“The souls of children and grandchildren are receptive to the unresolved traumas of their parents and grandparents, and to their repressed thoughts and feelings. They take them into their own psyches. These thoughts and feelings that the parents have been unable to integrate are internalized by the children and grandchildren and felt in their souls, as if they were their own. In time they become mixed up with their own experiences. Like a virus in computer software, they occupy the ego-programme of descendants once they are activated by triggering events.” (Franz Ruppert)
What is Constellation Work?
Constellation work is an experiential process developed by Bert Hellinger that addresses our problems from the Soul’s perspective through the use of movement, expression and ritual.
A Systemic Constellation is a facilitated process that reveals hidden dynamics and resources that can bring resolution to internal issues within any relational system – personal, professional or organizational.
How does it work?
The dictionary defines constellation as “a group of associated people or things”. Constellation Work is a quiet, deceptively simple, yet profound approach that enables us to identify the very roots of our being – our families, our ancestors and the hidden dynamics and loyalties that lie within that foundation, also known as the family Soul.
We’re all familiar with the concept of the soul but it may be baffling to understand how the idea applies collectively to the family.
First, let’s examine the origins of the word soul. The soul according to many religious and philosophical traditions is the ethereal substance particular to all living beings. Such traditions often consider the soul immortal and the true source of sentience in each living being.
Sentience, according to Webster’s Dictionary is “feeling or sensation as distinguished from perception and thought”. Woven into the fabric of family consciousness are all the dynamics of trauma that have occurred, not only in the present nucleus but in previous generations as well. Very often a traumatic incident is downplayed or ignored in an effort to preserve the semblance of “normalcy”, usually as an avoidance of pain and/or shame. Eventually, the denial becomes a way of being and the family secret is conveniently forgotten. However, the trauma will continue to have a reverberative effect on the soul.
The Ancient Greeks, who sometimes referred to the soul as psyche, used the same word for ‘alive’ as for ‘ensouled’. Constellation work recognizes that trauma unaddressed remains ensouled or alive in the psyche of the entire family even throughout subsequent generations. While the details of the original trauma may remain enshrouded in mystery, the resulting dynamic can lead to a multitude of problems stemming from a seemingly intangible source.
For instance, we may find ourselves encountering an experience or repetitive behavior pattern that continues to persist in spite of our repeated attempts to find release through various therapies and healing techniques. From the standpoint of constellation work this is viewed as an entanglement in someone else’s fate or, the phenomena of assuming the suffering of others. When a trauma has been denied acknowledgment, it may manifest randomly in a later generation as another member of the family repeats similar characteristics, longings or behaviors. Suicide attempts, unwanted pregnancies, abortion, life-threatening accidents or illnesses (both physical and mental), murder, etc. are all examples of some of the seemingly inexplicable patterns that might recur.
The Constellation Process
Psychology focuses on one’s emotional responses and reactions to what has happened; in a constellation the focal point is simply the facts of what happened. As a result, an inventory of family history, while beneficial, is not necessarily required.
From this point the client is instructed and guided to set up or recreate the relationships and dynamics of the issue with the utilization of the other participants in the workshop. The representatives then become antennae for the system energies of the issue in question.
Similar to shamanism Constellation work is conducted outside of linear time in a space where the lines of past, present and future are dissolved. Scientists sometimes refer to this as the morphogenic field, “that which consists of all that is not matter”, where communication is instantaneous and unrestricted by time and space. This creates the possibility for us to work with the whole family, including both the deceased and those yet to be born. As with shamanism, this allows for the involvement of our ancestors and those who can assist from the Spirit realm, which then facilitates the possibility of identifying and overcoming family destinies that have repeated themselves for numerous generations. It is from this perspective that it becomes comprehendible that a representative, during the Constellation work, is able to perceive the feelings and emotions of absolute strangers, even when the person they are representing is deceased.
One very important aspect of Constellation work is that while no one is leading the process, the facilitator plays an essential role in providing guidance and support. With experience, a trained facilitator can track the family Soul, watching for telltale signs and movements that may reveal hidden dynamics that can eventually lead to resolution.
The resultant effect on the participant is immediate and lasting. Therefore, there’s no need for the issue to be addressed on a continuing basis. The transformation takes place in the present, the effect of which continues to be revealed in our lives as the process is more fully integrated. In order to preserve the original clarity of the experience and a strong connection to the images and feelings that arise during the process, participants are encouraged to avoid excessive verbal analysis or storytelling in the days that follow. This helps to maintain the original memory of the healing encounter, which in turn facilitates a deeper integration process within the Soul.
For a schedule of upcoming Systemic Constellation workshops click here
Phone Sessions are also available
Call (303) 530-3175
Read More about Systemic Constellation Work
Download the article How to Heal Your Family
by Louise Danielle Palmer (featuring Jan Rupp)
Featured in Spirituality & Health magazine
For more information on the Systemic Constellation work of Bert Hellinger