Published Living Now Aug 2008
If there is light in the soul
There is beauty in the person
If there is beauty in the person
There is harmony in the home
If there is harmony in the home
There is order in the nation
If there is order in the nation
There will be peace on earth.
Why we often run away.
From adolescents onwards the task of separation becomes such a strong motivation that it is almost every young person’s duty to rebel in some way. There is a strong need to stand alone or away from the family and find our own way in the world. As an adult, in trying to individuate and form our own values and life style, we often continue to seek escape from our family, feeling that to get too close, could easily result in being sucked into the dysfunction of old patterns of behaviour forever. On one level, this is understandable, as we often don’t know how to cope with family complexity, craziness, harshness or dysfunction.
Families should be loving and supportive.
It is interesting that many of us have an expectation that parenting and family life should be fully functional and perfectly supportive. So what is going on that most of us do not experience our families in this way? Has nature or God, if you believe in him or her made a mistake? In fact the same belief system operates to our life on earth generally. Many of us believe that it should be a utopia of peace, love and abundance, which is a long way from our physical reality. Look at the mess that our planet is in and the games being played out by the governments of the world in globalization and the impending catastrophes of global warming, fuel shortages, over population and famine.
So it seems that humanity has belief systems that do not seem to be in tune with reality in respect to family and global life. This can be a great source of distress and misery in itself.
We don’t know
Truth is we don’t know the bigger picture. Perhaps we are born into these situations to help us grow our wings. Help us find our own way and to become ingenious and to find new perspectives. All we can do is the best we can with what we know and what we have, just as our parents and ancestors before us have done. If we accept that life is mysterious and dual in nature, both earthly and spiritual at the same time, then we may feel our smallness and greatness our power and powerlessness and our physical and spiritual existence coming into synchronicity with universal energy, as we travel through life and integrate all the facets of our life experience. Perhaps this is the fullness of our life on earth. At a base level the family we are born into are our entry into the world, so if we have any spiritual beliefs at all, we must accept that there is a reason for this connection. What I have discovered for myself and from countless others, including many spiritual masters, is that coming to an acceptance of ourselves, includes coming to a place of gratitude to our physical parents too. Put simply, without them we would not be here.
The earth too is a wondrous place and is at present reflecting our confusion and conflicting emotions and actions, however, the earth itself is as wondrous as ever.
The development of Family Constellations with its shamanic style healing rituals is the spiritual alternative or compliment to therapy that allows you to observe your personal soul energy within the greater family soul energy and to gain a glimpse of what this is telling you. This experience is often quite different to “the story” that most of us have in our heads about how we came to be the way we are. This process often offers you a different perspective and also a way of connecting more healthily to your roots, so that you can receive your full life force from your ancestors. This is a highly respectful process for all concerned and often powerful and profound. Being more connected, enables you to live more in the present, make the most of your life and your relationships. From here it is possible to be happier and able to pursue your spiritual path more whole heartedly as well, if that is your choice.
We are separate and we are all connected.
Constellations are a way of looking at the soul or life force energy of an individual and also that of the relationship, or family group in which you belong, to allow you to see the bigger picture across generations and also your solutions. If you have already tried counselling or other personal therapies, but have not yet found a resolution, then it could be that your issue stems from your parents or ancestors. We often carry unresolved past generational patterns within us in the present and can observe it playing out in our relationships, parenting, family or work life. Constellation work taps into the soul of you and your family group. Therefore it goes much deeper than counselling or psychotherapy. The resolutions and energy shifts that take place (because we are energetically connected), also ripple out on the energy field to the people of your group (in real life), in a positive way, reducing disturbing energy. Often after a constellation, it is different the next time you meet a family member or have a phone conversation and you will notice that you feel differently towards them too. However, the intention of doing a constellation should be for you personally and not to change anyone else.
What is a Family Constellation?
Usually in a workshop situation you set up the people of your issue, using representatives from the workshop and placing them in different positions from each other in the room, according to what “feels right”. (The real people involved are normally not present.) Normally the facilitator and the people in the workshop will know very little about you, just a few facts. From this point onwards, you will usually observe the process, as the representatives start to pick up the energy of the real people involved, a Knowing field is formed in the room which has tapped into your family system. From here on, the facilitator guides the process, identifies and releases emotions and finds the Orders of Love that give strength and healing to you and the system. This is an intuitive and psychotherapeutic process that heals on all levels, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually if you allow it in.
Examples of family constellations
Difficult parent/child relationships
This is the family constellation of a woman who was unable to have a good relationship with her daughter. The facilitator asked a few factual questions about the family history and then set up the constellation with representatives. The woman also had a difficult relationship with her own mother. Representatives of the woman, her daughter and her mother were set up. The feelings and physical positioning of the representatives were noted.
The woman is loving but can’t make contact with her daughter, who is angry with her. The woman is then turned to face her own mother. It is clear that she doesn’t respect or accept her mother. Some time is spent here in allowing things to be put back into their rightful place until the woman and her mother are in contact and feeling comfortable. Now the woman is turned to face her daughter. The daughter has become interested in coming to a resolution with her now. The constellation finishes with the family system feeling relaxed and comfortable.
If you have a difficult relationship with your parents, it may be difficult for you to have a good relationship with your own children.
When a relationship breaks down.
This is a family constellation of a divorced woman who was experiencing difficulties in her subsequent intimate relationship. A constellation was set up with representatives of the woman, her ex-husband and her current partner.
The woman’s ex-husband is feeling very sad and hurt. She can’t look at him and says that she feels anger towards him. In seeking a resolution, it’s discovered that the woman is finding it hard to accept responsibility for her part in what went wrong between them. Once an appropriate resolution is found and accepted, the couple is able to let each other go. This frees the woman to focus on her present relationship.
A relationship that has broken down needs to be resolved completely, before you successfully go into the next one. Many of us know this intellectually, but it is often difficult to do this fully for ourselves.
An unresolved parent child relationship.
This is a family constellation of a man who had a difficult and unresolved relationship with his mother. His mother died when the man was seventeen leaving him feeling bitter and angry.
A constellation of the man and his mother is set up. The man’s mother reports feeling “cut off” and unable to focus on her son. The son reports feeling sad. Gradually the mother turns from the son. She feels pulled from behind.
The man’s mother is turned around to look at her father. She experiences great emotion here, first anger, then sadness and then abandonment. Her own father had died when he was a child. She had very much missed her father. Once the situation is acknowledged and the mother is reunited with her father she is able to turn around with her own father behind her to give her strength and make a connection with her son. The constellation is over when the mother is honoured and respected by her son and she is able to wish her son a fulfilling life. The son is feeling connected to his mother.
The man may now be able to take part in a good loving relationship with a woman as he now has his mother in his heart.
Self Help-What you can do for yourself to see how you are with your roots?
Sit quietly and imagine your Mum and Dad are immediately in front of you.
Is it easy to visualize or feel their presence?
Is it easier to visualize or feel one of them more than the other?
What is the feeling between you? Warm, cool, loving, disapproval, empty.
Do you feel larger or smaller than your parents?
You are in good shape with your family if you can visualize or feel both of your parents as larger than you and also warm or loving.
How is this possible, I hear you say if they neglected or harmed you in some way, or were not how you think good parents should be?
This is the challenge of accepting what we are dealt in life. Learning to “love What is” is a major life challenge and a basic requirement of contentment and happiness in life. You can seek to do this for your self or come to Family Constellations seminars around Australia.
Yildiz Sethi is a Family Constellations practitioner, counsellor, hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner, Educator & Vedic astrologer who has always had a fascination for understanding karmic cycles & is now using Family Constellations to resolve the negative patterns that bind us. She is a very experienced & insightful facilitator.
Yildiz is now a recognized Family Constellations practitioner Internationally (DGfS Germany) and conducts workshops on a regular basis in Sydney and Brisbane. She is also the most experienced facilitator of private constellation sessions in Australia and can be contacted at The Abundance Clinic Hamilton Brisbane 0412 172 300. www.familyconstellations.com.au
Systemic Family Constellations
Published in the Australian Counsellors Association publication December 2006, and in
the Australian Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association publication, also in December 2006
Life goes on, Life goes on
Life goes on, Life goes on
About Family Constellations
How do the Orders of Love become disrupted in a family system?
The phenomena of Family Constellations
The Knowing Field
Where does that leave traditional counselling methods?
Family Constellations has become the fastest growing psychotherapeutic technique that is catching world wide interest. It is a revolutionary dynamic and evolving therapy that has been developed by a German psychotherapist in the 1970’s called Bert Hellinger. Now in his eighties, Bert Hellinger is still practicing and teaching his approach to psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors and other mental health professionals throughout Europe, North and South America, and Asia. At a time when mindfulness is becoming more a part of our therapeutic process and many of us are aware of moving towards a more wholistic approach in counselling and psychotherapy, a new way of approaching family and individual therapy is here in Sydney Australia that addresses the individual on many levels. Intellectual, emotional and spiritual. This is a process of looking at a relationship or emotional issue of a client, usually in a confidential group with a facilitator. This can also take place in individual sessions. Even though this sounds a little like psychodrama it is quite different. Psychodrama is an excellent therapeutic process, whereas Family Constellations draws elements from many different therapeutic techniques, is a very subtle, gentle process which is often quite profound.
“Family Constellations and movements of the Soul is an alive, uniquely fresh phenomenological experience. It has the potential to touch our deepest cores, transforming our lives and the lives of those around us. Hidden dynamics, often spanning two or three generations, may appear in the family “field” and lead to distress, illness and emotional difficulties. This work requires, while at the same time deepens, a profound respect for the mystery of life and the forces that shape it and moves you towards peace in the soul.” Professor J.Edward Lynch. Chair of the Graduate Marriage and Family Therapy Program at South Connecticut State University, USA.
Bert Hellinger, formerly a catholic priest, became a family therapist later in life. In his search for effective methods for helping families and individuals with their relationships, he researched and studied many different therapies. He seems to have adopted the term “Family Constellation” from the psychoanalyst Alfred Adler who was both a colleague and student of the great Sigmund Freud. Alfred Adler’s focus was very much the individual and their environment. Adler studied family groups noticing that there seemed to be a “pecking order” in families. Bert Hellinger has combined elements of many different therapies into present day Systemic Family Constellations. These include Alfred Adler’s philosophy involving sibling characteristics according to “position in the family”, Karl Jung’s philosophy on “collective consciousness”, Bowen’s systemic family therapy, Virginia Satir’s Conjoint family therapy (sculpting), Psychodrama, Primal therapy, Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis and some elements of the great hypnotherapist and psychiatrist Milton Erickson. Through his work with families and couples Bert discovered an apparent ancient system called the “Orders of Love.” These provide a framework of basic rules or guide lines, which are believed to be necessary to promote healthy family and individual dynamics.
How do the Orders of Love become disrupted in a family system?
According to Bert Hellinger, disturbances in families occur when the ancient Orders of Love, are disturbed in some way. Family Constellations philosophy embraces Karl Jung’s view that we as individuals are also connected to the collective energies of our individual families, our culture, and our race and on a higher level, the human race. We are all connected.
Disturbances develop in families due to disruptions caused by such things as; war, tragedies, early or tragic deaths, injustice, adoption, shame, guilt and exclusions of family members. If any of these circumstances take place and are not acknowledged or dealt with appropriately by the family, then these disturbances are passed down to the future generations via the collective consciousness of the family energy system to the present generations where they may be played out in various ways. This often results in a range of relationship or emotional problems or low self esteem. Family Constellations has been used more recently to help in the healing and reconciliation of individuals of the second and third generations of nazi and holocaust victims and in such places as South Africa and Chile, to name a few. Helping those who are still suffering from unresolved repercussions and injustices from earlier generations.
The Phenomena of Family Constellations
Imagine a situation where a group of people are sitting in a large circle. The facilitator asks who would like to look at an issue. A client comes forward and states their issue briefly and the facilitator asks a few factual questions about the situation, without wanting the client to go into their “story” or talk about the personalities of the people concerned. Once the facilitator knows enough facts, they will ask the client to choose representatives for the people of the issue from the group e.g. for himself, his mother and father. The client will then be asked to place the representatives according to how he feels they are in relationship to each other. Once this is done, the client sits in a place where he can observe the process. Once set up, the energy of the real people appears to descend on the representatives and the process proceeds with the guidance of the facilitator, until a suitable resolution is found. This energy is called the Knowing Field. The facilitator will now observe the dynamics and seek to follow the energy of the field and the representatives. The facilitator may ask the representatives what they are feeling or noticing, adding other members of the family if necessary or moving people to different positions, at times. In addition, “Healing sentences” may be given, emotions may be released and the constellation is completed when the energy is more relaxed and comfortable and the client has experienced a new perspective. The client may be asked to take his place in the constellation at this point to experience the new dynamics that have been revealed.
A Case Study
taken from the Knowing Field- International Family Constellations journal. Issue 7
The Boy Who was not Heard
The boy’s parents came to a constellation workshop in Austria to seek help for their younger son who had developed a therapy-resistant stutter that impaired his self–esteem and social development at the age of seven. The family history revealed that the maternal great grandfather had been a high ranking official in the German SS. After World War ll he was tried in court for involvement in atrocities. Like other Austrian families, he shared the fate of someone who had originally been held in high esteem but after the collapse of the third Reich, the family had become ashamed of his deeds. He was shunned by them and later committed suicide.
The constellation revealed an identification of the boy’s representative with both the great grandfather and the victims. Generally such an identification is called a “dual identification.” The stutter was an embodied attempt of the boy, three generation later, to speak the forbidden truth of his great grandfather and simultaneously to also honour the victims. The boy lost his stammer two weeks after the constellation: it has not returned over the last two years.
The Knowing Field
The Knowing Field has been a phenomenon of Family Constellations that is difficult to understand. It is something that has to be experienced to be believed. Professor Albrecht Mahr, a German psychoanalyst who is also a well known and respected International Family Constellation Educator and facilitator, is presently involved in a scientific study to find out more about the Knowing field. The term “Knowing field” seems to be the most appropriate term for describing the field phenomena which forms on and in the representatives and guides the process to a resolution and an acceptance of “what is”.
“On the one hand it can be seen as a poetic term, poetry being the most accurate language at the level of the soul. On the other hand, “Knowing field” is inspired by Rupert Sheldrake’s findings on morphogenic fields and the extended mind, as well as quantum physics and its surprising discoveries regarding the transmission of information and knowledge through quantum fields” John L. Payne The healing of individuals, families and nations.
This revolutionary process of Systemic Family Constellations has become the fastest growing psychotherapeutic technique in Europe and is catching worldwide interest. It is particularly effective in improving relationship among members of a family or an organization. It can help families to deal with most difficult situations: life and death, separation or divorce, difficult fate, mental disorder, adoption, physical illness, addictions etc.
Where does that leave traditional counselling methods?
Family Constellations can help release a person from the trans-generational dynamics that restrict them and leave them free for the inner work of the counselling process.
Counselling or psychotherapy continue to be greatly beneficial in helping the client in improving their communication, social skills, coping with their emotions, creating healthy boundaries for themselves to mention only a few areas. In addition, no one can over exaggerate the healing power of the therapeutic alliance that takes between a client and their therapist, so counselling and psychotherapy can be used in conjunction with Family Constellations where it is deemed to be helpful. The psychotherapeutic world continues to expand exponentially as our awareness and knowledge develops. Each method having value and integrity in itself and giving us therapists a vast range of resources to choose from for our own personal use and for facilitation of our clients.
Yildiz Sethi is a counsellor and Educator who is presently facilitating Family Constellations workshops in Sydney and also facilitating private sessions in her private practice. Family Constellations can be experienced in a workshop or private session and Yildiz is now offering training here in Sydney and is also happy to speak to groups or give demonstrations, where possible of this process for anyone who is interested in knowing more.
Systemic Constellations Training 2008
Specialized further training for
Counsellors, psychotherapists, Psychologists, welfare officers, youth workers, clergy.
Pre-requisites for doing the course
Health care professional qualifications and membership of appropriate professional organizations…
Benefits of the training
Systemic Constellations are highly effective in helping with all relationship issues and many mental health disorders ranging from all family and marriage issues including divorce, parenting, single-parent families, blended families and adoption to emotional, physical and sexual abuse, incest, depression, self esteem, anxiety, suicide and panic attack.
If you are looking for a way to take your skills and practice to a more effective and Holistic level, then this course may be what you are looking for.
This course will involve mind, body, soul perspectives that will be educational, experiential and will involve personal development in a professional, confidential, safe and supportive, learning environment.
As part of the learning, you will be encouraged to look at your own situation in terms of constellations in order to bring to light any “blind spots,” to raise awareness and allow personal resolution, in preparation for working with others in this methodology.
Training schedule Brisbane
Part one -3 day training Brisbane Fri, Sat Sun 9.30 am -4.30 pm. 18-20 April 2008
Part two- 3 day training Brisbane Fri, Sat, Sun 9.30 am -4.30 pm. 16-18 May 2008
Part three – 4 days of workshop experience with me in Brisbane or Sydney
including 3 de-briefing sessions. 6 hours
Part four-1 day on Private constellations sessions
2 day supervised practice Fri, Sat, Sun 9.30 am -4.30 pm 7-9 Nov.
86 professional development points recognizes by ACA
What is Family Constellations?
Family Constellations comes from the Humanistic phenomenological philosophy and is a brief, experiential methodology that may stand alone as brief therapy or may be incorporated in more extended therapy.
The methodology and philosophy may be applied in many different ways, by therapists in workshops or private sessions and by welfare workers in working with families. Because a lot of our entanglements come from our family of origin, or from the patterns past down though the generations, this process taps into entanglements and helps the person to acknowledge “what is” and to free themselves respectfully, while allowing a healthier connection to their roots to form.
About Yildiz Sethi
Yildiz has run a busy private practice for the last seven years in the north shore of Sydney and moved to Brisbane in 2007 to be closer to her children. She is also a lecturer at the Australian College of Applied Psychology, originally in Sydney and now in Brisbane where she is an expert in Methods of Counselling.
She is a Registered Counsellor, Registered supervisor, Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner and Systemic Family Constellations practitioner.
She is very grateful to have received trainings and teachings in Systemic Family Constellations from many different sources starting with Svagito Liebermeister and Vedanta Suravi in India and Spain and at the Bert Hellinger Institute in Munich, Germany with many well known international teachers such as Albret Mahr, Ursula Franke, Jakob Schneider, Berthold Ulsamer and also Bert Hellinger himself in Austria in 2007 at his first international training for therapists.
Yildiz is now the most experienced Family Constellations practitioner of private sessions in Australia and has been facilitating regular workshops in Sydney since 2005 and is now facilitating workshops in Brisbane and Sydney on a regular basis.
Bachelor of Education, Graduate Diploma Counselling (ACAP), NLP practitioner( IHT- Gordon Young), Diploma Hypnotherapy (ASCH), Certificate of Ego State Therapy (DR Gordon Emmerson), Registered clinical supervisor, Certificate 4 workplace training.
Family Constellations training -Svagito Leibermeister (India, Spain 2005), IAG (Munich Germany2006), Albret Mahr, Ursula Franke, Jakob Schneider, Berthold Ulsamer. Bert Hellinger (Sciencia 2007)
She and her husband Satish also took part in Bert Hellinger’s first training at his new school in 2007 in Austria
Professional memberships ACA, ASCH
Yildiz Sethi. Educator (ACAP), Counsellor, NLP practitioner, Hypnotherapist, Family Constellations practitioner.
07 3268 6016, 0412 172 300