FAMILY CONSTELLATIONS – LIVING CHANGE WITH VIRGINIA SATIR An overview looking at marketing strategies and definitions used to introduce

family constellations to a worldwide status quo. “After centuries of separation and antagonism, psychology and religion are at long last entering into a meaningful dialogue. Whereas psychology is a science that addresses mental, emotional, somatic and relational dynamics, spirituality illuminates the inherent mystery of life itself. Each approach provides a perspective that completes the other. We need to listen to this shared conversation, for it affords new understandings to heal and to advance our psychological and spiritual development. A strengthened dialogue, even a communion, between psychology and religion is needed. ….there is a great need for this new paradigm of psychospirituality. 1. Sharon Mijares The following reflections in this writing have evolved out of personal observations of how family constellations has been presented and marketed to the wider worldwide community. The main focus of contention is upon statements used to describe the work, provided in Wikipedia and similar write-ups and referrals used by various FC members. Firstly this essay is a critique of how the name of Bert Hellinger has been placed last on those historical referrals - Wikipedia – up until Jan 2012 and ISCA webpage - that indicate the origins of the work. Secondly it is to highlight the attempted linkages and related context that tries to align the work of family constellation to past concepts and persons of psychiatry, science and mathematics in the left field. Thirdly, it is the intention of these reflections to shed light upon hidden dynamics that may contribute to these movements and question the internal motives for doing so. It is not the intention of these writings to enter into any argument or proof of point of view. These personal reflections are best described as shared conversation of meaningful dialogue that seeks communion for “new understandings to heal and to advance our psychological and spiritual development.” Sharon Mijares Psychospirituality – I like this word as it has dual meaning and is full of polarity that makes it holistic. It is representative of not only the effect psychology has had on spirituality for decades but it holds potential for future growth of human consciousness too. Psychospirituality is a great word to describe humankind’s psychological growth up until now. Psychology itself has made a major contribution to the turning of human spirit into psycho! On the flip side it offers great opportunity for transformation of mind, making way for restoration and communion of psyche and soul. James Hillman had much to say about these things in his many writings on Psyche and Soul. “Hillman has been critical of the 20th century’s psychologies (e.g., biological psychology, behaviorism, cognitive psychology) that have adopted a natural scientific 1

philosophy and praxis. Main criticisms include that they are reductive, materialistic, and literal; they are psychologies without psyche, without soul. Accordingly, Hillman’s work has been an attempt to restore psyche to what he believes to be "its proper place" in psychology. Hillman sees the soul at work in imagination, fantasy, myth and metaphor. He also sees soul revealed in psychopathology, in the symptoms of psychological disorders. Psyche-pathos-logos is the “speech of the suffering soul” or the soul’s suffering of meaning. A great portion of Hillman’s thought attempts to attend to the speech of the soul as it is revealed via images and fantasies.” 2. Wikipedia Sharon Mijares in the quote above uses the word religion, I would like to replace this word with spirituality and say that religion also has been equally effective in creating a psycho human spirit. An ill at ease spirit that is collectively suffering the effects of institutionalized authorities that subjugate individual self determination/realization and do little to promote individual autonomy and self governance, when it comes to the spiritual. Whilst there is a growing awareness and acceptance of these things, there is little awareness of how to transform, improve or change them. Perhaps it is enough to acknowledge exactly what is as it is and be motivated to change it. Such an acknowledgement might also be capable of the growing awareness that there exists something very valuable in all of this. For example, the placing of Bert Hellinger’s name as last on the list of famous founders of the work indicates subjugation of some sort. Why has this happened? It was documented with full knowledge of the value of precedence in the right order of things. What was the underlying motive? Was it an effort to commune or dialogue with late status quo? Did it attempt to say “we are the same as you; look we acknowledge all that you respect and relate to”….and “we’ll just put Bert at the end so it doesn’t threaten you”. Is this why many in the FC field are presently feeling the effects of a compromised self respect and integrity both personally and as a group? What is the effect of that? The most important effect is that it anchors further embodiment of authenticity, truth and will to power in those courageous enough to be effected. Recent comments on Constellation talk seem to be experiencing a shared will to connect to status quo in a new way, a whole way, and an uncompromised way. A way that looks at and embraces individual value held in every small move made within the FC field, even when it at first appears foreign. VIRGINIA SATIR’S MODEL OF CHANGE – THE FOREIGN ELEMENT That something valuable is what Virginia Satir in her model of change would call an inner foreign element: foreign, simply because it remains separate and unaware i.e. alien. There is a present common element within and without FC that is being experienced collectively and personally. It is an element full of potential to transform the pollutant effects of past psychology into luminous psyche and soul; an element that Bert Hellinger refers to as the “spirit-mind”. Perhaps this is what Sharon Mijares alludes to in her quote above when she mentions psychospitituality: -a spirit mind that is, a purified, unpolluted, emerging psychospirituality. After all, the movements of the spirit mind are a communion between mind and spirit, a shared conversation and meaningful dialogue from spirit to the mind. The new paradigm is not coming, it is here. It is a living paradigm if there is such a thing; a living evolving science of


love and life that has little to do with traditional psychology and the workings of mind and body itself. Defining family constellations has been a challenge for most involved in this practice over the years. By many in the field it has been presented as a particular form of therapy that has in some way evolved out of psychotherapy and various paradigms of psychology; and the various works of psychologists, scientists and even mathematicians. Psychiatrists who have played with ideas of phenomenology and systems theory and practice have also been linked to it. It is not the object of this essay to argue, prove or disprove these postulated connections to FC. It is however, the intention of this writing, to bring attention to the direction in which FC, generally, has been moving in its efforts to mainstream FC’s to the wider community. DOES CONNECTING FAMILY CONSTELLATION WORK TO PAST PARIDIGAMS AND PERSONS PIONEERING PSYCHIATRY SERVE TO MOVE THE WORK FORWARD? Will to power is the driving force behind all evolutionary process and it is also destined to be instrumental in driving FC systemic leadership and others to mainstream the work. Without it human potential can action nothing and nothing is wrong with this. However it is worth observing the direction this will to power is moving in. It appears to move towards mainly Science, psychology and economy? All left brain sections of society that have actualized the mind and remain in the logical mind. It is not so difficult to observe that the greatest source of collective actualization of power and autonomy in the world is dominated by such groups at the cost of the wider community. It is only natural that FC leadership should seek equal recognition and existential weight within these already established fields. In fact it is an essential and important effort or duty of care, by FC workers everywhere, to establish this in order to preserve balance and harmony in an otherwise ailing planet. Returning to the works of Virginia Satir’s model for change it is obvious that FC is a foreign element itself within a wider field of an ailing status quo. I think it would be safe to assume that most in the FC family are inspired by a desire to change the status quo of stakeholders in the common marketplace of competing psychology.

“How such desires are substantiated by which stakeholder how, will greatly affect a systems reaction to a foreign element….”
3. Virginia Satir How has the status quo reacted to family constellations, and how have those involved in FC practice (particularly leadership), reacted to the foreign element of “spiritmind?

“In the case of an unwanted, unexpected or mandated change the people within the organization (or other system) may try a number of strategies to neutralize the impact of this alien element. The system may reject and expel the foreign element; members may ignore it or use delaying tactics; they may try to encapsulate the foreign element

within the ‘normal’ ways of handling things to make it part of the current state; or they may try to find a scapegoat to attack or blame.”
4. Virginia Satir. Does this sound like a familiar story? It is a living reality within the worldwide constellation family. What happened when the foreign element of “spirit-mind” was introduced to the group? All of the tactics above were and are still being employed by many within the field. Aren’t attempts to link family constellation to past achievements of psychology an attempt “to encapsulate the foreign element within the ‘normal’ ways of handling things to make it part of the current state.”? Trouble is, “normal” is not working simply because it does not exist. In fact any attempt to neutralize the impact of this alien element of spirit mind is destined to remain a great source of tension and dissention inside and outside the FC field; simply because something is missing: spirit is missing. That same neutralization is what filters the dynamism (spirit) out of FC, co-creating an internal status quo that remains static within the boundaries of imitation and agreement it try’s to adhere to. When attempts to encapsulate the foreign element within the “normal” are made, movement engages in self limiting and self-defeating behaviour that postpones and prevents change. The very effort to impress or take power from wider “normal” fields of power, attract a similar response from the “normal” system it aspires to be part of. Simply because to encapsulate remains an attempt to protect, control or make smaller, so as it may fit, or be non- threatening or prove safe. There is no gaining of weight or strength in that. Are we not, by doing this, perpetrating a “one size fits all” praxis that imitates the very systems that we want to enter and change? What really needs to change here? Is this a creative or transformative direction to follow? Do we need to change ourselves to be more inclusive of spirits reality, to live authoritatively, authentically; would this give the FC field the existential weight and strength it needs to change the status quo? What would happen if we included spirit wholly and soully in our descriptions and introductions to the work instead of trying to hide it? What would happen if we as a worldwide group allowed it to guide us instead of trying to reduce it to fit the status quo? There is an Eastern axiom that says “physician heal thyself first;” an axiom that has been missing from Western psychological practice since its inception. Eastern medicine and healing arts have however been guided by this for thousands of years. Meditation, transformation, self awareness and actualization have been the East’s primary focus. This is the language of spirit. These are by the way the feminine principles involved in human growth. Dropping the mind, transcending the mind, bypassing it altogether has been a part of this axiom. Western psychology, on the other hand is a continuing entanglement with mind itself, following a linear line of masculine principles involved in human potential exploration. Psychology can reorder, organize, and balance body mind into some sort of normality of body mind that may or may not enhance existential homeostasis. The problem is that even if the body/mind achieves a certain healthy balance, “will to power” in the individual will seek the spiritual, for existential homeostasis draws it. Psychology cannot help here, neither can the mind; death of mind is needed. Psychology itself needs death. Transformation is about life and death, there is no avoiding it and yet it seems we 4

continue to avoid using such words and design public information’s and introductions to the work coated in psychological jargon that avoid the truth and the pathways to spirituality. When the foreign element of change in a system is spirit-mind, any attempt to make it fit, be normal or smaller than it is, is impossible. Any attempt to align or associate FC with any psycho biological (body/mind) therapeutic practice, delays and suspends the inherent transformative potential of the work. These are the very basic reasons why psychiatry itself has failed, and as a group we choose to follow this? Critical psychology, radical psychology, analytical, behavioural, archetypical, biological, cognitive and any other type of psychology related to past have failed because they are not yet inclusive of spirit. They have not yet found a way into wholeness, into unity and into existence itself. Their focus has been the mind, language, interpretation; their focus has been the body/mind. The process is one of mind trying to solve the mind. It is also unrealistic to anticipate that the fields of late status quo involving psychology and science will rise to meet spirit. It is a simple systemic understanding that the lower is unable to penetrate the higher and the smaller unable to contain the bigger. The higher and the bigger will have to penetrate the lower and have the strength and capacity to contain/consume the small. Movements of will to power are governed by existential weight and transformative practice. For example, the energy of late status quo is the energy that births something new. It can be drawn into a new field, it can merge, commune and dialogue with it. In doing so it becomes a part of. However the direction of this movement is the most important transformative element. Hence I question the present direction of these movements in the FC field. It is always a question of how much strength, how much earth magnetism (weight) and how deeply connected to existence or life the “new” is. This strength takes root in individual authenticity and awareness. The job is easier when the late status quo is sitting in extreme discomfort of critical mass looking for emergence to relieve discomfort. I would say FC’s future is looking very bright and its work is getting easier by the day. It is as always a question of direction and pattern interruption.

“The transforming idea is the out-of-the-box idea that brings a system out of chaos (sometimes only for a short while;-. A transforming idea is like an “aha Erlebnis, inspiration, a sudden awareness of and understanding of new possibilities. Now that we have keys, what remains is finding the doors and actualizing this transformation.”
5. Virginia Satir The transforming idea is transformation itself; this is the essence of spiritmind.

“PRACTICE AND INTEGRATION.” “Entering the practice stage, the system begins to try out new possibilities.”


“And with time, by the system practicing new ways of doing things, some effects begin to appear in substance.”
6. Virginia Satir

REFERENCES 1. Sharon Mijares – Modern Psychology and Ancient Wisdom: Psychological Healing Practices From The Worlds Religious Traditions. Published 2003 The Haworth press 10 Alice St. Binghampton, NY 2. 3,4,5,6 Wikipedia on Psyche and Soul – James Hillman Virginia Satir – Satir change model