Is Family Constellations a cult?

Debunking the Myth: Family Constellations Explained

In recent years, you may have heard whispers or seen headlines questioning whether Family Constellations, a therapeutic approach developed by Bert Hellinger, is somehow linked to cult-like practices. Today, I’m here to debunk this myth and shed light on what Family Constellations truly entail.

A therapeutic and ground-breaking methodology

At its core, Family Constellations work is a therapeutic method aimed at uncovering hidden family dynamics and resolving systemic issues. Contrary to the sensationalized claims, it is not a cult but rather a legitimate and respected form of therapy practiced by trained professionals worldwide.

One of the reasons Family Constellations may be mistakenly associated with cults is its unconventional nature.

Consider the following two definitions of cult:

  1. a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object.”the cult of St Olaf”
  2. a person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society.”the series has become a bit of a cult in the UK”
  1. Whilst I respect and admire the work of the founder Bert Hellinger, I have never met him, have never sworn allegiance to him, or have my life arranged around him as a person or figurehead.
  2. perhaps the second definition would be good! To have this work as common place as going to the dentist – not always pleasant, but necessary health-giving work.

There’s an idea!

In Constellations workshops, participants often engage in experiential exercises, in one to one sessions or group workshops, where they represent family members or elements of a problem. This immersive approach can be misconstrued by outsiders as strange or unconventional, leading to unfounded assumptions.

Another factor contributing to the misconception is the profound emotional experiences that participants may undergo during Constellations sessions. These sessions can evoke intense feelings as individuals confront deep-seated issues within their family systems. However, experiencing strong emotions in therapy is not exclusive to Family Constellations and does not signify cult-like behavior.

Ethical and trained professional facilitators

Furthermore, Family Constellations workshops are facilitated by trained professionals who adhere to ethical guidelines and prioritize the well-being of participants. Unlike cults, where manipulation and coercion may be present, Constellations facilitators create a safe and supportive environment for exploration and healing. Confidentiality agreements are made with each group to keep personal information private.

It’s important to recognize that Family Constellations work is grounded in systemic theory and draws from various therapeutic modalities, including psychotherapy, psychodrama, and Gestalt therapy. Its foundations lie in understanding the interconnectedness of family systems and the impact of unresolved issues across generations.

The Knowing Field

Moreover, Family Constellations emphasize personal empowerment and self-discovery rather than dependency on a charismatic leader or group ideology. Participants are encouraged to take an active role in their healing journey and make their own discoveries guided by the facilitator.

We use our own body to receiving information from the knowing field – the connection between each person and element of a family system. This might sound unusual at first, but our family, our relationship with our mother, our sense of belonging to this initial unit is foundational to our life.

Open mind

In essence, the notion of Family Constellations being a cult is a misconception fueled by misunderstandings and sensationalism. Rather than dismissing it based on unfounded claims, it’s essential to approach Family Constellations with an open mind and willingness to explore its principles and methodologies.

In conclusion, Family Constellations offer a unique and effective approach to therapy, grounded in systemic principles and aimed at resolving deep-seated issues within family systems. By dispelling the myth of Family Constellations as a cult, we can foster a better understanding of this valuable therapeutic modality and its potential for healing and transformation.

If you are curious to learn more or see if this might be a good fit for whatever challenge you are dealing with, please reach out and let’s start with a chat.

lucy@lucyascham.com 07949 522655

Written by Lucy Ascham, Body & Soul Energy Expert

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