By Melody Allen, MA, PMA, LPC-S
My healing journey started from my own outpouring of grief and misunderstanding about being a single woman older than 30.
When I talked with friends and family about this matter, I met responses ranging from “Have you prayed?” to “How are you sabotaging yourself?” and “Look who you’re picking!” I later realized that these unsupported comments arose from people’s inability to handle the anxiety of not having an answer for me. I decided to stop complaining and accept singledom as my present state. There was nothing I could do about it until the time came for “IT” to change.
Just bringing up the topic of being single used to give me a visceral reaction, rooted in the shame and blame that society puts on unmarried, childless young women. In alignment with our 2017 North American Systemic Constellations Conference theme “Bridging the Divide: Healing the Personal and Collective Soul,” I have seen so many divides when it come to finding love and lasting partnership.
By Betsy Hostetler, Ph.D.
I’m startled to see that I have only a few minutes to change planes. I’m on my way to study Family and Systemic Constellations in Germany, and it’s not clear that I’ll make the connection.
I take a deep breath and imagine it working out fine.
Surprised by my own reaction, I remember a time when anxiety would have driven me to make back-up plans even though no sound data existed. I think of constellation sessions I’ve done, and I understand where this new sense of calm is coming from.
Even though I don’t know what will happen next, I come home to my breath and to myself. I change planes easily, without trouble, either external or internal.
"The experience was like a waking dream. Family Constellations are like a waking dream, too. They honor the difference between noticing and knowing, the space between. All I know is that when I searched for my ancestors, I found them.."
By Betsy Hostetler, Ph.D.
“Let’s keep looking. Maybe we’ll see a sign.”
That was my only hope, because we had no map and no directions. Lou Ann, my best buddy in high school, had accompanied me to Sugarcreek, Ohio, to look for the place where my great-grandparents had lived their lives and died. We found only a worn and deserted town.
“I see a sign,” I told her. “It’s the sign to the highway.”
We’d come a long way to get here, and we were both reluctant to leave. As we drove out of town and up the hill, Lou Ann asked, “Would you like to pull over, look back and at least take a picture?”
By Bill Mannle, LMFT
After year and a half of doing Family and Systemic Constellations at a high school in Connecticut for the school’s regular Alateen group, I began to notice a pattern. The first student to enter the room was the one who would work that day. Today was no different.
“Hi Bill,” said Laney, 16, as she walked in.
“Hi, Laney. Are you going to work today?” I asked.
“Yeah, I think so, I don’t know,” she replied.
“Whatever you want,” I said.
When the other students filed in and settled, my colleague Sue, the school social worker who ran the Alateen group, shared announcements, introduced me to the new students, and then we did a round. After I explained Family Constellations, I noticed Sue looking at Laney.
By Suzi Tucker
What is the difference between teachers and gods? Between students and supplicants?
Well, one difference is in the level of freedom that they have. The teacher-student relationship assumes the freedom to change. In other words, when the teacher shifts his or her way of teaching or even what is being explored, the student is free to follow or to withdraw. In this freedom, the student allows himself or herself to continue to receive from what has already been learned.
The learning experience is complete with respect to the relationship to the particular teacher, but the potential unfoldings over time are limitless. In this way, a decision to stay with a particular teacher is not actually a decision to stay, but rather it is a moment to choose anew.
And the teacher is free to build upon the original ideas — adding to, reexamining, reframing and continuing to value what has been even as he or she moves toward the new. When the insights and gathered knowledge of the past can be integrated, rather than dismissed or rejected, the backbone of the future is strengthened.
“No one knows your name until you draw your last breath.” -- Rumi
By Rosalba Stocco, MSW, RSW
When I first heard this line from Rumi, it left me dumbstruck. What does it mean? It can’t be true. My family knows my name. My friends know my name. I knew my parents’ names. What in the world does it mean?
“It means that people don’t really know you until after you are gone.” That’s what Jacqueline told me. And then the pieces fell together for me. How sad, my children will not really know me until I draw my last breath and then some?
I then thought of my parents: Amalia Semenzin, my mother, and Luigi Cadorin, my father. When they died 20 and 30 years ago, I really thought I knew them. I knew them as their Canadianized youngest daughter.
By Suzi Tucker
So, there are lots of great teachers and courses in Family and Systemic Constellations being offered in the United States. Bert Hellinger’s early view of “let many flowers bloom” certainly has come to be.
But what happens when a beautiful circle of learning closes?
Often, the inspired student becomes the deflated entrepreneur. Suddenly on their own, some former students find that they feel isolated in their home territories or insulated in their psychotherapy, Reiki, medical, or other practices. The circle is no longer there to land in every month or two, a place where being with one another offers a sense of relief, the learning and also the invitation to be who you are full on. The circle is no longer a reliable shape with a seat for every member, no question. The circle is now an abstraction, and though some may try to keep it going informally, the challenges often overtake the momentum.
In these courses, there are the teachers and the teaching, and there is something else: the formation of what I think of as “accidental communities.”
“Autism spectrum disorders can only be fully healed by restoring the self-regulation of the system and making it fully functional.” -- Deitrich Klinghardt, M.D.
By Jennifer Giustra-Kozek, LPC
Autism and related disorders have become pandemic in our world. Some form of autism is now observed in 1 in 55 children and is growing at a rate of more than 1,100 percent. Western medicine focuses on medication to suppress symptoms, and alternative approaches focus on treating the underlying biomedical, physical, psychological and environmental causes of autism.
However, illness not only originates in our physical body but can also originate in our energetic and spiritual body as well. So, it becomes imperative that we treat the entire person for a fuller recovery.
Systemic Constellations, sometimes known as Family Constellations, were created by Bert Hellinger, a German psychotherapist. This phenomenological method is used to uncover the source of chronic conditions, illnesses and emotional difficulties that may have roots in the inter-generational family system, rather than the individual person, and may be connected to a key stress event.
This moving and powerful work in the family’s energetic field, which is also referred to as “the knowing field,” has been used to examine the emotional factors connected to conditions such as illness, allergies, alcoholism, ADHD and autism. Some parents of autistic children have experienced profound transformations as a result of this work for themselves as well as for their families.
By Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP
For most of her life, Lucille had loved escalators – those amazing and efficient moving staircases that smoothly glided up and down in department stores, hotels and airports. She marveled at their construction and how they made life and travel easy and convenient.
Then one day, there was nothing marvelous, easy or convenient about escalators.
She was surprised – and shocked – that escalators suddenly seemed very scary. In fact, she found herself panic stricken when she stood at the top of the smoothly running steps of an escalator.
Just the thought of placing her right foot on the first step as the stair moved downwards felt serious, like certain death.
She knew that this frozen and body-tightening experience would be called a “phobia” in the world of mental health but felt embarrassed to discuss this strange experience with anyone.
We all grow up hearing and telling the stories of our family’s history and traditions. Those stories can carry on legacies that can be helpful to future generations, but also can perpetuate stories based in pain and misunderstanding.
Often the stories leave out the deeper truths about what happened allowing old patterns to be repeated in each generation. Siblings raised in the same household can have very different experiences of the same events, creating confusion and distortion that can fuel challenging emotions as the stories get repeated over and over.
Siblings often get entangled in their parent’s marriage, creating conflicts that do not belong to them. How do we live with and reconcile the stories we hear from and about our family, how do we find our proper place in the narrative, so that we can be rooted in the tradition in a healthy way?
Barry Krost, a Family and Systemic Constellations facilitator and chairperson of the board of the new non-profit North American Systemic Constellations, talks about Family Constellations, particularly in light of the intensity of the holiday season, as well as the flow of love, give and take, and the energetic connections of the family system.
You can listen to this discussion on the radio show Mind Body Spirit Living here.
Join us for the 2017 North American Systemic Constellations Conference Oct. 5-8 in Virginia Beach, Va., for health professionals, educators, executive and life coaches, consultants, community activists, change makers and others interested in alternative health and innovative practices. More info here. We'd love to have you subscribe to our e-letter here.
Welcome to our blog, which explores what people are doing with Family and Systemic Constellations here, there and everywhere throughout North America.