Issue 29, January 2017
Barbara Morgan - Editorial
Sami Storch - Constellations in the State Court, Brazil
In the Spotlight
Diana Douglas - In Conversation with Bence Ganti
Research & Development
Sarah Peyton- Bernried Talk No. 4, Microchimerism:Ghost in the Constellations Realm?
Jeffrey Rich - Shamanic Healing Applications of Systemic and Family Constellations
John Waite - Celebrating Diversity in the Context of Family Constellations: a focus on men
Leslie Nipps - Some Thoughts on the Phenomenological method
Sneh Victoria Schnabel - Quite by Surprise... Learning how to flow with not-knowing
Ty Francis - The Stance of a Constellator: How to make interventions that truly help
Constellations & Rituals
David Presswell - Case Study from a workshop run by Judith Hemming
Bill Mannle - Touching the Lives of Adolescents with Constellations & Ritual
Anngwyn St. Just - Child of War
Anngwyn St. Just & Karl-Heinz Rauscher - Men, Women & Peace: A Constellation Event
Reviews - An Exhibition
Jen Altman - The Lost Sister: an exhibition by Melanie Sims
Reports on Conferences & Intensives
Various Contributors - 'Constellating Future', ISCA Gathering 21st - 25th October 2016, Zagreb, Croatia
Various Contributors - In Memory of Donald Pogue
Various Contributors - In Memory of Michael Blumenstein
Jamie Hasenfuss - Voices
Issue 29, January 2017
Family Constellations by Bert Hellinger revolutionise the Brazilian Justice System
A court judge from the State of Bahia is a pioneer in the use of Family Constellation in the judiciary. He has achieved very high conciliation rates – almost 100%. He accomplished this using Bert Hellinger’s principles and the techniques of Family Constellations for conflict resolution in court. Mr. Storch was the prize winner of the Brazilian justice committee in 2014. He was awarded for his work and inclusion
of the systemic laws in his activities as a judge.
The following is an excerpt from Storch’s presentation during the International Hellinger Days in Bad Reichenhall, Germany in November 2015.
“Mr. Storch, how did you get the idea of including Family Constellation in your daily work?”
“I had particular difficulties with my work in the family sector. The Brazilian legal system regarding a couple in conflict operates in the following way: Each party sits on one side of a table, facing each other, with their attorney attempting to defeat the other. This is actually a system which promotes conflict. It is through such disputes that lawyers make money. The greatest victims of such a system are the children of the couples. The couple never reach the point of divorce, because the conflicts deepen and become increasingly fierce during the process, with both parties being asked to produce witnesses in order to testify against the former partner and other witnesses. Even the children themselves are asked to testify against one of the parents……
It was during my time as a lawyer that I first came across Family Constellations. I learnt about the Orders of Love through Bert Hellinger and realised that this could help in conflict resolution in the courts of Bahia – one of the poorest and most precarious federal states in Brazil. Currently the congestion rate in this state is even above average for them.
For a while, I worked in a very small court in the countryside. The working conditions there were very poor. I had only a few assistants and very little support for the preparation of trials, so it was a lot of work.
During this period, I participated in a Training Camp with Bert and Sophie Hellinger and asked Bert:
“How can I decrease the burden on my shoulders?” I felt this great weight on me and was unable to deal with it. Bert said: “All these processes sitting on the shelves will resolve themselves.” This message had a profound effect on me. During my training in Family Constellations I used any opportunity I had to ask how I could work with these trials. The most important lesson I learnt from Bert and Sophie was NOT to judge. I felt how important it was for me to be able to adopt this ‘non-judgemental’ posture in order to be able to solve conflicts.
When judges wish to help people, they need to be able to adopt the same posture as a family constellator. A lawyer can form an opinion, because he’s on the client’s side. A judge cannot do so – his aim is to reach a peaceful resolution. So I began to experiment with what I had learned and internalised: first I invited both parties connected to
the respective case. I started with very simple exercises. For example, I offered them an image: to each imagine their own parents standing behind them and the other person’s parents behind them. After this, I invited them to talk to each other about how it felt seeing the parents standing there and realising that everyone is connected to their own system of ancestors. This had an immediate effect.
Whenever I personally felt under pressure, I visualised the State standing behind me, with me acting as a representative. Then I felt strengthened to handle the difficulties, to look at the people with more respect and to receive more respect as well. This kind of approach is particularly necessary these days within the Brazilian justice system, because there is so little support and structure offered by the state for overcoming the many conflicts. The Brazilian judicial system is even favouring new forms of conflict resolution today.
In the Spotlight
Diana Douglas in conversation with Bence Ganti
Diana: I feel your trust of the system itself to come into balance. A question though: I am wondering how much you perceive a constellation to be the projection of the facilitator’s mind?
Bence: I think in the constellation so many things happen in so short a time in so many people (the participants) that it simply cannot be the projection of one person (the facilitator’s) mind. If the facilitator uses a lot of sentences that he/she asks the participants to say out loud, there is a greater chance for projection. In those cases it is either well-intuited content of the participant or the field, or a standard release sentence for a standard situation or it might be also the facilitator’s belief projected on to the participant. If the facilitator is well trained in attunement (noticing the subtle yes and no of the other’s body language and flowing with that) then even if it is a projection, he/she can let it go if the client’s inner self doesn’t accept it.
Diana: Earlier you said: We set up what is in the field and let it re-balance itself. The word ‘field’ is now coming into common usage, as if it’s the latest buzz word.
Diana: For you, does ‘field’ have a particular meaning?
Bence: In my meditation experience, if my mind completely stops, and sometimes it does, then there is a deep strong presence and silence. There is no meaning-making, no thoughts, no images. At this moment powerful processes are breaking into the mind. It might be a vision, or one clear thought. This thought is stronger than my own thoughts or visual images. It is transpersonal. When we relax the mind completely, then we are in this dense, empty, pregnant space. That is the field.
The metaphor of the mind of the field is God’s Mind. The new buzz word ‘field’ is a replacement for ‘God’. In post-modern consciousness we do not think of God as having a concrete form, but rather as this creating field that creates everything; in other words, the Creator.
Diana: Let’s talk about conscious awareness…
Bence: In vipassana, by which I mean pure self-observation, the essence of meditation, at the end of the day it is you and your conscious awareness sitting there. You are simply observing whatever is already there, arising and dissolving. Awareness goes through stages. When you start observing, you can feel how you are, but you are stuck and it can’t yet dissolve. This is an initial, neutral, but not yet transpersonal awareness. If the neutral awareness expands, there is a subtle breakthrough and things start to dissolve very quickly. As awareness and equanimity strengthen, things begin to arise and dissolve in a fluid way and then the inner flow starts.
The outer flow is the same, but it happens with groups in the ‘we-space’. When we dissolve the structures, the roles, the positions of people in a group, things loosen up and people gradually get into flow. The content of the conscious and unconscious mind throws or ‘vomits’ itself out right into the field of your awareness, until all this content runs its course. Then individual and collective consciousness come into balance.
Men, Women and Peace: Constellation Event
Congress for Systemic Intelligence – 20-22 May 2016, Mexico City
Anngwyn St. Just & Dr. Med.Karl-Heinz Rauscher
Women pushing Peace away from Men
With all of these preliminary elements now identified, some of our participants began to experience strong reactions, especially with Woman pushing Peace away from Man. This movement proved surprising in a male-dominated, patriarchal world and dismayed many of the women present. As one woman later expressed: “I felt a deep pain within my soul. It was very painful to acknowledge my own violence, that violence born many years ago, before my existence, where Pre-Colombian Americans were unable to protect their women and children… this violence within which women had to exclude men in order to take care of themselves.”
We see this pattern throughout Latin American history, from earliest Pre-Colombian times when tribal warfare and slavery took men away from their families, later compounded by humiliating Colonial abuses of all ages and genders, the nightmare cruelty of the Inquisition, as well as an ongoing series of regional conflicts which continue to this day. While many men lost their lives, many survivors also lost their dignity, as well as the trust of their abandoned and often violated women and children.
Women who have been traumatised for generations in this way, seem unable to engage wholeheartedly in a relationship with a man. They believe the man will anyway go to war again, a war which he cannot win, where he will either die or return as a broken, traumatised individual and they will have to take care of him like a child. Women have had to be the strong ones and can no longer rely on the strength of men. With this decline of respect, men can no longer find peace in their union with women. This rage of women, caused by the collective frustrations of the past, stands in the way of a peaceful fulfilment.
While it is not so surprising that this intensely powerful feminine rage would manifest in a constellation in Latin America, this phenomenon can be seen in many places throughout the world where war and other conflicts have resulted in generations of men who cannot be relied upon to survive and protect. In Germany as well, it would not be surprising if the traumas of the last two World Wars continued to play a role in the relationships between women and men. German women may not only be disappointed that their men were not able to protect them from the bombs of the Allies and from thousands of rapes, psychological damage and massive death tolls, but also that their men brought this suffering to their wives and children by previously pouring exactly the same suffering a million times over on to the people of neighbouring countries.
What respect can women have for men who have forgotten the basic rules of humanity and are too weak to follow their inner conscience?
Quite by Surprise…
Learning how to flow with not-knowing
Sneh Victoria Schnabel
In Germany, when constellation work started to experience a tremendous momentum, we early facilitators – being thoroughly in awe of the work and of Bert Hellinger himself –jumped on every explanation he offered and every ‘rule’ he stated, and reproduced it into our work – most of the time word-for-word. In no time at all, we had all accumulated an impressive set of rules. They helped when we were afraid and did not trust our own intuition.
There is, however, one event in my early career, which stands out as a complete rule-breaker:
A constellation was at a rather sticky point, where many dead people (uncles and aunts of the client who had died as children) were standing next to each other, so the client could bow before them, giving them a place in the family and in his heart.
However, the picture was frozen and no bowing down or coaxing from my side could do anything about it. This was a nightmare for a young facilitator like me: once the dead are honoured, aren’t they supposed to feel compelled to then bless the client?
One other ‘rule’ we had all learnt from Bert was: if nothing moves, stop the constellation! But I failed to use even this ‘bail out’ – feeling as stuck and frozen as the constellation itself.
Suddenly a participant got up from her chair in the circle and walked straight through the centre of the constellation to the other side of the room, in order to get her water bottle.
‘Rule Number One’ (held in my heart-of-hearts): the constellation space is sacred, and you as a participant sitting on a chair in the circle should never, ever walk through this holy space unasked!
While I stood speechless – trying to grab on to some of the sentences that tumbled through my mind – I saw from the corner of my eye that the frozen picture had started to move! That gave me the idea to ask the ‘trespasser’ to do the walk again, but this time very slowly. And as she was doing her walk again – this time consciously – one of the representatives for the dead said, “She was missing!” All others agreed, seemingly relieved. It turned out to be the mother of them all, the client’s grandmother, whose sorrow and agony over the loss of so many of her children had never been truly acknowledged. When she was finally seen in her pain and loss, and the client bowed to her deeply, the row of her dead children became joyous and were ready to give their blessings.
What I had learned was:
- ‘Rules’ can get in the way of the solution
- Surprise happenings help the solution to occur
- Better than stopping a constellation is to stop the rule, and
- Important roles – if forgotten – will show up anyway.
This taught me to keep my eyes not only on the constellation in the centre, but also on the whole group, seeing the people in the circle and their reactions as part of the process. In the months that followed, I started to include not only the people in the circle, but also what happened through the windows; around the building; in the roads outside; in the city itself; the country; the whole world…