With family constellation therapy, practitioners claim to be able to find a solution to an array of psychological conditions and family problems, ranging from depression to personality kinks. But where does this method come from and how does it work?
Family constellation therapies reached Ireland from Germany via the UK only around five years ago. So far, a couple in Cork, who also run the website http://www.ochre.ie, are the only therapists with a permanent family constellation practice in Ireland. Yet, the method is clandestinely spreading all around the country with therapists regularly coming from the UK and Germany for weekend workshops and conferences.
… â€œA â€œclientâ€ and the facilitator talk a while about the clientâ€™s issue and his family, and then he chooses people from the group to represent the various elements of the constellation, usually people or abstracts, and sets up the initial constellation. In a constellation, the representatives often have experiences and feelings that reflect the clientâ€™s situation and are quite similar to those of the person they represent. The facilitator then moves and asks the representatives to endeavor to find a solution.â€
For representatives to have the feelings of other people, even of long-dead ancestors, they enter what therapists call a â€œknowing fieldâ€.
Constellation Practitioners claim that there is a sort of universal soul that stores all the worldâ€™s emotional information and is tapped within this field during a constellation. Experts say that the concept of â€œknowing fieldsâ€ has most likely developed out of tribal rituals in South Africa, where Mr. Bert Hellinger, the German founder of the therapy movement, spent some time as a Catholic missionary.
Two, sometimes worrying aspects of the method are the incredible power of the therapist and the methodâ€™s reliance on the so-called â€œOrders of Loveâ€, a set of guidelines for healthy family constellations, which are largely based on ancient notions from the Old Testament… the wife should succumb to the husband and that the first-born child has preference over any other child. For example, if a family constellation reveals the sexual abuse of a child, the guilt is put on the mother in the family in some cases, presuming that she had not given enough love to her husband. In other cases, the child simply has to accept the rape as fact, despite the huge emotional burden.
According to a web-blog entry, the representative of an abused child once had to kneel down in front of the fatherâ€™s representative, and ask for forgiveness, saying: â€œI thank you Dad, I am very grateful to have been able to do this for you.â€
In 1997, a woman from the German city of Leipzig committed suicide after a mass constellation session in Northern Germany, headed by Bert Hellinger. And there is also rising suspicion about the personal background of Hellinger, especially as it transpired in 2004 that he had bought a villa which once belonged to Adolf Hitler. Hellinger, a former German soldier and priest, has also made various anti-Semitic and fascist statements in public and wrote a controversial poem to the deceased Hitler. But the attractiveness of the system is still growing worldwide…