It has been a week. Mainly because I was away with work in Germany and met interesting people again. I will be away most of following weeks, so apologies for any delay in publishing things.
I still wanted to make a note on Hellinger. Why? First of all I had a family constellation with Hellinger’s therapy back in 2000; and in 2001 I wrote an essay about it. It showed me why I did certain things and acted in certain ways, being influenced not only by my parents but also by my “Urfamilie” which means the family since the start of existence of the family. I found a strong link to my dead grand-father who died 6 years before I was born. Is that coincidence, can that be real?
Hellinger states that people could get neurosis by either identification and moving towards a dead person in the family or by moving towards a living person which then is not available, e.g. an ill mother in hospital that cannot be visited. Both situations can lead to a feeling of being neglected.
Hellinger uses Transactional Analysis (TA) and visualisation of constellations to change the group situation. In a “live group therapy” other group members can play a part of the family and talking to group members, imagining them being a part of the family, can help solving issues, e.g. “I forgive you father for ….”.
The original situation, our “Urfamilie” will be enlarged over the years with other strong relationships, e.g. wife, good friend, our own children, mentors, work colleagues etc. All of those can play a role in our behaviour and our life. In order to have a balanced life, Hellinger gives several examples of people giving and taking equal amounts to be happy. Some groups cannot take on any happiness because they feel like they have not the right to be happy. They feel it is unfair for them to be happy and like to suffer with those that never had the chance to be happy.
Taking amounts can relate to anything – material and non-material goods. Happiness is an example and money could be an example. There are people that try to buy themselves happiness or trying to give great gifts to their partner in order to buy themselves or their partner happiness.
Whilst Hellinger is not a theory that I take for granted I find his ideas fascinating. In my case there was someone years ago that had an influence on my life. How could he have done that? Was it because people in the family talked about it and we identified ourselves with it? Let’s use my granddad who I admired. He liked his drink, smoked, seemed to be the cool guy I identified myself with when I was 20. Now, what would Helllinger’s constellation show me now? Would I still identify myself with him, maybe do I carry a burden of never meeting him?
I do not think so. Neither do I smoke nor am I need to be the cool guy. However, Hellinger’s group constellation could show me other things. E.g. there is surely something in my family I still carry around, a burden which influences my current life. Could I solve it in any other way? Do I need to solve it?
There is no clear yes/no answer to any of those questions. I truly believe Hellinger has a point of showing possible connections within the family/group and can explain problems and influences. Going too far with it could lead to blaming everything on the family.
Maybe a good example is if someone changes jobs and discussed – first for herself – whether that is the right job. Money, career perspectives etc. She might come to the conclusion and sees that the money is enough and the job is great because it makes her happy. She then talks to her father who thinks that she can earn more. And that money is more important. Is that Hellinger that he has influence on her? Is that just natural thoughts of “I should listen to my dad, he taught me so much and was always right”. Maybe she will come to terms that “dad is right” or to terms that “dad, I understand your concern, but I live my own life and decided what is important for me and that this is not always important for you”. Is that Hellinger? No, that is common sense and the dad would surely come to terms of “yes, daughter, I accept you the way you are”.
Those things are not always that easy and can lead to a conflicts. Surely in more complicated cases Hellinger or family constellations can help. I leave any further thoughts with you – as you should not blame any situation straight on the family just because it is most likely. There are other influences out there that should not be neglected!
Have a great Sunday!