Systemic Family Solutions - Bert Hellinger Family Constellation Work

Bert's Current Observations

Nov. 2003 - Santa Barbara: Day 2

Bert: "I want to speak about the Dead. Much of this work is about the influence of the Dead on the living and the question is how we can expose ourselves to their influence in a way that leaves us a certain leeway of action. Many clients are possessed by dead people and driven by forces they no longer control. Since we resonate with everything past, this is of fundamental importance. There are some Dead who want to be left in peace. People who mourn and grieve people in their family, it's felt by the dead as a burden. It's a way of keeping them close and not allowing them to leave completely. If we remember the dead thinking we have to avenge them and their victims and suffered injustices, then we use the Dead as a weapon against other people.

If you expose yourself to this, what will it do to the Dead and what will it do to people that think they have to take up for dead people? They are dangerous and they miss their own life. This has far-reaching consequences when we deal with a group or a nation that has suffered a lot. For instance, here in America, the Native Americans- what has happened to their people in the past? The African Americans, South Americans, Latin- Americans. What has happened to the native people when the continent was conquered, the Jews in the last World War, and centuries before, in the "Christian" (so-called) communities. And other nations (Palestinians). There is a tendency to take over the legitimate rights of the dead as if we have their rights ourselves. If there are descendants that haven't --------there is a disturbance that leads to conflict. Most wars are the results of a wish to address past injustice. This sort of remembering leads to further death and in a way is against-I have to be careful here- peace. My dear dead friend ----- said, "War is the father of all things. War is the father of peace. No war, no peace." If we look at people and those we want to help, it is a great relief if they can leave the dead behind and at peace. How can we do that? We'll have an example…"

1. John- Bert stands him up then places a man lying on the floor. John lies down. Bert stands a second man there. John sits up. The standing man is crazy. The dead man reaches towards him. The man goes down. Bert stands John up and turns him away. John says, "Very relieving. I feel alive."

Bert- "His tendency to die is in place of someone else. He can't help the dead person. We don't need to know the problem, just see the solution. Leave the dead to settle it among themselves. You are too small for that.

Bert- This kind of work protects the helper. He cannot be drawn into an issue that is not his own. Regular therapy has transference and counter transference and the helper is drawn into the client's issues. Then the helper takes over an issue that is not his own and may be dangerous for the helper. This is a demonstration of psychic hygiene for all concerned. He (John) is free of me, on his own, and he knows what to do. I have demonstrated that you need no information at all. The representatives are influenced by the extended mind of the family. When one of them looks at the floor, he is looking at a dead person or a grave. There is no exception. When John lay down, the movement had come to an end. Then you need to bring another person in. Perhaps he was a perpetrator, but you could see the connection. Then the movement ended again and I did another thing- I stood him up. Only he doesn't know what to do with his life. Many adventures ahead.

Someone asks a question.

Bert replies, "What would have happened if I had listened and asked? What would have happened to me? What would have happened to him? Was it a relevant question or a curious question? By not answering I keep myself free. Again, psychic hygiene. I track if it weakens me or strengthens me.

2. A woman: "I feel a lot of pain and fear."

Bert, "Blah, blah. I have pain and fear all the time too. What shall I do with it? You are avoiding the problem. Again, what is the problem?"

Woman, "Entanglement."

Bert, "I cannot work with her. She is not ready… She has an identical twin that is schizophrenic. Now who is schizophrenic - the family? The family places it on the twin. And the client is afraid of being schizophrenic herself and she is not ready to face it."

Woman, "That is my fear."

Bert, "If I had accepted what she said, I would have entered a therapeutic relationship- she as the client and me as the therapist and nothing would have come out of it."

3. A Woman who has a twin who is schizophrenic:

Bert- "When the murderer and victim are both excluded, they are represented in 1 person. Same with stuttering- 2 opposite dynamics in the family, murderer and victim. I had a person who was normal from the waist down and skin and bones from the waist up. We set up 2 people and they were murderer and victim. The dead here clung to the living because of their unresolved issue. Setting it up heals the past and reaches back into the present. Schizophrenia is not a personal issue. The system has an unresolved issue of murderer and victim. The solution works for all members of the family. One twin is represents the murderer and one the victim. She hadn't seen her twin in 14 years. She needs to hold her twin in her heart and say 'Thank you for doing it for me. And now I do something for you.' Then tell her what happened here."

Representatives cannot be representatives to solve their own problems.

Let yourselves be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love. We rarely hear the inward music, but we're all dancing to it nevertheless.

Bert: "A schizophrenic person does service out of a deep love. This deep love can point to resolution. The client points to the problem with his/her suffering but cannot solve it. This love is blind and helps no one in the past. Yet the client feels at rest with this so we mustn't regret their fate. We must bow in respect and withdraw."

4. A young man: Bert stands up a representative for him. Then a man for his father. Bert tells the son's representative, "Please, shoot me. You better shoot me." The father is shaking. Bert stands up a man between them, shielding the son. Bert lays 4 men down between them. The father lay down with them, clutching one of them. Another one grabs the foot of the man shielding the son, who says, "Dear father." Bert moves the son and the "shield" over to behind the father. Bert has the son put one hand on father's head and one on a dead person with his eyes still open. Bert brings up the mother of the last person on the ground with his eyes open

The client's father has a collection of 18 German lugers. And he was a surgeon in the Vietnam War. The men on the ground were his colleagues. The father wanted to go with his comrades. The son unites the father and the victims and holds a place for both in his heart. The Dead sometimes need their mother to find peace. We don't know whom the shield person represented. Bert moves the client and his representative to the other side facing away.

Bert: "As soon as you go to a detail, you have a detail. Many descendants of survivors of the Holocaust have perpetrator energy because they exclude the perpetrators. Even the murderers are human beings and they are not worse than the others. They are entangled and follow their conscience and the Nazis are very religious and feel chosen to save the world. Their inner attitude was the same as their victims. Look at Hitler and say "You are my brother" and then you are free. To reject them will make you like them. There is no solution but to give all the honor of being a human being like myself. A murderer who is accused, can never change. Only if you can say, "I love you" can they change.

5. A woman: "I act like a victim and I feel like a murderer. My brothers were psychotic. My father's brothers were psychotic." Bert takes a representative for her father. He twists, turns, around and around. Bert says, "You can suspect personal guilt." He sets up a woman opposite. She wavers. Bert stands father's brother opposite him. The father turns and goes down. Bert stands up another man and has the woman lie down in front of him. The man's hands are in fists. The father and his brother look at each other. Bert tells the man to look at the woman. He tries to do this repeatedly. He laughs and yells. Bert says, "He's not the murderer, he's schizophrenic. It's further back. Bert stands up another man. The brother squares off with him. Bert says to the brother, "Bow your head." Bert stands up the man who is laughing and puts him with the father and his brother. The woman reacts to the newest man who comes and takes her hand and cries. Bert turns the father, brother and laughing man away from the man and woman on the floor. Bert tells the man then to kneel down and touch both at the same time and let the energy of both unite in his soul. Then he stands all 3 up and has the man embrace the 2. He goes crazy. Bert says to him, "Look at both of them and say, "Here I'm small, too small." Then Bert has him lean against them with his back and has the brother lean against him and brings up the representative for the client's brother and has him lean against them all then move away, and he bows. The client's brother feels queasy. Bert has him go and embrace the perpetrator. Bert has the client's brother move away and has the client stand at his side. The brother feels better and the client feels good.

Bert: "Strength often comes from the perpetrator. Schizophrenia is a family issue that goes through several generations. If you look at schizophrenia as an ill person, you cannot help. Stuttering show conflicting movements (like schizophrenia). You deal with the system the same way as in schizophrenia. Playing a victim is a defense against a murderous impulse. Manic means you don't look at the issue. When you look at the issue, you become depressed. The manic person wants to die."

6. A woman: She and her mother are schizophrenic. The maternal grandmother is "locked away." Bert sets her up. Then he puts a man opposite. He falls to the ground and reaches out to here. She goes to him and Bert says, "From his movements, he is a child." He closes his eyes when she comes. Bert stands the client up. She cries. Bert stands her mother next to her. The client goes behind her mother, wraps her arms around her waist and cries. The mother looks down, holding the client's hands at her waist. Bert puts a woman on the ground in front of the mother. The client wants to protect her mother. The woman reaches out. The mother moves her daughter away and eventually looks at the woman. The woman turns to hold her foot. Mother and daughter hug and daughter cries. Bert says, "Of course this isn't the solution." He tells the client to lie next to her grandmother. She does so, crying. The mother's hands are in fists. Bert has the client stand up again and looks away. The mother looks at the client, still will hands fisted. The mother eventually moves to her mother on the floor and Bert has the client look at it. The grandmother turns to her daughter. Bert tells the client to turn away again. Bert asks her how she feels. She says, "I want my dad." Bert brings up a representative for the father, who right away hugs her.

Bert says: "The next generation had some dynamic. It's a field that holds an irresistible entanglement. A child would reach out a hand, not a victim. In a house where someone hung himself, the dead person will stay and draw the next one.

Example: Bert stands up a suicidal person and places 6 of the deceased around her in a circle. He has her look at each one and say, "Please". One of the dead goes to the ground, closes eyes and turns away. The client backed out of the group and one of the dead tried to pull her back in. Bert had her say "Please" again and says, "The dead realized what they're doing when the living say 'Please'. With the dead we are small and say 'please'."

7. A woman: "My younger brother is schizophrenic and wants to come live with me." Bert sets her up opposite a representative for her brother, and tells her to say "thank you." He touches the ground. She goes down. He gets up. She crawls to him, reaches for him. He touches her. Bert says she is holding perpetrator energy and he is holding victim energy and "Something got repeated here." Bert tells the client to say to her brother, "Dear brother, I'm your sister and you are my brother." Bert says, "This takes her out of the identification." The brother says he feels grounded and she says, "I see him." Bert says, "Exactly."

8. A Japanese woman: Bert stands up a man who braces himself with his arms crossed. He puts another man opposite. The second one slowly moves towards the first, who takes a big step forward also. They stand belly to belly. They embrace warmly, several times. The client sits with her head leaning very far back. Bert eventually lifts her head back up. She looks. Her head eventually bows. The first man moves behind the second and puts his hands on his shoulders. The first man looks at the client (he has done this several times previously). Bert tells her, "Just kneel." She does so and bows her head to the floor. The first man gets staunch again, arms crossed. The second kneels down and bows his head to the floor towards the client. The second man eventually stands up. The client begins reaching forward. He gets back down and takes her hand and they touch heads. The client eventually looks up at him and he sits up and she smiles. Both bow their heads together again. The first comes back and holds both their hands and she falls over. The second man eventually lies next to her. Bert says, "I leave it here. We don't need to know what it is. Nobody was asked any questions. [Bert asks the client how she is.]. She feels relieved. In Japan the movements of the soul are slower than here but to the point.

Bert continues: "In Asia I have observed that some woman carry the burden of the women in their family, many generations back. And they break through sometimes with great anger. And it is the outcry of many women supporessed. Espectially in China you can see that. And what is the solution? To look at them and withdraw. To say, "I'm too small in the face of these great and deep sufferings. I'm too small."

9. A woman: My maternal grandmother is schizophrenic, my mother is bipolar, and I have anxiety. Bert, "No, you are manic." Woman, "Am I?" Bert, to the audience, "I say things, test the reaction. I find my way by saying outrageous things and then I observe the reactions." Bert stands her up. He places a representative for death opposite her. Bert, "Is he death? No. It turns out he is someone else. Death would stand in a different way. He is a child." The man holds his palms facing her. She goes to him eventually and hugs him, then holds his hands, then steps back and looks at him. He bows his head with prayerful hands for a minute to her. After a bit, Bert says, "I'll stop it here." He asks he she knows who it was. She doesn't. Bert says it could have been a brother. The client says, "Not from what I know." Bert wonders if it could have been a generation before. The client doesn't know. Bert asks how she feels and she says "relaxed." Bert asks if she feels better and she says "I don't know." Bert says, "OK, that's all I can do here."Bert, to the group, "A test of perception that I stopped. Does it make her feel better or worse? It makes her feel better. So stopping and not pursuing it further is an important therapeutic movement. Had I gone on, would she feel better or worse? Worse. Better I stop."

Bert: "If you do this kind of work, you get tired as a helper. I'm getting tired, and that's a warning I have to heed. To go beyond that, I suffer. This work is so delicate and if you overstep the boundary, your body will react. You may get sick. You can only help if you adhere to the reaction of your own body and don't go further. And it's perfectly all right for the client when you adhere to your body's needs. So I'll go on, having in mind my own condition.

[I have only a portion of Bert's closing words for the day; they went something like this:] "We must move beyond His laws, His promises, His curse. It'll take time to adjust to leaving behind many gods whom we wanted to believe and to serve, not always for the good of others. But under these gods, we couldn't do better, so there is no need for regret. After these, something more challenging and fulfilling comes." End of day 2.

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