SoulStar Connection Services

Family Constellations

TransGenerational Healing

Family Constellations is a trans-generational healing modality that explores the deep, unconscious dynamics which occur within a family system and how these often contribute to the challenges experienced in our everyday lives. A wide range of problems, even beyond family issues, can be addressed successfully through constellation work. These include: relationship difficulties, illnesses and diseases, dealing with the effects of abuse, depression and anxiety, career issues and many others.

 

The underlying premise is that 7 generations back can affect 7 generations forward, not just on a genetic physical level but also through situations and emotions that ancestors have experienced. Family constellations can be facilitated in a group situation, with strangers who represent family members, past and present or with a one-on-one consultation.

Imagine entering your early teenage years in Nazi Germany, afraid to speak the truth of what you believe for fear of death, suspected of being an “Enemy of the People” by the Nazi authorities right before being drafted and forced to fight for a cause you hated. After three years of combat, a young Bert Hellinger was captured by the Allies in 1945 but escaped and returned to Germany where he entered the priesthood. Like so many of that generation, Hellinger was deeply affected by the war and wondered how something like Nazism had been able to grow and flourish in his homeland. What had gone wrong, and what could be learned from it? Hellinger’s curiosity and his drive to put people above ideology, no matter the external pressures or costs, became a way of being for him. It would, in time, lead him to discover Family Constellation work.

 

An Independent Mind and Curious Spirit

Hellinger became a Catholic priest in the early 1950s but continued his tradition of thinking independently and following the truth of his heart. Perhaps it was inevitable that his time in the priesthood would be limited. He ended up as a missionary in South Africa, working with the Zulu people for 16 years. During that time, he became fluent in the Zulu language and culture. They showed him the power of ancestry and how practices around it could help free people from ancestral binds, build community and help create a strong and healthy social fabric. These tools, Hellinger realised, had been utterly lost inside of modern psychotherapy, which focused almost entirely on the individual.

 

Bridging Ancestral Healing with Psychotherapy and Bringing it into the World

In the late 1970s, Hellinger left the priesthood and returned to his native Germany to begin training in psychoanalysis, Gestalt therapy, transactional analysis, primal therapy, hypnotherapy, NLP and family therapy. He sought to distil the best of these practices, while including what he’d learned from the Zulu people.

 

In the early 1980s, Dr Hellinger began to integrate Virginia Satir’s family re-construction process with group and family therapy, particularly Moreno’s Psychodrama. This was when Hellinger began using group members to mimic a family system—the basic format of what was to become Family Constellation work. In working with the existing family-systems models, Hellinger began to create his own distinct approach, which focused on the responses of the representatives with his holistic approach. In other words, he didn’t believe it was useful to separate things like mind and brain, culture and family, emotions and thinking, conditioning and education, but rather to view them as a single, continuous whole.

 

Hellinger insisted on giving representatives very little background information, which he believed allowed them to access the deeper, potentially hidden dynamics of the person they were representing. This less defined space of receptivity became known as “The Knowing Field” (Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic or morphogenic fields). As a facilitator, Hellinger observed subtle movements in the field more than pre-conceived positions and paid attention to the impulses and experiences of those in the field. He began to develop a foundational theory of his Family Constellation work called the “Orders of Love” which defines the general patterns that, when violated, lead to dissonance in a family system. The term “Family Constellations” was first used by Alfred Adler in a slightly different context but was coined by Hellinger to describe his unique approach in the 1990s.