This does not take skill or previous experience. The client places the representatives in relation to each other, creating a 3D representation of the bigger system around the problem. The often strange loyalties between people of different generations who had never met each other become clear. A constellation may show us things that we really don’t want to see, at a conscious level and it takes courage and openness to see differently. But if you are wanting to do a constellation, at another level, you are wanting to see/ choose a different option. In this way Constellation work offers the experience of the internal paradox – (and paradoxes are at the heart of our universe – is light a particle or a wave? – both!) (take out and use as below)
Family Constellations are usually done in a group of 8 – 30 participants. A person who is “constellating” will present an issue to the facilitator, and with the help of some basic family information, the facilitator will suggest who the client could set up for their constellation. The client chooses representatives from the participants for family members and places them spatially intuitively. . The client places the representatives in relation to each other, creating a 3D representation of the bigger system around the problem.
The spatial positions and bodily sensations of the representatives give information about the systemic entanglement. The representatives when standing in the “field” of the system, feel sensations and emotions that fit the person who they are representing. Rupert Sheldrake describes this as the morphogenetic field, and by Jung, as the collective unconscious. Being a representative does not take skill or even experience.
The family constellation process uses images and the body experience, few words or narrative. The first image that presents at the beginning of a client’s process is that of their internal picture, the inner image of their current family system. From this image the facilitator has a working hypothesis of the family dynamic. This is confirmed or added to by the feedback from the representatives.
As the constellation progresses, the hidden dynamics of the system are revealed. Slowly the process moves toward a resolution where the inner image is one where each member of the family has found a good place in the system. This is measured by the bodily ease and comfort that each representative feels. The resolving image is a new inner reality that the client can take with them into their outer world (Hellinger 1998).
The facilitator uses the information from the morphogenetic field or the “knowing field” through the representatives, to strengthen and resource the client towards a deeper understanding of the hidden dynamics in their family system.
What is a representative?
A person wishing to work on an issue chooses representatives for various members of his/her family from the circle of participants at the workshop. The person positions the chosen representatives spatially in the centre of the circle in a way that feels right. Within a short time, the representatives begin to experience physical sensations, emotions and urges belonging to the family members they represent. It is as though they become the “antennae”, receiving information from a “family soul” that is mysteriously present in the room. The facilitator asks questions, makes observations, suggests healing words, and the family is repositioned in a healthier way. The client comes to see their situation in a new image and this creates a resolution picture that can help to break his/her identification with the ancestor’s difficult fate.
Representatives are not role playing. The information comes via the body and not the head. It is a great opportunity to grow and practice your intuition, and to enrich and expand your life experience and knowledge, deepening and accessing empathy and the feeling of being connected. Bodily feelings leave strong tracks in our memory and affect how we later perceive and value things.
What is the goal of Family Constellations?
The goal is to strengthen and resource a client. It is resolution oriented and opens up the way for the client to re-connect with their family of origin and allow the energy, or in Hellinger’s words, the love to flow. The family energy / love that is released becomes the main resource for the client. And with that an experiential understanding of the connectedness and interconnectedness of all who belong in the family group.
Family constellations asks you to acknowledge what is. To know that you are the only one that can change, and through this changes may ripple backwards and forwards in your family system. Find honour and respect for those that came before you, allowing them to look on you in a friendly and loving way. Your life stands on the shoulders of those that came before you. It is up to you to take this life forward in honour of them.
Experiencing your family in a constellation opens up a different level of understanding of the connections and interactions between individual members in the system. Through the felt experience of standing in your own system comes a knowing of how the actions or events in past generations continue to impact the present.