Introduction to family constellations

Families can be a source of support and nourishment, but also of suffering and distress. Many people draw a sense of identity, strength and belonging from their family, but many also feel compromised, trapped or abused in family relationships. Patterns of thinking, behaviour and interpersonal relating are often passed down the generations and replicated in the present. The roots of these dynamics are often unknown and hidden, but they can cause all kinds of symptoms and difficulties, including depression, chronic illness, relationship problems, low self-esteem and questions of identity. Family Constellations is an approach that can bring to light some of the hidden patterns in your own and your family of origin, often leading to surprising resolutions and healing of long-standing conflicts and problems.

The history of constellations work as an approach

This unique method was developed by Bert Hellinger, a German psychotherapist, who worked for many years as a missionary priest among the Zulu tribe in Africa. He then studied systemic therapy and trained in psychoanalysis and Primal Therapy. Hellinger discovered that within our personal family or wider system there are hidden dynamics that need to be respected and worked through. If these systems are out of place or disturbed, all kinds of problem can occur, usually affecting the most vulnerable people in the system.

In Hellinger’s view, the healing potential of this work stems from the inherent wisdom in the field of the constellation which allows hidden dynamics to come to light and enable a healthier flow of life energy and love. Hellinger’s work is a unique combination of in-depth psychotherapy and soul-work, of European philosophy and the wisdom of more traditional rituals of honouring and healing the ancestors. It was first presented in the early years of 1990’s but since then has become internationally known and is now used world-wide in individual and group settings, in organisational consultation and coaching, in education and in environmental work.

How does it work ?

In a group setting, other members of the group stand in as ‘representatives’ of the significant people in your system, and they way they stand, move or are positioned in relation to each other constellation becomes a ‘living map’ that can reveal the system’s deeper dynamics as well as indicate pathways towards resolutions that were not possible before.

Constellations techniques can also be transferred to individual work, with only client and therapist present, but using cushions, markers or figures to represent the significant others in the system. In engaging with this work you can gain a deeper understanding of your family or other systems you are involved with, unravel personal issues embedded in family entanglements, identify hidden information that can unblock the healing movement and access the healing potential inherent in the systemic field.

12 & 13 May 2012:

Oxford Systemic Constellations Weekend

What I offer:

I offer individual constellations session which take place in my consulting room in Oxford. Such sessions are for 1 hour and cost £70.
For several years I have been running Constellation weekend workshops, usually in London and sometimes in Oxford.
None are planned at the moment, but contact me if you are interested in participating in the future.