Family Constellations

By Mary Rentschler, M.Ed.

Basic Principles and Ideas

1. Right to Belong. All family members, past and present have a right to belong. the family system does not allow exclusions at the level of the soul. The system is always trying to make itself whole and complete again.

2. Levels of Conscience. There are three levels of conscience: personal, family, and “great soul.” the personal and family conscience thinks in terms of right/wrong, good/bad, deserving/undeserving, etc. the great soul-or collective conscience- does not distinguish between good and evil and does not allow exclusions. It follows the “archetypal rules of nature” and operates only to bring balance even if it may seem harsh or cruel.

3. Entanglements. These occur when a current family member (usually a child) unconsciously identifies with a family member of a prior generation who has been excluded, met with a tragic fate, was forgotten or scapegoated, etc. It is as if the child sacrifices himself for the sake of restoring wholeness to the greater system. The entangled person acts out the fate of the former family member. It is done out of loyalty and can be seen as “blind love.” Entanglements show up in many forms including disease, suicide, depression, bad fortune, etc.

4. Purpose. The major purpose of a constellation is to identify an entanglement more clearly and the dynamics creating it. The healing comes with acknowledging the reality without judgment, thereby freeing the entangled person so (s)he is no longer “needed.”

5. Acknowledging what is. Reality is never wrong, even if it seems harsh. Healing begins with this acknowledgement.

6. Aspects of family conscience.

7. Victims and perpetrators. Each must acknowledge each other or there continues to be tension/conflict in the larger system. The greater soul wants to unite what and whom have been disconnected. The movement is towards reconciliation and peace. There are no “bad” people, only entangled ones.

8. Constellation parts. First: revealing the hidden and compelling dynamics which influence the family. Second: healing movements and statements which help move toward solution-a new balance so that love can flow and strength be restored.

9. Morphic resonance. Rupert Sheldrake‘s term for the “knowing field” or the energy field surrounding a constellation. Morphic fields have to do with the influence of memory dynamics between the living and the dead and their interrelations in space.

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