The source of your problems: Family constellation

Merve Yılmaz
4 min readSep 2, 2022
Photo by Liv Bruce on Unsplash

Family is the foundation for every individual. The family in which the baby is born may not be complete, and it may decrease over time. Mother, father, and siblings, if any, can be lost through death, divorce, or different forms of separation.

In addition, the child may be cared for by a different person for various reasons. In such a situation, the caregiver can become the psychological parent of the child and have a great influence on the child’s future life. Studies show that changing family situations have different effects on the social behavior of the individual both within and outside the family.

In this article, I will explain the concept of a family constellation, which says that the family has a significant impact on our psychology. The content of the article is as follows;

-About the person who found the approach: Who is Bert Hellinger?
-What is a family constellation?
-What are the traumatic events that caused damage to the family constellation?

Who is Bert Hellinger?

Hellinger was born in 1925, studied philosophy, pedagogy, and theology, and later became a pastor. He served as a Catholic missionary in South Africa for sixteen years, and during this period he observed the Zulu who were living their shamanic beliefs.

Hellinger returned to Germany in 1969. He used the experiences he gained from this tribe in his therapeutic studies for a while. He went to Vienna in 1970, studied psychoanalysis, became a psychoanalyst, and began to teach at the Psychoanalytical Association.

What is a family constellation?

The term family constellation was first used by Adler (1927) as a construct to describe the role of each member in the family system. Family Constellation Therapy emerged in Germany in the 90s. German name is “Familien Aufstellung”. The family constellation understanding depends on the family being connected by an invisible bond for generations.

Hellinger (1995) reported that severe emotional disorders may occur as a result of intergenerational inheritance. It also suggests that problems such as alcoholism, substance abuse, suicide, and eating disorders (bulimia and anorexia) are linked to a family event.

Family constellation therapy adopts the understanding that the family has been connected invisibly to each other for generations. This approach believes that the family in which the individual was born shapes the person, and all members in the family system are destined connected.

Family constellation is suggested in the model that a significant part of the psychological disorders, perhaps even the majority, were caused by problems in the root family

The family as a whole has a soul. People are shaped by the family they were born into. In the family system, a person is destined to be linked to another family member.

In the process of spiritual evolution; Every individual in the family where the soul is embodied came by choosing each other. On this journey, all family members together have something to learn from each other. Hellinger says that most — perhaps most — psychological disorders are caused by problems in the root family.

Traumatic Events Causing Damage to the Family Constellation

Hellinger, in his book “Ordnung der Liebe” that is, “Orders of Love” explained the traumatic events that caused damage to the family system. According to Hellinger, traumatic events that damage the family system are as follows;

Murder
Suicide
Sudden death
Deception
reluctant/involuntary association
Abandonment
Rape, harassment
Exposure to torture
Divorce
Don’t miscarry
Abortion
Adoption or giving away
Congenital mental and physical disorders

I have not been to family constellation therapy. However, I’ve heard people say they’ve seen the benefits. The family we grew up in has an impact on our psychology, but how much of a role our older generations play in this is up to you whether you believe it or not. Still, it’s hard not to believe. I have to admit that this situation is a little unsettling for me. I’m not sure if I am ready to face it.

If you have had such an experience or what you think about this topic, I would love to hear from you. Let me know about it in the comments.

Sources:

Adler, A. (1927). Individual psychology. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 22(2), 116–22. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0072190
Gallagher, R., & Lima, C. N. L. (2020). Birth order and family constellation. The Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development, 1–13. doi:10.1002/9781119171492.wecad216
Hellinger, B. (1995). Familien-Stellen mit Kranken. Handbook accompanying 10-hour live video edition of a course for patients and their psychotherapists and physicians. Heidelberg (CarlAuer-Systeme). Hellinger, B. (2001). Love’s own truths. Bonding and balancing in close relationships.

Thank you for taking the time and reading my post. I hope my article helps you. I wish you all the best.

40 days ago, I started a 50-day challenge to change my life. One of my goals is in this process to share a post on Medium every day. I would appreciate it if you would support me and accompany me on my journey. I hope to see you around.

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Merve Yılmaz

• UX Designer •Istanbul Technical University •Top writer in Self Improvement, Health, Life Lessons & Life.