My teacher, my God
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.
After the Constellation course, we find the "Accidental Community"
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.
Finding our family "place" during the holiday season
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.
By Michael Reddy, Ph.D.
When we are working with Family and Systemic Constellations, let’s begin by suggesting that there are two sources of trauma: the threatening overwhelms that affect your nervous system personally and those that affected a parent or ancestor’s but were never dealt with.
After-effects of the second kind do show up in you or your clients, even though they never actually happened to you. What are we coming to understand about these? How are they similar or different?
Consider five foundational facts about trauma. The whole trauma response, often referred to as “fight/flight/freeze,” actually has not just three, but five stages. Think of them as “fight-or-flight, friends, freeze, and forget.” Easy to remember as the “5 F’s.”
Remember also – trauma is highly individual. One person’s experience of overwhelm is another person’s “so what” – or even triumph.
Fight? Or Flight?
The limbic midbrain, triggered by what psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk calls the “smoke detector” amygdala, sets in motion an array of autonomic responses. They prepare, more or less as needed, our whole organism for possibly extreme efforts to recreate safety. All processes not immediately relevant to that are slowed down or completely stopped. These include digestion, the immune system, more rationally oriented presence of mind, and more.
By Francesca Mason Boring
There are so many times that people seem baffled by how to describe Family and Systems (also known as Systemic) Constellations). I can honestly say that I don’t understand the hesitation.
From the beginning, when I co-facilitated constellations sessions with a colleague, we described it as a process though which one could step easily from the dark into the light.
Simple descriptions that many early facilitators used when describing Family Constellations included: “This work increases the flow of love in the family system,” and “This work has the capacity to reveal hidden dynamics within a family system which have interrupted the flow of love.”
Now the work has moved into better understanding of organizational systems, environmental and political discussions, and support for artists and artistic productions, as well as healing processes.
A paper was presented last year at an engineering conference in Germany, inviting the utilization of systems constellations to find solutions in engineering. I began to be more aware of the capacity this work has to literally shine a light on the subject – any subject – to illuminate that which is present but has previously been unseen. The application of the luminous tool of systems constellation appears to be unlimited.
International connections are a rich resource for practitioners in the field of constellation work
By Leslie Nipps, M.Div.
I just returned from “Constellating Future,” a gathering of the International Systemic Constellations Association, from Oct. 21-25 in Zagreb, Croatia.
What an enlivening and rich experience!
I traveled to Croatia with James Woeber, my fellow co-director of the 2015 North American Systemic Constellations Conference, to participate in this international event with nearly 80 facilitators and constellation enthusiasts from around the world.
I can happily report that international constellation work is alive and well – and a rich resource for all of us who love constellation work.
The International Systemic Constellations Association gathered in Zagreb this year at a time of transition and rejuvenation. Founded in 2007 and almost closed for business a year or so ago, ISCA is now on the verge of a new era of international constellation work and innovation. Great thanks especially go to Max Dauskardt of Germany (currently living in Croatia), who has led the effort to regrow ISCA and make it viable again. It’s been a work of great passion and love for him.
Welcome to our blog, which explores what people are doing with Family and Systemic Constellations here, there and everywhere throughout North America.