Presented by Barbara Whiteside of Whiteside Workshops and hosted by Lucy Basta of WorkWell In light of the new world we are living with because of the coronavirus, I am trying out a new format for presenting panels on Zoom. I look forward to having more intimate, in person Enneagram and Family Constellation workshops as […]Find out more »
“We have to live in a way that liberates the ancestors and future generations who are inside of us. Joy, Peace, Freedom, and Harmony are not individual matters.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Family Constellation work draws from the understanding that there is a family energy field established over generations that we are unconsciously driven by in our present lives, and that the traumas, often unknown, that occurred in past generations have a way of “infecting” us in our own lives and families today. Barbara facilitates Constellations that uncover past traumas and events. Once these traumas find their rightful place of belonging in the recent or distant past, the family and individual is free to be truly in the present, with love flowing freely again.
Family Constellation Therapy is not about the known family story or narrative…
…plenty of available therapies engage with this. It is about the “unknown” that you and your family, through trans-generational engagement, can make contact with and heal. It is an extraordinary method for revealing and healing traumas and misfortunes from past generations that may be influencing you and your family today.
It is a process that brings to light, and then heals, our inheritance of pain, habit, recurring family issues, relationship patterns and entanglements.
In Family Constellation Therapy, the individual is not viewed as just an individual, or even just as a member of her immediate family system.
Instead, the individual is understood in the context of her trans-generational (or epigenetic) family lineage. Every individual is part of a Family Energy Field, in which there are conscious and also unconscious influences. We benefit from our ancestors’ acts of loving kindness and generosity, while their harmful acts can damage the Field, and later generations pay the price. Unresolved misfortunes and traumas that past generations experienced can be carried into the present generation, manifesting as deeply seated family patterns, or unconscious “laws” that govern attitudes, feelings, behaviors, and experiences. If our ancestor experienced a powerful life event such as an accident, untimely death, abortion, war, relocation, illness, phobia, suicide, adoption, divorce, anxiety, or depression, a wound can result. By uncovering and addressing these wounds, the unspoken laws operating within the family lineage can be recognized, resolved, and released.
Traumas need to be resolved in the generation in which they occur.
How can we do this without having a thorough understanding of the lives lead by our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, as well as other family members of past generations? Most parents, often with the best of intentions, try to protect their children from trans-generational family trauma or misfortune by keeping it a secret or changing the story a lot or a little. Other times, parents simply can’t share what they don’t know themselves. And in some cases, such as with closed adoption, there is an absence of a narrative. This approach brings all that is “unknown” back into the family. Once included, trauma that has been passed down can be worked with and healed in the generation in which it occurred, allowing love to flow more freely.
Usually done in groups, we re-create for the client a living model of the people or family members and circumstances in which he is having difficulties. We use other participants to represent past and present family members. These representatives begin to express the thoughts, feelings, and sensations of the original family members, exposing dysfunctional family patterns and entanglements. The representatives of the family system, with some interventions by the facilitator including helpful movements and thoughtfully chosen words, move and shift, and eventually reorganize back into a more balanced, natural, and complete system.
This work can also be done in individual sessions, using symbols to represent the people and circumstances in the client’s life. What also gets represented on occasion might be something like an illness, or a country that was left in a hurry due to war or famine, or loss of money or property.
Family Constellation Work is based on five precepts:
1) Your difficulties did not necessarily start with you or your immediate family.
2) In order for resolution to happen, the solutions must be found with the representatives of the people and in the time that the original wounding occurred, even if these people are deceased.
3) We actually do have access to past generations through a process of “constellating”, bringing forth that which we actually do not consciously know about our families by using representatives.
4) Everything and everyone is included, including the “disowned” people and situations.
5) Healing traumas and wounds of prior generations has a liberating and healing effect on those of us living now.
In other words, as a defensive strategy for survival, every family, consciously or unconsciously, tries to find a way of “organizing” all that is known about their family. We tend to create a narrative, often with plenty of untruths and holes in it, that then gets passed down through the generations. Family Constellation Work breaks down this “organization” or known narrative, opens into chaos by constellating what is unknown, before coming out the other side to re-organization in an inclusive, whole narrative.
We can then stop carrying the traumas and burdens of our past generations, allowing loving kindness to flow more freely again.
“I am no longer imprisoned by my family’s
Barbara’s loving and skillful presence as a Family Constellation coach has changed my life! Guided by Barbara’s expertise and warm presence, I saw the powerful influence of past generations in my present life. I am no longer imprisoned by my family’s historical inheritance. I am free from the trauma, loss and wounds of my ancestors. I walk forward freely with a deeper understanding of my constellation family; loving all who came before me while releasing them and old patterns from my present life. If you feel stuck in your family story, Constellation work with Barbara is an amazing and necessary gift you can give yourself and future generations.
Marriage and Family Therapist
“We might think of ourselves as each like a created geography, a confluence of inherited flows. Each one of us has a unique signature, inherited from our ancestors, our landscape, our language, and beneath it a half-hidden geology of existence: memories, hurts, triumphs, and stories in our lineage that have not yet been fully told…”