Where the we dominates the me. Where collectivity overpowers individuality; and where the spirit of the nation, the tribe, the family or the ancestors seem to decide over our fate. In this article we argue that Hellingers work thanks part of its succes to how it integrates some elements of primordial relegious healing practices. By making these latter aspects more visable, we hope to add something to an ecological application of some of the ingredients of Hellingers work within NLP.
Hellinger and his colleques work with individual clients within large groups. After briefly exploring the clients family composition and history, the client is asked to make a spacial representation of his family: Consisting of other groupmembers, that represent life, death, stillborn or even aborted relatives. This living sculpture is called a family constellation. The client is the one who chooses the groupmembers to be used as representatives and he is also the one that by just following his intuition puts them on the right locations.
A family constellation is completed when the client also puts a representative for himself in place. After the constellation is ready, the client is aked to sit down and observe everything from third perceptual position. The therapist may move them in any direction in every sequence.
In many cases the therapist motivates the client and the stand-ins, to repeat particular sentences or to take symbolic postures that may go as far as hugging and embracing. These prediscribed verbal and nonverbal ritual acts are aimed at clarifying disorlerly relationships and to counteract systemic entanglements. In the end the client exchanges places with his own representative in order to experience the solution from within: From first perceptual position. This is where the therapeutic session usually ends. In Anchor point , NLP-world and in MultiMind we have modelled some fundamental patterns in family constellation therapy.
In these articles, it was the important role of the submodality location that was emphasized. Location being the critical submodality in most peoples social experience, is with no doupt the major opperator in family constellation therapy. Our next step is to explore some of the more exotic qualities in Hellingers work. We have come to believe that its therapeutic impact is not fully accounted for by its ability to change a clients family representations.
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But family constellation therapy is a kind of magic: Magic defined as the combination of effectivity and incomprehensability Strooykan, Apart from therapeutic effectiveness, there is a world of difference between the way in which the average NLP-er changes the submodalities of his clients family and in the way Hellinger carries out this task. So our next question is: What other psychological phenomena provide family constellation therapy with so mutch attraction? Where did this sudden emotion, that made everyone shiver, come from?
Or did she project her own family situation on that of the client? Or was she indeed reacting to information that reached her from the client by means of unknown and mysterious channels? Anyway, Hellingers therapy has a stong emotional impact on people. Not only the client, but also the representatives and the audiance experience strong feelings.
These emotions often come by surprise and are used to effectively guide the therapists work. This, together with their incomprehensable nature creates magic. A representative is seen as a sort of an emotional antennea. Here we find magic again: Incomprehensability combined with effectiveness. Other sorts of emotions are experienced when a session comes to its conclusion.
These verbalizations are a kind of formalized social interactions on a metacommunicative level. They are aimed at clarifying and reorganizing the disturbed relationships involved: To turn disorder into order. Reconsiliation and showing respect may be the direct meaning of many of these ritual interactions. In this concluding stage of family constellation therapy, people may experience very powerfull healing emotions, that arise from things like regaining contact with lost sons, or from ambracing the representattives of forsaken still born babies, or from mourning about uncles that were not mournded about enough.
I will live for you. Part of these emotions are triggered by the staged human drama; such scenes will also raise strong sentiments in a theatre or a movie. Hellingers method elicits strong primary social emotions and the issues that are worked at always deal with the very basics of the human condition: life, death, separation and love. Political and religious leaders all over the globe know that collectively felt emotions create strong bonding.
Emotionality experienced in groups is something many people do value as a quality in itself. For instance, collective mourning is appriciated in most cultures, as is euphoria in groups: it is called party! The socio-emotional quality found in family constellation therapy has a similar attraction as encounter groups, sensetivety trainings and all kinds of relegious cults. And part of its attractiveness must be attributed to this quality of raising collective emotionality. And besides these social aspects; many people still regard negative emotion as a proof of the effectiveness of therapy.
Although NLP has put this under debate for years, it is still a popular view, that the strong expression of painfull emotions means good therapy. Most NLP-ers believe that disphoric emotions show where resources are needed. And that intense negative emotions do motivate clients to do mutch work to gain better feelings; a tendency that adds a strong placebo effect to psychotherapy. But still, there is little reason to believe that the intensity and amount of emotional discharge as such, do correlate with therapeutic effectiveness. Otherwise we must consider war and disaster to be the best forms of therapy!
But the expression of love problably does have a healing power of itself. And it is this emotion of love we see often at work within family constellation therapy. It stems from the Winti Voodoo like religion that is practiced widely in the Netherlands among people from Surinamse origin. When a Surinamese man has an extramarital affair, and this comes to surface, he or other family members may consult a lukuman: A Winti divinator. This lukuman may throw an oracle to see what evil spirit is posessing the man that caused him to be untrue.
Most often, this is said to be the spirit of the woman with whom this man had the affair. Next, the man will be brought to a bonuman, a priest. This priest will execute some rituals geared towards exosizing this evil Kroi spirit. As soon as this is done, the man is free again. He will rejoin his family, and all will celebrate his liberation from evil.
And after that, no hard feelings of any kind will disturb the mariage; because the man was defined as the innocent victim of an overpowering spirit. Now if you compare this approach to that of a family constellation therapists, you will notice a striking resemblance in structure. This means that unconscious identifications with dead relatives may cause one to seek other lovers.
And by clarifying this systemic entanglement with the aid of a family constellation ritual, this problem can be solved. But instead of an evil forreign spirit as in the Winti, in family constellation therapy the client is regarded to be infested by a relative. But again the client is only a victim. Here pragmatism is confronted by idealism. Akstein had studied religious and spiritistic cults in Brazil, and extracted a new therapeutic method from their rituals, in which trance dancing was the central activity. From the early eighties on, Jaap Hollander had several inspiring ecounters with David Akstein.
See NLP World november Akstein had shown us the way when he explored patterns in the Umbandarituals, that could be transferred to a more regular-western therapy setting. Trance that results from prolongued rithmic dancing is applied as healing method in almost all cultures except our own.
But when we use it with our Western clients it proves to be as effective as it is in Africa, Bali, Haiti or Brazil. It was only abolished by psychotherapists becouse it seemed to be a pegan non Christian, non rational method. But this time we will work the other way around. We will explore a Western method -Family constellation therapy- and explore it for premordial magic and religious elements. The client puts the representatives of his family members on the floor, in a pattern according to his inner representation of the family ties. And just like a priest who reads an oracle of bones, stones or shells, he is the one who makes the interpretation.
The therapist only explanes part of the meaning of the constellation to the client. It is important to take note of the fact, that oracles are the most popular form of psychotherapy in the world. In many cultures an oracle is the first thing to consult in times of trouble. In Brazil, for instance, where one of us Hollander studied the rituals of Candomble, people who suffer from problems, will first see a priestess Mae de Santos who will usually throw the oracle of the Buzios for them.
This consists of a number of large cauri shells which are cast in a basket. From the shell constellation the priestess then reads which God or which spirit is angry and what sacrifices should be made to appease him or her. Two points are of interest in relationship to family constellation therapy.
Secondly, the rituals used to appease the Gods often involve the whole family and part of the neighbouthood. And even the character of the spirit that haunts the client may be quite systemic in nature. Or an aging neightbor to whom the client has been unkind. One of us Derks was corresponding with a Malawian herbalist and witchdoctor from Mulanje. We wrote each other letters in which we explained our treatment methods. On 24th februari doktor Kavalo wrote me:. Then I ask him his problem physically, or consult my oracle as he wishes. My oracle is nothing other than a bottle filled with charmed stones.
Thus I start mentioning each and every disease at a particular time, at the same time shaking it. When the sound from the bottle still continues then that is not the appropriate disease the client is suffering from, and vice versa. Then I take another bottle of the same sort in order to prove if both bottles reach an equilibrium.
Before I give the right treatment, I once again consult my oracle to know if at all I can cure that disease. Then I give instructions on how to use the herb, otherwise it can be lethal. For most diseases the standard dose is 3 times a day. The entire operation takes about 15 minutes.
After being cured the client comes again for a ceremony to honour the burrying of the used-up herb. If not cured than I advice him to visit the hospital. This is the short summary of the treatment procedure. An oracle has several components to it. This can be any God, spirit or supernatural force. Kavalo was gifted to be a witchdocter: It was his fathers spirit who came to give it to him in a dream. All biological wisdom that govern the laws of family ties seem to speak to Hellingers by way of the soul.
An other component of an oracle is its interpretation. Some oracles are easy to interpret, and do not involve much activity from the divinator. The I-ching comes with a book of interpretations and the original West African Ifa-oracles priests knew thousands of verses of interpertational poetry.
Kavalo, just like many kinesiologist who apply a muscle test, uses series of yes or no checks. In Hellingers case he has to be in good contact with his soul to see what is up. Visual accessing cues suggest that the soul shows Hellinger images to help him to interpret a family constellation.
Throwing shells is pure a matter of luck and not influenced directly by the patient or the divinator. Chance governs both the I Ching and the Tarot -in these types of oracles the priest may upgrade its authority by the use of various incomprehensable explanations or may include irrational magical acts. Reporting requirements for Victorian public mental health services and an overview of government-funded mental health research. A hard copy of a publication can be ordered online by filling out this form - we do not ship outside of Australia.
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Create Shared Meaning: Rituals for the Family
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People receiving palliative care can experience heightened emotions and may value the opportunity to express their identity and culture and to practise their spiritual and religious rituals. In addition to physical symptoms, people who are at a palliative stage often experience emotional symptoms, such as anxiety, loneliness, depression and anger, which are all associated with grief.
Anxiety can include feelings of apprehension, fear and dread, which can lead to nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath and diarrhoea. Some people may feel alone even when in the company of others. Depression may result in a loss of pleasure or interest in things around them. Depressed people may feel hopeless or helpless and become isolated from those around them.
Anger can affect the way people talk, act and accept their treatment and it is a common reaction to a life-threatening illness. The following are some communication strategies we can use to help older people and their families in palliative care who are experiencing emotional symptoms:. It is important to be aware of any religious or spiritual beliefs or rituals a person may have during their palliative care and after death.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aboriginal people can have different and unique languages, customs, beliefs, healing practices and cultural practices depending on what community they are from. For many Aboriginal people, the topic of death and dying is a very sensitive area. However, you cannot generalise across all Aboriginal communities in relation to spiritual values and beliefs. It is important that you find out from the older Aboriginal person their cultural and spiritual values and preferences in relation to:. For some Aboriginal people, these cultural and spiritual needs may be more important than meeting physical needs, such as pain relief.
An Aboriginal Health Worker or Liaison Officer may help Aboriginal people and their family and carers feel more comfortable and at ease with their care. Some factors that we need to consider when an Aboriginal person is receiving palliative care in hospital include:. There may be certain cultural practices that need to be followed after the death of an Aboriginal person.
Be aware that not all people from the same country speak the same language, for example, people from China may speak Cantonese or Mandarin. People from one country may have different religions. Customs or values that people may have that are important in relation to palliative care may include:. When a person is nearing the end of their life, it is important that the people they choose are included and recognised in their healthcare.
When grieving, it is important that a bereaved same sex partner is provided with the same support as a bereaved heterosexual partner is given. All people should be provided with the opportunity to express and live as their chosen gender identity during palliative care. Watching a loved one go through palliative care can be a difficult time, and it is important to support family and friends both during the palliative care stage as well as afterwards.
Rituals in Therapy
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