These are just a few
examples of where constellations may be able to assist you to
grow through difficulties and to turn problems into strength.
constellations" - the role of connectedness within the family
In their immediate meaning family
constellations offer a path of
healing for individuals.
And as we receive life through our parents
and exist as part of a family a healing of the heart is a shared event within the family as
In the first step the painful and burdensome connections - which are
really degrees of disconnection - within our family come to light. We
get to see our deeper feelings.
We experience how intensely connected we
all the more so where tragedy blocked the
expressions of love.
When we face these deep feelings, the suppressed love begins to emerge,
and expressing respect, acceptance, and love
begins to be possible.
In Bert's first type of approach, still rather Confucian, a constellation is
complete when all family members present feel they are at the right
place now, and they can look at each other in a friendly way.
"The Orders of Love" - Bert on the importance of healing in the family
Applied to the family, the orders of love explain the
natural order of love within the family and also in other important
systems of human
relationships. This concerns the right places
and roles of the various family members. Traumatic events throw the natural order
into upheaval, and if the trauma is too great the family is often unable
to find peace again. They cannot restore the orders where
all members belong fully and in their right place
When the orders of love have been restored in the family, the individuals
feel secure, and therefore also free. Having the right place within the
family, the members also know what their roles are and what not.
Connected with everyone who belongs, the members feel secure and in their
strength, still sensing the strength of the family
supporting them from behind. When the connectedness in the family is acknowledged,
the responsibilities are seen and shared clearly, the individuals feel
relieved. Now they can follow their unique individuality without
being burdened and caught by what went on before them.
of the Soul
Bert's work evolved over the years. As people grasped the
process of representation more and more deeply, the dimensions of the
soul began to appear.
When people approach the work with humility and
respect for the soul, it becomes apparent that the soul shows us the
entanglement and the way
back to peace and oneness.
When in the silent constellation the
representatives began to move on their own accord, slowly,
recollection, Bert felt at first that these were movements of the soul.
He called the field of love that appeared to overshadow the
constellation, "The great Soul".
Now (since 2005 or so) he calls
these movements where the representatives move as if moved by something
from without that they also experience as from within, movements of the spirit.
Now he reserves the word
"soul" to what holds individuals together internally,
binds people of a family together.
Stay in the Great Love
Bert's work is speeding up in its development.
tells us to remain in the great love which includes everyone and
this space, together we invite the presence of great love which shows us
solutions far beyond our narrow concepts - towards peace for all.
great love is the love of the spirit. The love of the soul we feel
closer to our emotions.
The love of the spirit is not emotional, it is
in our spirit.
with the love of the spirit
or so Bert has brought spirit, love of spirit, into this work
which is much changed now in its
The essence has expanded, towards
in which everything and everyone are loved as they are.
Still, the earlier motions are contained in the expanding work,
and the experiences found there still hold true.
The movements towards reconciliation are still the centre of healing and
Through connection with spirit, we can move closer to the love of the
for the benefit of ourselves and everything that is.
work and his latest books, specifically 5 of them in August 2008,
are dedicated to this, bringing us closer to
the love of the spirit.
family-constellations', or 'Moving with the love of the spirit"
These are term
Bert uses for his work at this point in time. (since 2005)
In spiritual family constellations there is a much more recollected
atmosphere, usually silence.
In movements without words unhealed
situations reveal themselves,
and the healing happens in further
movements which bring together
what was separated through violence and
By now, Bert has written over 60 books.
What underlies constellation work?
The constellation process
operates on some essential energies that became very clear in this work:
+ Human beings are deeply connected to each other. In this work
we find out what people of all cultures have known for a long
time: We can all, in varying degrees, feel each other's
deeper feelings. It is these deeper feelings that guide us to
understanding and reconciliation.
Human being empathize with each other, at least when they feel safe.
Some manage this even under very tough circumstances.
religions have called us to this.
are connected in some kind of energy field which will guide us provided
we open up to it.
Bert just calls it spirit.
What we open up to is simply our willingness to experience a layer of
a dimension of love that we had not been aware of before.
+ There is a benevolent
energy available to us.
All we need to do is to be present in calm
composure without any intentions, plans, fears, prejudices, just being
present and observe and sense what is happening.
This energy will
invariably guide us towards reconciliation,
and this means to the
wholeness of our souls,
our personal souls becoming whole as those of our
often in turn this involves becoming one with a larger group
as in reconciliation with people of another nation or faith.
+ As Bert's
work kept on developing further, the capacity of representatives and all people
present to feel what is going on in deeper layers, has much increased and widened in scope.
And beyond all this, many people have learned that there is greater
wisdom, greater love, and a greater will than their own. Fitting in with
what is so infinitely greater than us, brings us peace.
So, it appears
that this method, which Bert has called a spiritual path for a long
time, can be our companion in ever widening rings of inclusion spiritual
growth for a long time to come.
does a family constellation work?
I will describe the earlier approach which still plays a role in the
Before people come to a constellation
workshop, they may have had a look at their family background. To look
into our family's history is in itself often helpful.
The helpful information concerns any kind of tragic events in the family,
even a few generation back.
(Look at page "family questions"
The client briefly presents the issue and gives the tragic facts in the
The practitioner decides which family members will be set up first.
In spiritual family constellations Bert often begins with only one
Then representatives for these family
members, including the client, are selected from the group.
Whether they are still amongst the living
or not, does not matter.
Males are represented by males, females by females, as far as possible.
In the earlier form of constellations work, called family-
constellations, the client held a representative and
placed the person
somewhere in the centre of the group, just so, by feeling. When they are
all placed, the client sat down to look at the unfolding constellation.
This way the connection between the client's issue and the entanglements
in the family became quite clear, but interventions were needed at times as
this way of setting the representatives up gives the process a certain
direction that is somewhat less open towards resolution.
In any type of constellation the
same amazing thing becomes apparent now:
At this point the representatives
are beginning to feel sensations and emotions of the family member they
represent, inside themselves and in regard to the others. They may
express even their physical symptoms. (To find out more, look at page
"the knowing field".)
The task of the representatives is to
just stay with what they feel right at the moment,
to allow their bodies
to express that softly and slowly,
and occasionally when asked to tell the practitioner what goes
on for them.
In the earlier process the practitioner now guides the representing family members
through a gentle process of unraveling. The feelings are explored, deep
connections become visible. Through changes in positions, short
sentences, and gestures the tangles in the family are gradually unraveled, always with the purpose of restoring the flow of love, for
This process depends on the willingness
of all present
to keep their own ideas or opinions or feelings or
prejudices out of the picture.
It means they kind of empty themselves,
and this is in fact amazingly easy in this work.
The practitioner can only
act in a truly helpful way if even all intentions are left behind.
work has to stay very close to what the representatives are really
feeling at the time.
It is a very deeply
cooperative process. Everybody's feelings count and have to be
The family members are asked for their feedback, as the
healing, even of the client, depends on the well-being of all.
this way we can experience a new sense of belonging, a greater capacity
to accept ,
and find, how love, respect and (re-)inclusion, and acceptance of what we
cannot change of all bring peace and greater
work has much to offer,
from therapy that makes individuals feel better,
to constellation work that heals the painful events in our ancestors' past,
to a spiritual path that heals what is behind us, and still in us,
so that we are free to follow our deepest calling in the here and now,
in increasingly deeper connection to the whole of life and the source of
wide open for the adventures that lie ahead of us.
Whatever our spiritual path was we will find it strengthened, refreshed,
and we have more direct experiences of our connections to the
A sense of growing sets in.
is dedicated to bringing together what has been apart,
healing through reconciliation, coming together through respect of the heart,
moving forward with deep agreement to life as it is, and with love.
The starting point can be any discomfort, any pressing issue whatsoever.
Facing what we see as our deepest pains,
we find that they are all connected
to real events in the past,
to the burdens of those before us.
So our discomfort, but also our talents, interests and loves,
connect us to the people before us.
What we thought was ours is often someone else's who lived before us.
As we lovingly turn to other souls who were or are suffering,
our love and their love come back to life, and symptoms disappear,
as we are redirected towards direct love.
With the support of those who came before us,
we arrive at the peace, the strength, and the freedom,
that are the gifts to be received when we follow spirit's call for
The Spirit calls us to the Great Love
that shines equally upon everyone and everything and each occurrence in
And in the presence of the Great Love we can finally agree to everything as it is,
and act where we are called, with love and
at one with the Power that moves us,
the Power that creates, sustains and evolves all that is.
Bert's work, beginning with a
process that looks like family therapy,
it takes us as far as we wish to go,
for in the end there is reconciling with the world as it is,
and with the source of everything.
|Bert looks at the family as a whole to
help its members uncover how they are connected with one another.
There are two ways in which the connectedness can express itself:
-the unconscious ones which are "blind love" passed on through the
generations, as even the bible tells us, and they cannot bring healing,
-and the ones of the soul, bringing "healing love".
Usually, we follow the "blind love", and do so blindly, unconsciously.
In family constellations, the ways of the blind love become visible, and through
this awareness, we can reconnect to the love (of the soul- older term used by
Bert) of the spirit.
Both come from the love
in the family. The first ones though, in their unconscious and tangled ways,
cannot bring happiness.
As very young children, out of the deepest wish to belong to our family
and be loyal, we take on family
problems that we cannot possibly solve.
Amazingly, this process extends to
family members that we might never have met or even known about.
works largely outside any conscious intention, and therefore, we cannot really
change it until we see what it is.
The kind of seeing that occurs in the constellation usually opens the way
to love on its own accord. The deepest purpose of the family soul is the
most supportive love for all, with no exceptions.
The love that honours
everyone's fate will bring restored peace and freedom.
Bert's work shows that
family is always the extended family. We are deeply connected to our ancestors. And the choice is only whether we are connected in
subconscious unwholesome entanglement or in conscious strengthening love. Our ancestors, when included and respected, show themselves
as very benevolent towards the living. Their wish is for the living to be
Wherever unhealed trauma exists in a family, someone from a later
generation will have to take on the burden, by repeating a tragic fate, by
being ill in some way, or by suffering in their lives and causing suffering. The bible already
mentioned this. Bert calls this kind of taking
the burden "identification" (with another family member or
someone else who suffered exclusion)
In the constellation process, people come out of the unconscious
identification with others.
Seeing the other(s) they were identified with,
the healing love can flow, restoring strength and dignity to the dead and the
Now people can begin to lead their own lives, in loving connectedness to the
others. Now people can begin a process of self- redirecting, and make constructive
choices. Some happen
already spontaneously in the groups, or very soon after.
Family members just follow their
soul's impulses in deep reconnection and reconciliation. Changing lives for the better becomes a far more natural matter. A number of immediate changes are also experienced quite often:
feel relaxed, relieved, unburdened. The world looks different.
behave more positively all of a sudden.
Dreams with healing images continue for a long time.
Uncovering family dynamics
and the healing process
process that started in a constellation may continue for as long as two years
and even more, and may
be the beginning of lifelong journey.
are some examples of resolving entanglements
A family has experienced a loss so painful and traumatic that
they have been unable to feel the pain, to grieve, to come to resolve. Perhaps a
child died. Another child born later then will show some severe symptoms that cause a parent to seek help. When the
original situation is faced with love and strength, in this case, when the
whole family can take the dead child fully back into the family, with all
the tears that go with it, the child that carried the symptoms is relieved from the
Someone in the family, as an example, had a mental illness, or was given up for
adoption, has been half-forgotten, half excluded. A child in the
family carries symptoms, traits, life patterns of this person (unconsciously) to remind the family. When the
excluded member is honoured and included again, the child can let go of the
symptoms. Instead, now there is conscious love for this family member.
Someone in the family has died tragically, for instance in the war. Often there
is only half-completed grief in the family, or it is even fully
suppressed. Someone else is so closely connected to this
dead relative that they cannot fully live, and deep down, long to be united with the
dead one. When the family members can turn to the dead one, and feel and express
the pain that was held in, the dead person feels seen and loved again, now
being allowed to belong
again. Now nobody has to take on the painful task of carrying symptoms to represent
the somehow excluded family member.
A child may also try to carry a parent's pain by only living partially, as the parent does who is frozen in
grief. A child may go as far as saying on a deep unconscious level: If you want
to die, I will do it for you. The parent may need to grieve consciously and
reunite with the beloved dead person on a soul level, then the child can
consciously receive the
blessing from the dead to go and live life fully.
The method of this work relies on, and
respect, no-doing, focused awareness.
Whatever the theory, the practical experience over many years suggests:
Doing family constellations one experiences that
there is some "field" that somehow unites family members.
This family field "knows" the deep down
realities of this family.
Bert calls this a spiritual field, as it contains not only the deep seated
wounds, but also the mode of healing, too.
In the early part of the constellation the feelings show the entanglement. As
the representatives are gently taken to other positions in the constellation, to
experience their relationships to the others in different ways, the issues that need resolution emerge.
Missing members are added into the constellation, and deep connections become
As the constellation progresses the needs of the soul emerge, and the gestures
and sentences of healing present themselves. The members of the constellation
express regret, sadness, deep compassion, re-inclusion. At times, deeply repressed feelings emerge to be healed. The
family members take responsibility for their actions, honour others, move into
their own dignity. And gradually, the family members feel they have a better
place now, symbolically in this circle, and transferring from there, into their
lives. With dignity, they can look in all directions with acceptance.
family field or soul (also the scope of the unconscious family conscience)
An extended family
appears to have a field. The scope is even well defined, because one can
see which family members are included in it. When someone in the family
has suffered and was somehow excluded, this member is represented by a
present family member, for as many generations as it takes to bring this
back to the family's awareness. It goes down the direct blood line, but
also includes other people that harmed our family or were harmed by it.
So the family field or soul can become rather extended after large scale
This field forms and reveals itself to the
degree that the group, and above all, the practitioner, bring the needed
qualities to it. Humility, reverence, and the heart that has acceptance for
everyone and everything as it is, including fate.
The practitioner, the person presenting the issue, the representatives, and all
the other group members give their full attention to the process. They just allow
themselves to sense what presents itself to them, without preconceptions.
It is good if the representatives do not know much, better still, nothing, about the family in which
they represent someone. This way, they have no knowledge and no ideas to
apply, so they are encouraged to trust their
immediate awareness more.
People develop the capacity to represent amazingly fast.
The first and foremost role of the practitioner is to see to it that the field forms
well and remains stable. The practitioner holds this clear unfocussed focus, the
the impartial love.
The practitioner's other role is to gently guide the unfolding process, a bit like a mediator. Often
the practitioner just holds the awareness. the presence of someone who sees appears
to be important.
The field is sensed strongly when all people give their concentrated attention
Out of this feeling and accepting of "what is", the deeper levels of "what
is" emerge as well. The representatives feel drawn to different family
members in different ways. And this often expresses the deepest needs within the
family to heal rifts or just simply distance, to express deepest love, often to family members they
never met or even knew about.
|As a member of a family soul we
are part of the loyalties that are needed to keep it together.
Even though we live in such individualistic times in some western countries, the
soul still honours the realities of the tribe. We like to believe that we, or
the family can choose whom and what to include and what not. And it is possible, but the
price will have to be paid, usually by later generations. The family soul
does not rest until every member is fully included again.
Not only immediate family members may be represented, but according to the
family's fate, their ethnic, political, religious identities, the home of the
ancestors may be part of the constellation as well. Where larger conflicts
existed, an opposing side may be entangled in the family soul in victim/
perpetrator relationships. These matters weigh heavily on the family soul and
are longing for reconciliation. The ancestors gladly give their blessings to the
living, once they are mourned and looked at with love. When
the ancestors are honoured and loved directly, blind loyalty is no longer blind necessity.
there are real choices of letting go, reframing, transforming. Now the conscious
honouring can take the form of doing our loving and creative best with the
qualities that have been passed on to us.
This work is mostly done in a group, and the group process itself brings
In a field of deep mutual respect, people open up sharing compassionate
connection with the members of each other's families. All are honoured the
way they are, the greater field of shared human
reality makes itself felt strongly. What we did together in such a group,
gradually filters into our daily life, becomes a way of understanding and
insight and love.
Our sense of family expands in a very real way. People have said:
"Now I feel it is real:
I belong to the human family."
How many constellations does a person need?
If there are a number of issues, a few may be needed, as it is not useful
to do too much in one go. A constellation takes time to integrate into one's
life. The soul work that is set into motion by just one constellation can
continue for up to two years. After some time, another issue may
come up. As in other work, layers are unraveled to reveal another one.
But we have found that many people enjoy coming back to
participate in groups because they feel the emotional and spiritual
benefit expand in many ways. they carry these insights into their contacts
with people in general.
Can you do a constellation for somebody else's
If you are concerned about a
child of yours or a family member that is severely ill, you are permitted to make that your issue. Otherwise,
family constellations look closely at what the soul permits. The
person who presents their own issue is giving permission for the
entanglement to be revealed. Even working back into older
generations this work is careful not to push, but only to let things
reveal themselves where the time has come.
With other people whom you are close to you can make your difficulties
with them your issue, and in this way, look at aspects of their
entanglement as it affects you.
What if I find it hard to do something like this in
find that these groups generate a lot of deep understanding and warmth
amongst people, as we come to experience that our problems are not really
personal, but part of humanity's shared fate.
There is really no such
thing as a "personal neurosis" or the like. The truth is we
carry each other's burdens, and at the core of it is always something very
real that had effects on others.
We experience that in our symptoms we carry our family's history, there is no
shame and no blame involved. We come together to share what life on earth is all
A way to introduce yourself more slowly if you wish is to just participate
as an observer. You give your undivided attention, but you do not have to
present an issue yourself. Anyway, you can choose when you want to do
And when asked whether you would like to represent a person in a constellation you
can always say no.
Also, you can make contact privately and have a private session first and
then see for yourself whether you feel okay about a group.
There is also a way to do a constellation with little figures as
representatives, but the group constellation is the richer and more
Can I find out more before I join a group?
You can ring me and have a talk,
you can read more material, or you could watch a video on
The healing gifts
constellations there are issues that touch all of the participants, so bundles
are often dropped just in the process of witnessing.
The participants see where many of their feelings, attitudes, habits come from.
this always comes as an insight, bringing about instantaneous change. And then there can be
new ways of action. With love and respect, we can see those ancestors who had the real problem to which
our symptomatic feelings belong. What matters is, we have seen them in
their struggles, and we have seen a burden leave them as they reconcile with
weekend the group members are joined in a deep empathy for each other, realizing
that we are one human family,
all of us in the hands of energies far greater
There is deep gratitude towards the
representatives who have often taken on strong emotions that so far had been
unreleased in that family, and unhealed.
The representatives have grown in
emotional acceptance, pliability, scope, and understanding as well.
becomes a group training in compassion, humility, and acceptance of things as
they were, as they are, even though this may not been the immediate motive
And because is was not on the curriculum, it just happens so naturally, a byproduct.
You just come, as you are, to experience what you really perceive this moment,
And gradually, together with the others, you open your heart,
at your own pace
and in your own way, to the grief and to the joy of life as it is,
older in maturity, a little younger at heart,