Who was the founder of Family & Systemic Constellations?

Bert Hellinger: The Visionary Behind Systemic Work and Family Constellations

In the world of therapy and personal growth, certain individuals emerge as true visionaries, introducing transformative concepts that reshape our understanding of human dynamics and healing. Bert Hellinger is undeniably one such figure. He is the brilliant mind behind systemic work and family constellations, an approach that has touched countless lives and brought profound healing to individuals, families, and communities.

A Glimpse into Bert Hellinger’s Life

Bert Hellinger was born on December 16, 1925, in Leimen, Germany. His early life was marked by historical events, including his service in World War II and subsequent time as a prisoner of war in Belgium. After the war, he studied philosophy, theology, and pedagogy at the University of Würzburg.

The Beginnings of Systemic Work

Hellinger’s journey into the realm of systemic work began in the 1960s when he went to South Africa to work as a missionary. There, he encountered Zulu families and tribal dynamics that sparked his curiosity about the hidden forces shaping relationships and behaviors.

His insights into family and group dynamics deepened over the years as he studied various therapeutic approaches, including psychoanalysis, transactional analysis, and primal therapy. Hellinger’s exploration eventually led him to develop this groundbreaking method, now known as family constellations.

The Birth of Family Constellations

Family constellations emerged from Hellinger’s observations of how unresolved family conflicts and entanglements could impact individuals across generations. He realized that there were often hidden loyalties to family members who had been excluded, forgotten, or dishonored. These hidden loyalties could lead to repetitive patterns of suffering and unexplained life challenges.

Drawing inspiration from his experiences and insights, Hellinger developed family constellations as a way to reveal these hidden dynamics and offer a path to healing. Family constellations involve creating a living representation of the client’s family system, with individuals stepping into the roles of family members. This process allows the dynamics and entanglements to become visible, paving the way for resolution and healing.

Core Principles of Family Constellations

Bert Hellinger’s work is guided by several core principles that underpin family constellations:

  1. Orders of Love: Hellinger introduced the concept of the “Orders of Love,” suggesting that there is a natural order in families that requires each member to be acknowledged and respected.
  2. Entanglements: Family constellations highlight how individuals can become entangled in unresolved conflicts or traumas from previous generations.
  3. Balance of Giving and Taking: Hellinger emphasized the importance of balance in giving and taking within relationships. Imbalances can create disturbances in the family system.
  4. Exclusion and Inclusion: Family constellations shed light on the impact of excluding or dishonoring family members. Healing often involves including and acknowledging those who were excluded.
  5. Resolution through Awareness: By making hidden dynamics visible, family constellations offer the opportunity for healing and resolution.

Impact and Global Reach

Bert Hellinger’s work gained recognition and popularity across the world. His workshops and seminars attracted individuals from diverse backgrounds, including therapists, counselors, coaches, and individuals seeking personal growth. The universal appeal of family constellations lies in its ability to transcend cultural and linguistic barriers, tapping into the universal dynamics that shape human relationships.

Critiques and Controversies

As with any revolutionary approach, Bert Hellinger’s work has also faced critiques and controversies. Some argue that family constellations can oversimplify complex psychological issues and that the method lacks empirical scientific validation. Others express concern about the potential for retraumatization when exploring deeply sensitive family issues. This is why it is important to work with a trained Facilitator from a renowned training school such as The Centre for Systemic Constellations, UK.

Legacy and Continuing Influence

Bert Hellinger’s contribution to the field of therapy and personal growth is undeniably significant. He passed away on September 19, 2019, but his legacy lives on through the practitioners, facilitators, and individuals who continue to benefit from family constellations. His innovative approach has opened doors to new perspectives on systemic dynamics, intergenerational healing, and the interconnectedness of human experiences.

In conclusion, Bert Hellinger’s visionary insights and dedication to understanding the hidden forces within family systems have led to the creation of family constellations. His work continues to impact lives by shedding light on the intricate web of relationships and emotions that shape our lives. As we explore the depths of his teachings, we find the opportunity for healing, understanding, and transformation – a true testament to the enduring legacy of a visionary mind.

Written by Lucy Ascham, Body & Soul Energy Expert

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