participants are involved, sometimes ten or more.
The facilitator and client observe how the ‘representatives’ interact with each other — choreography, gesture, expression, reaction.
The facilitator will question the ‘representatives’ and ask for their response to the situation as it unfolds.
The ‘representatives’ will interact with each other, observe their own feelings and reactions, respond when inspired to do so, and if called on by the facilitator will speak, either to relate their experience, or to address other participants directly.
Something extraordinary begins to happen. The simulated family system takes on a life of its own.
It’s always mind-blowing how easily representatives can let go of second-guessing, role-playing, acting, or imposing their own ideas on this family simulation.
We’ve seen this time and again, even with people entirely new to the work.
It’s as if permission had been given for each person to step into a collective field of energy and unconscious information, to trust the vast resources that, as it turns out, we all have access to.
Call it intuition, or the collective unconscious. In Family Constellation Work we call it ‘the field’.
It doesn’t need to be explained. The act of the client witnessing the movements, interactions, and the words of the people who represent their family system invariably creates new perspectives, new appreciation, new possibilities and choices, and not infrequently will shift the habits of a lifetime.
However many times we witness, participate in, or facilitate this work it’s still a mystery and a miracle, beautiful and sublime, a testament to the unfathomable nature of ‘mind’ itself.
Through Family Constellations, we are able to watch family entanglements unravel, by observing representatives who stand for members of the family system, with the support of an experienced facilitator….In Family Constellations those who are present in the circle, despite often having no former connection with other participants, are willing to stand as representatives of a family system, which may have suffered loss or conflicted relationships. Facilitator, client, representatives, and all who are present, gain access to a wider field, a larger, deeper way of ‘knowing’ and healing. The generosity of this work and what strangers are willing to do for each other IS phenomenal. — Francesca Mason Boring