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Family Constellations

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, 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.

… “A “client” and the facilitator talk a while about the client’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 client’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.”

For representatives to have the feelings of other people, even of long-dead ancestors, they enter what therapists call a “knowing field”.

Constellation Practitioners claim that there is a sort of universal soul that stores all the world’s emotional information and is tapped within this field during a constellation. Experts say that the concept of “knowing fields” 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 method’s reliance on the so-called “Orders of Love”, 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 father’s representative, and ask for forgiveness, saying: “I thank you Dad, I am very grateful to have been able to do this for you.”

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…

Published in researchmaterial


  1. steve h steve h

    wow, that’s kind of creepy. I’ve heard some talk about this type of collective memory/ emotion thing. Reminds me slightly of the applied kinesiology movement in the states. I don’t know how people can’t just see that they are playing with their imaginations. The fact that this therapy may work is beside the point to me. There doesn’t have to be any magick involved or anything, it’s role playing!

  2. Finally, a Bullshit System for people who like astrology but don’t think it’s creepy enough.

  3. When will people learn to use Jung’s concept of the Collective Unconscious for good instead of evil?

  4. My! Another fine reason to put an end to humanity before we are allowed to spread!

  5. bob bob

    How the hell did they get the Old Testament in there? That’s not good- it’s no basis for ANY sort of mental health. Gods, how is that people can come up with new ways of improving mental health that just fuck everyone up even more?

    A cousin of mine, thanks to his therapist, ‘recovered’ memories of being sexually abused by his father. In actuality the memories were being constructed in the therapy sessions. His siblings told him that none of it had actually happened (according to him they had also been abused), and it wasn’t because they were in denial. The ‘recollections’ became more and more outrageous, and included more and more family members, until even he realized he could no longer trust his own memories. His therapy not only traumatized him, but his whole family in the end…

    Back in the early 1990s I talked to a practicing therapist who was convinced that “Satanic abuse” was both real and widespread. I wonder how many memories they also ‘recovered.’

  6. Alan Sparrow Alan Sparrow

    Last night I went to a Constellation therapy organised by a great Argentinian woman. The people present happened to be very positive open people who were quite balanced, astute and aware.
    Having been in similar situations I was not phased by what was produced.
    It WAS interesting … BUT …
    My only comment here is that when untruth is mixed with truth; mind covering soul, we have an extre,mely dangerous situation which can be exploited.
    Not one single person has not been programmed with untruth … whoever they are. Playing God is a very dangerous and vainglorious.

  7. jose jose

    The article is as ignorant to the topics as the posts are to the article.

  8. geraldine candice geraldine candice

    echo comment by jose. ignorance has found a home.

Comments are closed.