The desire to belong is inherent in all human beings. As individuals we act in accordance with the desires and norms of our groups in order to fit in and be accepted, sometimes no matter what the price. Our beliefs, and ultimately our actions, reflect this greater group consciousness. The Hellinger Approach helps us open our hearts in order to begin knowing a larger, yet more personal truth about the meaning of our existence within the context of these bigger more powerful energetic influences.
The Hellinger Approach comes from a long tradition of systemic therapy, which looks at situations as a whole versus isolated incidents of wounding or pain. By viewing family situations in the context of a larger whole, we gain insights into the deeper reasons why things occur in a family: why individuals are pushed out, denied a place or not spoken of; and why behavioral patterns appear to repeat, often unconsciously, over generations. The family energy field, or “family soul” as referred to by Bert Hellinger, serves as the basis for exploring and understanding relationships as well as eventually constructing solutions to issues that trouble our being. This family soul includes both the living and the dead and has a deep effect on the present generation.
The insights gained by coming into deeper contact with this family energy field enable a rebalancing of energies within the family. It is a way to work experientially on issues that affect us on multiple planes, including physical, emotional, and the deeper levels of consciousness. Leading us past societal ideas of morality to a holographic understanding of why events happen in the context of love and loyalty to the family, the Hellinger Approach enables deeper, soul-level healing to take place. This method looks at the patterns within the family energy field. Bert Hellinger calls these patterns “orders of love.” A few of these orders are that members of a family are bound together by a common conscience, everyone has the right to belong, gains and losses are balanced over generations and the solution to our presenting issue is always based in love.
By creating a picture of the family energy field in the form of a constellation, the Hellinger Approach encourages us to turn back toward the family of origin and gain strength in a new, healthier way. Knowing 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. Openly looking at our family of origin provides us with the opportunity to see the good and the bad, uncover secrets and truths, and investigate the lost and unexplained. By seeing these various components, we acknowledge deeper 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 does not serve our personal growth. Most importantly, we learn to gain strength from a deeper conscious connection to the family soul that we are a part of. This strength feeds our 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 breathe and as Hellinger says, “acknowledge what is.”
What has been learned from working with family energy fields is that all groups have a collective consciousness, or greater soul, that has an unconscious influence on those in the group. A way of understanding this energetic phenomenon can come from looking at our connection and identification with the various groups we belong to. First and foremost, the strongest soul group we are attached to is our family of origin. After that, there is our connection to our heritage and the groups that represent our cultural background. These can include family religions, racial and ethnic backgrounds we were born into, the part of the country we live in, and the nation or state we identify with. Each of these larger soul groups possesses a conscious and unconscious energetic influence on behavior.
Dr. Kaslow has personally undergone Family Constellation Therapy based on the teachings of Bert Hellinger and recommends this type of therapy for many individuals with family exclusion issues that often transcend the immediate family. Almost any situation where a death, divorce, separation, rigid/unavailable family member (could be due to medications, illness, personality, etc.) or “exclusion” has occurred within the family structure going back several generations warrants considering Family Constellation Therapy. It is not a replacement for traditional counseling or psychotherapy, rather it serves as another avenue of better understanding, which I believe leads to a more harmonious and loving outlook.