In a family constellation, the client is invited by the facilitator to select representatives from the group for their family as they relate to their presenting issue. The client then places these representatives - silently and intuitively - in particular positions around the central working area. When complete, the client sits with the facilitator and the process begins. The condition of the Family Energy Field can be observed when the constellation is set up, much like that of a living family tree.
The facilitator follows the energy of both the person presenting their issue as well as the representatives in the constellation to see where movement is needed in order to create balance, harmony and movement toward peace. It is common for the facilitator to ask some, or all of the constellation members, what they are feeling. Often their responses appear to reflect an uncanny resemblance of the client's family situation and a more complete picture of the family system begins taking shape. In this way, the hidden entanglements of the family come to light.
When a client looks at and takes in the family constellation configuration, a veil seems to be lifted and profound truths - ones they know on a subconscious level but have not been able to consciously acknowledge - begin to appear. The facilitator moves certain representatives to different positions in relation to each other and asks how the new positions have affected them. When the "right" positioning is found, there is often a visible relief and relaxation on the part of the representatives as well as the client. Acknowledging what is, along with seeing a different reality of the client's family, is enough to begin a healing process.
The Use of Words
Constellations most often involve the client or the client's representative saying particular words to one or more representatives in the group. This language, referred to as "statements of empowerment" or “solution sentences,” follows a pathway of sacredness toward healing. A child might say to her mother, “you are the right one for me." A father perhaps may say to his child, "I will bear it myself, and now you are free." Or to someone who has died and is terribly missed, "I will hold a place for you in my heart." To a person who’s made a difficult choice, "I respect your fate and will remain with mine.”
Such phrases hold enormous energy for healing our deepest level of emotional pain. When words are used with reverence and truth, a resonance or vibration is felt within all constellation participants as well as the larger group. The sentences may be said to just one other representative with whom the client has the most energetic charge, or they may need to say things to all members of the constellation. When the right solution sentences are found, it is evident – a shift in energy is felt in the room and often tears and a heart-opening experience occurs for the client. These statements of empowerment and healing movements bring the Family Soul into a wider state of conscious awareness which Hellinger has referred to as "enlightened love."
Three Levels of Constellations
The above description of the process of a constellation is what is commonly referred to as a facilitator-directed constellation. When there are more experienced representatives in a constellation the facilitator is freer to trust the representatives more explicitly with their movements. This is often referred to as Movements of the Soul constellations. In these constellations, the facilitator might not ask the representatives what they are feeling or enter into the field to facilitate movement. When more advanced students of this Approach act as representatives, it is possible that an entire constellation be done without words and no direction from the facilitator. Bert Hellinger refers to this level of work as Spirit-Mind constellations.
Some of the insights that seem to be consistently revealed are that children stay loyal to their parents, often repeat the same patterns as they do, have difficulty achieving a more fulfilling life than their parents and will take on similar fates as others have in the family. In constellation seminars, it regularly happens that members of the larger group are deeply affected and touched by another's work. A healing experience for one person will have a healing effect on anyone else in the room with a similar issue.
Strengthening our Origins
A constellation creates a picture of the Family Energy Field which allows us to stand in the face of our familial roots more fully. When we realize that we are deeply connected to our Family Soul and that neither time nor distance can alter that, we are capable of exploring the complexities of our family's past without judgment of right or wrong. Openly looking at our family of origin provides us with the opportunity to see the good and the bad, uncover secrets and truths as well as to investigate the lost and unexplained.
By seeing these various components, we can acknowledge the multi-faceted truths of our Family Soul, of the things that bind us together. When we look with open eyes, mind, and heart - void of moral judgment - we are capable of letting go of that which doesn’t serve our personal growth. Most importantly, we learn to gain strength from a more meaningful conscious connection to our family ancestral lineage.
This strength feeds the Soul’s development as we re-channel the psychic energy used to distance ourselves from the realities of our family of origin into more productive efforts. We can simply, as Hellinger says, "acknowledge what is," which permits us to move on in life healthier, stronger and more at peace.
Example of a Family Constellation
Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child’s training wheels
To be laid aside
So you can finally live
With truthfulness and love.
Now is the time for the world to know
That every thought and action is sacred.
This is the time
For you to deeply compute the impossibility
That there is anything but Grace.
Now, why not consider
A lasting truce with
Yourself and the past?