The Origins of Family Constellations
At the core of the system is the person of Mr. Hellinger himself. He is in his mid seventies and can be described as an angel in an old man's skin. You can't help but fall in love with him at first sight. Gentleness and an aura of immense compassion stream from his eyes.
Bert Hellinger was born in 1925. He studied philosophy, theology and education in Germany and became a priest.
He spent sixteen years as a missionary for the Zulu and as principal of several catholic schools in South Africa.He left the priesthood- after twenty five years, to study psychoanalysis. Consecutively he became interested in gestalt therapy, hyponotherapy, primal therapy and transactional analysis. He studied with many well known therapists, namely Arthur Janov and Milton Erickson.
Later, when studying family therapy, Hellinger devised his own approach of systemic family therapy, known as Family Constellations.
Mr. Hellinger is the author of many bestselling books and videos and must be the foremost and most read therapist in the world today.
Over the years Mr.Hellinger's work has evolved considerably. In the new millenium he frequently works with an approach he has coined "Movements of the Soul".
Introduction to Bert Hellinger's Family Constellation Work
Dietrich Klinghardt's ApN I and II includes Bert Hellinger's "Family Constellation" work. To learn more about Hellinger's work, read "Love's Hidden Symmetry" . John Bradshaw's book "Family Secrets" is also recommended.
The following overview of Hellinger's work is excerpted from the Neural Therapy Workshops 2000 syllabus:
"This work is equally effective for physical illness - from low back pain to cancer - as it is for emotional, psychic, and spiritual suffering; for chronic states of exhaustion, suicide or contemplated suicide, chronic depressions, schizophrenia, and virtually every physical illness imaginable.
If you have a suicidal, drug dependent, or otherwise dysfunctional teenager, or a seriously ill child, you can do this work without their participation in the workshop and release what may seem like a dark spell or curse hanging over your family.
It is often discovered that two generations back someone was excluded from the family - an infant died at birth and was never mentioned again (because it was too painful), someone was outcast for being homosexual, or a father who loved his children was pushed out after a divorce, etc.
There is a natural law: If this person is not held in loving memory by the living family members, an innocent son or daughter one or two generations later identifies unconsciously with the excluded person and pays the price by self-excluding him/herself. This may look like a suicide, an accident, illness, drug abuse, or simply someone turning their back on the family. In fact, out of a deep archaic love for their family, these people sacrifice themselves to bring balance into the family system.
In this work, those excluded or forgotten are honored and given their rightful place. This in turn brings peace and health to each member of the family. Many illnesses are a metaphor for an unhealed family conflict that can be unraveled and healed.