The Philosophy Behind Family Constellation Therapy
There are a variety of factors in our lives that can create obstacles for us or predispose us to particular problems such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. When speaking with clients about drug addiction and particular behaviors or traumas, it’s common to hear about genetic inheritance and learned behaviors that run in families. Even if there’s not someone in our immediate family that struggles with addiction, if we follow the thread of family connections through the generations, we often find that the stem of the problem began in behaviors from years ago.
Origin of Family Constellation Therapy
Family Constellation Therapy originates from the teachings of a German therapist and missionary, Bert Hellinger. Hellinger found that what dictates those feelings, traumas, and behaviors come from deep rooted connections within our family, whether immediate or farther back in our history. In addiction treatment, this critical assembling means we’re not alone in our struggles, as others have had similar experiences. At Enlightened Solutions, we don’t remove responsibility for your addiction, but we do realize that it may have roots that affected your emotional development unknowingly. As we identify having a spiritual connections to others in our family that may be toxic or damaging, we recognize that in truly healing, we have to discover the origin of the problem to understand how it affects us today.
How is Family Constellation Therapy Practiced?
In therapy at Enlightened Solutions, we have a specially trained Family Constellation therapist that conducts group treatments implementing the idea of family connection. We are often emotionally weighted down by something internal, and while some folks can pinpoint that specific family dynamic and situation, others need to explore their relationships further to unearth the root of their troubles. Family Constellation Therapy helps us to feel the energy of these family connections in a group setting. These groups are larger, so that the client participating in this treatment can trust their instinct and choose “stand-ins” from those present to represent specific family members.
At the center of the room, a circle of these surrogates is created, which we call a family constellation. In this constellation, the stand-in representatives are asked to listen to the family history or short description of the issue at hand; they are then directed to describe the energy they feel or anything that comes to mind about the connection between the family member they represent and the focal family member. Group members don’t know each other or participants’ family background until that moment in treatment, so every perspective is fresh and unbiased. No actual family is present, which removes any stresses related to sharing or working out sensitive issues concerning those particular family members.
Total Mind, Body, Spirit Healing
During these Family Constellation Therapy group sessions, we talk through your concerns and feelings with these stand-in members; you may feel layers of stress and burden lift from your chest. Whether its emerging through the origins of your need to use, or your predisposition to depression, whatever you’re trying to unpack is a form of complete healing. This exploration of human emotion is therapeutic because we’re allowed to explore everything we feel and the burdens we’ve carried from generations of family sadness, secrets, and miscommunication. Not only that, but when we focus on one particular family constellation, each member can begin to feel this total body healing, and through the experiences and insights of others, they will understand more about themselves and their own family constellation.
In these sessions, we are also allowed to exercise one of the 12 step philosophies, which states that we need to be of service to others – another healing mechanism in itself, as we maintain full engagement in our practice. When we feel these intimate connections with other souls, we feel grounded and open to love, wellness, and emotional cleansing. We can let go of the heaviness surrounding our substance abuse and the distress that comes with it. We teach the importance of communication in addiction treatment, something that we lose as we isolate and allow substances to consume our mind. We learn to connect by opening our hearts, baring our souls, and expressing our internal struggle with others in comparable situations. Communication is a huge step in recovery, healing from the inside out and letting go of what no longer serves us.