Contents – who can participate?
Typically a client addresses unresolved issues of her/his relationships in her present family, in the family of origin or in any other important group including the professional realm. Issues concerning physical health can be well clarified and resolved accordingly. A systemic constellation also helps in the sense of a precautionary systemic clarification when starting a family and pregnancy. For participants from psychosocial professions: supervision can be done very effectively by setting up constellations about the client-therapist relationship. For clients with difficult treatment and/or counseling stories. New perspectives and game changing insights can be gained in a very lively, direct way. Organizational constellations refer to any system other than partner and family. Conflicting organizational dynamics can be revealed very quickly and effectively. Summarizing: any issue is welcome that holds a sufficient amount of passion, determination and existential energy to carry the client along through his work.
The main tools:
First of all the basic tool of constellation work is representative perception: the natural capacity of human beings to know from inside another person’s condition even without any previous information about that person. Being chosen as a representative means to experience physically, emotionally and mentally that other person’s life as if the representative literally was herself that other person. Every human being has that ability and can, in a constellation workshop, dispose of it on demand. What the representatives experience are the signposts guiding through the constellation.
Secondly, the importance of the present group: the group members are witnesses to the ongoing process. Their mindful presence is intensely fostering the “knowing field” unfolding in a constellation and providing new and often surprising insights.
Thirdly, the duration of the workshop: 3 days of intensely shared experiences means a journey through a multitude of fates, equally painful and joyful and allows deep layers of the participants souls to unfold – which simply needs its time, including the nights, in a nourishing environment.
And finally, the joy of exploring, learning and deeply understanding is simply an exceptional existential pleasure.
The foundation: consciousness
Constellations are basically addressing our natural inclination towards unfolding of our consciousness: we want to really understand our inner and outer reality. What does really move me from deep within, how can I free myself from all those critical voices that want me to be different from what I really am – conscious understanding and knowing are the central aim in constellations, and in life.
The role of the therapist in family constellations
Facilitating systemic constellations requires a thorough therapeutic qualification and a good knowledge of proven therapeutic procedures in which constellation work has its roots. At the heart of the therapeutic work is the phenomenological practice in the sense of open, unintentional perception similar to Freud’s “equally suspended attention” of the psychoanalyst.
Phenomenology as the core orientation allows he field of a constellation to become a “knowing field” with plenty of relevant information.
Professionally dealing with the knowing field means for the therapist
Using his own personal life experiences and their resonance in the constellation as well as sound theoretical knowledge indispensable for safely navigating through often quite challenging waters. E.g. it is crucial to know in all details: any difficult fate can lead to dynamics of suffering. Early death and loss, war, expulsion, injustice – suffered or inflicted -, physical and mental disabilities or serious illnesses can lead to rejection and exclusion of family members. This then leads to the unconscious attempt of children and grandchildren to feel and act like the rejected/ excluded/ lost ones in order to remember and include them again. Children or grandchildren in such cases can experience a strange guilt or an inexplicable suffering.
All this becomes visible in constellations and gets expressed through intense feelings and emotions. Insights that are initially unimaginable surprise and challenge the people working – but above all they touch our hearts and give us courage. The signals of the body lead the way. In this sense constellation work is a form of very careful body therapy.
The integration of the experiences happens through practicing mindfulness in everyday life: one starts seeing oneself as well as the important others in a new, solution-oriented light gained from the insights in the constellations. Very helpful for integrating the new understanding is patience, an explorative curiosity and the pleasure of gaining more space in one’s own life.