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Family Constellations Africa will present a two hour workshop at the Ansisters opening event on Monay 08 August 2005.
"I'm Lioness" – an artwork by Nerina du Plessis as part of the Ansisters Creative Constellation Festival in August 2005.
Bert Hellinger and Zulu tradition
Family Constellations is a unique therapeutic method developed by Bert Hellinger, a German philosopher and psychotherapist. After living with the Zulus in Natal for 16 years, Hellinger used his experience of the traditional African relationship to family and the ancestors with Western psychological therapies to develop the method.
Family Constellations address patterns and entanglements that develop trans-generationally in relationships between family members and all those that are connected to this system. It has also been used extensively in the work with victims and perpetrators, reconciliation, illness, trauma, and grief. This is done through setting up representatives for family members of the client, and getting a 3D picture of the dynamics and entanglements of their family system. The facilitator then guides a process that helps restore order to the system by, for example, acknowledging the place of different members of the system or leaving responsibility with the family members to whom it belongs. Particularly important to this work is to give a place to those that have been excluded or forgotten due to early death, miscarriage, diseases, mental handicap et cetera.
Honouring our ancestors
Finding honour and respect for those that have been forgotten, and those that came before us, one can allow them to look friendly on us as we walk our own way in life. Our ancestors give us life. It is up to us, to take this life forward in honour of them. An essential element in Family Constellations is the inclusion of previous generations, ancestors and people who have already passed away. This allows patterns that perpetuate themselves trans-generationally and unresolved ancestral issues to be addressed.
Family Constellations Africa is a non-profit organisation that provides training for mental health professionals and traditional healers in the practice of Family Constellation work. FCA provides workshop opportunities and intensive skills training and awards scholarships to ensure diversity of culture and opinion in the training group. Family Constellations Africa started the first international two year training of on the African continent in 2005, and there are almost 50 facilitators currently receiving training.
South African Healing and Reconciliation
South Africa is in a period of transition. There has been recognition for the need for healing since the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but as of yet, the huge experience of loss and trauma by all sectors of South African society has only been partially addressed. Limited resources are stretched far, and there is however also great need to address the enormous emotional challenges that the South African people have experienced through human rights abuses, violence, trauma, and AIDS. Rather than passing the injustice of the past on to future generations, the urgency is now to find healing at an individual and psychological level, as well as that of relationship and community. It is the vision of Family Constellations Africa (FCA) to equip communities with tools that support this process of reconciliation and healing.
Family Constellations is a therapeutic method that uses both Western psychology techniques as well as traditional ideas relating to the ancestors. The ancestors, or previous generations, are seen as possible sources of strength or weakness, depending on the level of entanglement that may still be present in the family system from past experiences and injustices. This means that, for example, a line of disempowered women can be entangled in something greater in their ancestral line that prevents them from entering into their full feminine power. Something is needed in the family to shift this perpetual pattern, and a Family Constellation makes this hidden dynamic visible.
Many shamanistic and traditional healing practitioners are drawn to Family Constellation work because of its deep respect for the ancestral line. In a Constellation, we look towards those ancestors that give strength to the client, and find ways to acknowledge or honour those that came before us. It is through this deep honouring movement that we can leave the fate of our previous generations where it belongs - with them. And through this we ask them to look friendly on us as we go our own way. In this way, we carry the life forward that comes as a stream through our own parents from their parents, and those before them. In taking this life forward in a good way, we honour them.
Posted 26 June 2005, www.face.org.za, author: Tanja Meyburgh