Family and Systemic Constellations: a method, approach, therapy or something else?
By Alemka Dauskardt, M.A. Psych
Family and Systemic Constellations are a living and growing body of knowledge that is mostly discovered through an experiential method of inquiry.
It successfully resists any attempts to be comprehensively defined. As soon as we say anything about it, including how it came about or who “invented” it, as soon as we call it this or that way, there is a myriad of voices who offer a different perspective.
Risking that, I offer my view that Family Constellations have been developed by Bert Hellinger, a German psychotherapist, as an innovative and original approach, through synthesis of many different modalities and strands of knowledge coupled with his own phenomenological insights.
It was originally applied within a psychotherapy framework as a method of offering professional help in ameliorating some of life’s difficulties which are encountered in everyday living. At the beginning it was maybe merely a method in which unrelated persons were set up to represent family members, and through which we gained a direct insight into the dynamics operating in the system being set up.
A peculiar phenomenon which became apparent through these “set ups” was that strangers somehow picked up the information about the family members when they were set up to represent them.
How a non-judgmental stance helps when facilitating difficult conversations about diversity
By Harrison Snow
Trauma results when an individual or group suffers a natural or man-made catastrophe.
If the suffering is strong enough, a certain amount of associated feelings and memories are repressed as a survival strategy. Trauma and its repression can occur on an individual, family, organizational or social level. The strategy of denial, repression or addiction may provide some refuge from the pain. However, the price is steep and symptoms often occur as a silent call for help.
Facilitating a discussion about diversity often raises issues about race, class, gender and criminal justice, to name a few. These topics are hugely difficult to discuss in a group because of the intensity of feelings that may emerge. Feelings and judgments can spring not only from an individual’s personal history but also from unresolved family and social trauma that has been stored in the individual and collective subconscious.
Welcome to our blog, which explores what people are doing with Family and Systemic Constellations here, there and everywhere throughout North America.