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The family and systemic constellation is a method of transgenerational family therapy founded in the 1990s by Bert Hellinger based on systemic theory and psychodramas. The family constellation is considered a brief therapy that can be practiced in groups or individual sessions where the representatives are replaced by figurines or other objects placed on the ground. The therapist works on the family dynamics represented by the client and thus helps them to find the entanglements and to evolve towards releasing these blocks.
According to Hellinger we are all part of a family system consisting of our parents, siblings, spouse, children, as well as the previous generations. According to this theory, certain behaviours, difficulties illnesses or traumas are the reflections of unresolved conflicts of previous generations and which are preserved in the family subconscious. Family constellation is a powerful method to reveal underlying patterns in your life. It can help us understand if our difficulties really belong to us or if they come from our ancestors.
Some events that occurred in previous generations can have repercussions on our current lives. As part of this work, we will examine the highlights of your family and look for "family loyalties" which can be burdens passed down from generation to generation that we carry without knowing it. The family constellation will make it possible to raise awareness of the obstacles that hinder us in our lives. The objective of this work is to restore order in the family system and to allow each member to assume the responsibility that falls to them and to reintegrate into their right place.
How Family Constellation works
The method will bring a clarification to our daily lives through "a role play". The one who makes their constellation states their problem with the help of the therapist. Then the person chooses the so-called representatives for the members of his family or for the symbolic representations related to his/her problem (work, money, illness etc.) and places them in the space. This way, the network of relationships within the family can be visualized. The representatives are guided by their feelings.
The peculiarity of family constellation is that it works with energetic and emotional force fields that become visible through the feelings of the representatives and their movements in space. During a group session, the people chosen as representatives of the members of the system will sometimes feel intense emotions as an indication of what may have played out between these family members. It is essential that the representatives do not even have information of the person who is represented by them. Hellinger, the developer of family constellations, calls this sense of connectedness, the morphogenic field of the family. Once the problem is brought to light, it could then be repaired by specific gestures or words that relieve discomfort and move the system towards to greater harmony.
This method may also have a therapeutic effect on the representative herself/himself, as one can work indirectly on their own family problems through somebody else’s system. Family constellation is not recommended in case of psychiatric disorders.
The training programmes created by the French organisation l’Atelier des Parents combine thenew developments in neurosciences, emotional intelligence and nonviolent communication. By learning about the different stages of the development of the child [small children (0-6), children (6-12) teens (12-18)] their brain, the parents can better understand their child’s behaviour. The approach taken from the nonviolent communication and positive psychology puts the emphasis on cooperation, on mutual respect and communication techniques that promote understanding. You can learn how to listen to your children so they feel genuinely understood and how to express your needs and concerns.
Why is it so efficient?
Looking into the different development stages we can understand what can we expect from a child and what is not possible for them in that given stage. Learning techniques how to express our feelings, how to encourage them to talk about their problems help us better cope with difficult situations. When a child feels understood and feels involved in decisions inside the family, he or she will more easily cooperate.
If you can’t take the course just yet, but would like to improve the communication between your child and yourself anyway, I’ve collected some useful articles that you can read in the Knowledge Base.