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Systemic Family Constellations

Trans-Generational And Systemic Family Healing
A relatively new holistic counselling approach, Systemic Family Constellations, actually known as Family Constellations and Trans-Generational Healing pioneered by the German Psychotherapist Bert Hellinger has delivered outstanding results for not only a multitude of psychological and other personal issues but also offers us a different perspective to view the creation of chronic disease for the purposes of the creation of improved health.

Systemic Family Constellations may assist with the issues listed below and includes but is not limited to:

  • a chronic sense of not feeling that one belongs or that something is missing from one’s life for example, being adopted or having a parent absent from one’s life
  • feeling stuck in your career, not being able to achieve career success due to recurring disruptive patterns, corporate conflicts
  • couples relationships for example, divorce conflicts
  • genetic illnesses for example, mitral valve prolapse
  • mental illnesses for example, bi-polar depression and schizophrenia
  • physical and emotional abuse for example, violence and rape or incest
  • family secrets for example, miscarriages and abortions
  • accepting one’s own homosexuality for example, not being able to conceive children

Systemic Family Constellation therapy does not promise to diagnose, cure or treat any specific physical or mental disorder but does offer us the opportunity to examine the underlying hidden family dynamics we are being subconsciously loyal to which may be negatively impacting on our physical or mental health. This new awareness potentially may bring to surface possibilities previously not considered important in the process of healing.

Health And Systemic Family Therapy
Although Systemic Family Constellations therapy is most often used to uncover the hidden dynamics within a family system for the purposes of alleviating psychological issues or as an aid to better understanding and improving our interpersonal relationships with others, another very interesting and exciting aspect of this therapy is the possibilities it offers us to uncover the underlying family dynamics which may contribute to the creation of illness whether such illness be of a physical or more mental nature. This is not to say that during the process of facilitating a Systemic Family Constellation for a client that we are seeking to place blame on any one of our family members for our physical or mental ailments for example, blaming your father for your alcoholism or your mother for your anxiety disorder. We are simply trying to uncover the hidden systemic ‘entanglements’ within the family system which may be contributing to the development of physical, emotional, mental or spiritual dis-ease and by restoring the natural ‘Orders of Love’ we may potentially assist in the process of ‘healing’ by creating a new found awareness of the hidden loyalties to our family of origin which may be playing a role in the creation of physical or mental illness.

The Ancient ‘Orders Of Love’
Bert Hellinger learned from the South African Zulu culture that there is a natural flow of love or the ‘Orders of Love’ that flows from our grandparents to our parents and in turn this flow of love flows to us from our biological parents. Any disruption in this natural flow of the ‘Orders of Love’ may be met with devastating consequences by the current or future generations of a family system for example, when parents go through a divorce their children may experience a sense of not knowing which of the two parents to be the most loyal to and then ‘sits’ with the problem of not feeling free to love both of his parents completely and equally. In other words the child of divorce may experience a subconscious split loyalty and this in turn may manifest as bi-polar depression or schizophrenia disorder.

Let me reiterate, we are not seeking to blame any one particular family member for our issues, we are simply examining what is, so as to restore the ancient ‘Orders of Love’ and to create previously not considered possibilities for moving toward a greater state well-being.

Disruption And The ‘Orders Of Love’
Commonly referred to as systemic entanglements by the facilitators of Trans-Generational Healing and Systemic Family Constellations, the term systemic entanglement simply refers to any individual who takes on the fate or feelings of the previous generation or any particular ancestor and then subconsciously lives out their lives as if they were the ancestor.

Living out the fate or feelings of the previous generations or a particular ancestor, is done out of subconscious love and loyalty to the family system in an attempt to heal the family system and some possibilities for systemic entanglements include but is not limited to:

  • the untimely death of a grandparent, parent, child or sibling; including suicide
  • losing ones’ first love for example, arranged marriage, untimely death
  • being related to a murderer or being related to a family member who was murdered
  • being related to a rapist or being related to a family member who experienced rape
  • unfair inheritance or gaining at the expense of others
  • having a family member who is a ‘black sheep’ or a cast out from the family
  • having experienced a complicated birthing process, abortions and miscarriages

The Mystery Of The ‘Knowing – Informing’ Field
Where the real ‘magic’ begins is during the setting up of a Systemic Family Constellation, through representation and by asking the client to choose representatives from the participants attending a Systemic Family Constellation workshop to represent his or her family members and to represent the health concern or any other issue they want to work on healing during the constellation that is being setup. The client will intuitively place the representatives for their family members along with a representative for the issue being worked on during the particular constellation, in the positions the client intuitively feels most accurately represents the current issue in relation to his or her family members.

The representatives, none of which need to be particularly intuitively gifted will almost immediately start to feel the emotions of the particular family member being represented or the particular issue being represented and to a certain extent have intuitive access to the information needed to arrive at a healing resolution for the client.

Not much is intellectually understood about how this process works, however, it is through the work of Biologist Dr. Rupert Sheldrake on Morphogenic fields, that we can at least gleam some understanding of how this mysterious process works.

It is accepted that there is an invisible energy / knowing / informing field that connects each and every family member with each other. It is almost as if every family member is a part of the group consciousness or ‘Soul’ of their particular family group and it is through tapping into this united ‘Family Consciousness Field’ that the hidden dynamics underlying the family system is revealed during a Systemic Family Constellation and it is with this information supplied via the ‘knowing’ field that the facilitator then, with the skilful application of healing sentences, attempts to restore the ‘Orders of Love’ within the client’s original family system, as dictated by the ancient ‘Orders of Love’ since time immemorial.

The ‘Orders of Love’ can be restored by simply examining what is fact, and through the use of powerful healing sentences the clients’ family structure may potentially be rearranged to resemble that of a healthier family structure in an attempt to stimulate the healing process.

The Therapeutic Process
The process of setting up and facilitating a Systemic Family Constellation so that a healing resolution may be achieved is very hard to describe intellectually, without the direct experience of observing someone else’s constellation, being chosen as representative in a constellation or choosing to have your own constellation facilitated. However, for individuals who may not feel comfortable with the traditional group setting a variety of other methods exist to facilitate a constellation during a one-on-one consultation with a facilitator.

Healing Revelations And Resolutions In The Field
All actual clients’ real names have been altered for the purposes of confidentiality.

‘James aged 22 decided to setup a Family Constellation for his Bi-Polar Type II depression diagnosis.   What became immediately evident through the representatives was that James felt a great split between his parents and the representative for James demonstrated this clearly by not knowing next to which parent to stand during the constellation.

A healing resolution was eventually arrived at by placing James next to his father in the constellation in his rightful position in the world of men and through the skilled use of healing sentences James left with his parents’ marital issues which he was carrying for his parents, in attempt to heal the rift between his parents.

During this constellation James came to the realisation it wasn’t his responsibility to heal the deep rift between his parents. After the constellation James reported that his relationship with his father started to gradually improve and eventually his depression cleared up’.

‘A lady aged 52 named Katarina requested a Family Constellation be setup for her after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure.   During her constellation it was revealed that there was a long line of broken-heartedness that went back four generations in the direct line of the men in her family. Katarina’s representative then proceeded to give back the broken-heartedness and deep pain she was carrying for the male line of her family. After the constellation Katarina’s health started to gradually improve and later it was confirmed that all of Katarina’s male ancestors suffered similar chronic heart conditions.

We can directly relate both of the above-mentioned case studies to the hidden family dynamics we are all subconsciously loyal to out of a deep sense of love and loyalty to our families of origin. This begs the question : is it enough to simply approach any physical dis-ease or mental dis-ease simply from the viewpoint of medication or surgery?

The truly holistic and more empowered approach to healing can then be achieved when physician, Family Constellation facilitator and client all participate in the healing process.

For more information, to schedule a one-on-one consultation in person or via Skype, or to attend a Family Constellation weekend workshop call Juan now on 0615076455 or alternatively Juan may be contacted at juandebeer@hotmail.com.

Juan Odendal is an author, Family Constellations Facilitator and Self-Empowerment / Development Teacher. Juan has a special interest in Systemic Family Therapy, New Thought Thinking and Holistic Counseling. Juan facilitates both Family Constellations workshops and conducts one-on-one consultations from his home base in Rooihuiskraal Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa, via Skype both nationally and internationally by request. In his free time, Juan enjoys working as a medic and spending time with his husband, loyal dog and friends. Juan is available for public speaking engagements and to facilitate a workshop in your city by request.

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