We are delighted to present this second Fields of Healing Podcast recorded in a healing field known locally as Granny’s acre. We have adjusted sound as best we can, though we can’t help hearing a short rain shower and distant laughter from outside of our Yurt. Mad in Ireland have opportunistically gathered together a group of family constellations facilitators at Ireland’s annual Family Constellations Camp https://constellationscampireland.ie/ (or https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064473321292) for this episode.
What is Family Constellations?
Although we attempt to answer this question in the podcast, to tweak your interest, a version or summary describing family constellations introduces us to the podcast and interviewees below.
Family constellations is a therapeutic modality founded by Bert Hellinger, who spent many years as a catholic priest and teacher in a Zulu school in South Africa. In Family Constellations we explore dynamics and patterns that run through families. The focus is primarily on trans-generational trauma: how the events that affected our ancestors continue to have an effect on us. Our ancestors often had to deal with massive traumas: war, hunger, early deaths, extreme poverty, and the attitudes and strategies they developed to deal with those events can show up in our lives, where they are no longer helpful.
These unconscious memories can lead us, and those around us, parents, siblings, children, to behave in ways that are puzzling to us. When we can make sense of ourselves and crucially those around us, we can soften.
Systemic constellation sessions can help us gain insight into past burdens, enabling us to deal with difficulties in the present. This in turn helps to gain clarity on our future journey. Many of us concentrate on where it is we want to get to in our lives however in Family Constellations we pay more attention to where we are at this precise moment, and how we got there. By doing this we can clarify which path into the future is best for us.
Family constellations is soul work. In a group setting we create a safe and confidential space which then becomes a healing field. This allows us to look at the harmful beliefs and patterns that we have dragged along with us throughout our lives and sometimes passed on to our children. Working together, using members of the group as representatives, we create a “living map” of the problem, dynamic or situation. Through this lens, simple but hidden truths can be revealed and understood, giving new insight and opportunities for change and movement.
Whilst we each have our own personal history we are also, inevitably, deeply connected with our wider familial, social and cultural history which exerts a strong, and often unacknowledged, influence over us. Secrets, betrayals, war, and many other traumas are part of our history here in Ireland and family constellations gives us the opportunity to re -examine our fixed ideas and judgements.
In Ireland, as elsewhere people are rejecting unhelpful old paradigm notions of how we are told to understand our bodies, minds, emotions and spiritual well being. They are finding solace in new and ancient ways of understanding well being and the interconnectedness of what it is to be human with capacity to thrive. And embracing the healing journey. Interestingly family constellations draws on both the ancient ancestral healing practices and more modern therapeutic practices to create this integrated field of healing. We hope this episode provides some useful insight into how the interviewees see family constellations as an apt healing modality for new paradigm mental health practice.
(Given we were interviewing in the family constellations camp field, interviewees biographical details pertaining to that are provided below).
I came across this work at Earthsong camp in Ireland. What can I say, it fits me like a glove. It was something I had never experienced before and yet it makes perfect sense to me. Barbara Morgan was doing a training and I let it pass the first two times. It came around the third time to me and I thought okay, there’s a message here for me, and I went and did it.
I am passionate about bringing this work to other people who might not have the opportunity. The healing is very powerful.
What I bring to camp as a facilitator is my trust in the constellations field.
One of the attractions of constellation work for me was the deep longing to understand where I belong. Attending family constellations workshops and training as a facilitator and trainer has helped me to peel away the layers of story and half-truths that I had built up around myself and look at them for what they are with love and not judgement. Looking afresh at myself through a systemic lens I have discovered a softer, more authentic me and this has enabled me to allow myself to belong right where I am.
I am passionate about revealing the truth behind family entanglements and traumas. Over the years I have seen so many people, who thought they were afraid of the truth, relax and come to a place of loving acceptance when they see, through representation, the truth that was blurred or buried in the family story.
I bring an unshakable belief in this work to camp. The sense of relief that I felt when I found this work is still with me every time I facilitate or even talk about constellations to someone. Witnessing constellation work is a coming home, a feeling of clarity and ease comes over me and I want everyone to experience the healing that has come into my life as a result of acknowledging what is.
Contact me through my website www.araisabhaile.ie
Looking back, one of the milestones in my life was when I came to Ireland in 1995. Meeting Family Constellation was another milestone. The immediacy of the work took me by surprise and I loved it and my body loved it too. As an Amatsu practitioner, an artist, and a gardener, being in tune with my body’s messages is important to me and Family Constellation takes that even further. This work with all its ups and downs, has brought me further along the path of being fully myself.
I am passionate about being human and have a strong sense that we are all an intrinsic part of Nature. Watching how my garden transforms each year gives me great pleasure. I love wondering about the mysteries of life and I am touched by invisible acts of kindness.
I bring to the camp my Hungarian ancestors, their way of being and living, my full heritage and my love for it. I am also grateful for the kindness I have experienced in my adopted country of Ireland. I bring my strengths and weaknesses into this work, as well as the great sensitivity of my body and me being myself.
Líam Mac Gabhann
As a health practitioner for 35 years, with 15 years in traditional therapeutic roles as mental health nurse, counsellor and psychotherapist; I came to realise that these approaches were limited on their own in how they could help people heal from significant life challenges. This led to an exploration of and training in alternative healing approaches, such as Reiki, Shamanism, Tai Chi, Mindfulness and Body Work. It was inevitable that I would end up embracing constellations work as an all encompassing holistic approach to healing.
This work unfolds what is and what has been in such a clear and uncomplicated way for people experiencing serious physical, emotional and systemic problems in life. Deep immediate understanding and healing with clear impact on our family systems is the hallmark of this work and the reason why I embrace it wholeheartedly.
I bring my history as a wounded healer; 15 years working alternatively with people experiencing trauma; a passionate connection to the land & nature’s energy and a curiosity about how we are all connected in some strange wonderful way.
Barbara Originally trained as a Gestalt Psychotherapist, Barbara has been working with constellations since 1997, one year after the Founder, Bert Hellinger first came to England. Her experience of the work has been personally transformative and as best she can, Barbara ‘walks her talk’. She sees family constellations as a way of life and her pursuit of ‘truth’ as far as that is ever possible, leads to a deep commitment to the work she does. Second only to family, it is her guiding passion. She is currently training people in the UK and Romania and runs workshops in the UK, Romania, Ireland and Lithuania.
She has been offering constellations at camp in both England and Ireland for many years. She believes the ethos of Unicorn and Earthsong camps with workshops held in a yurt and the added benefit of being close to the earth in nature and living in community – cooking and eating together, singing and chatting round a campfire under the stars – opens the heart and enables us to be ready to look at our family issues.
Her role as Editor of The Knowing Field began in 2004 when she took over from Barbara Stones and Jutta ten Herkel. Within a year, she doubled the size of the journal and the frequency of publication. As Editor, she is privileged to have access to the latest developments in the work worldwide and is fascinated by the progress constellation work is making across the globe. Recent author of Coming Home: A First step into the world of Family Constellations, Barbara is planning to write another book on Mothering over the next year.
Ricí Ní Chléirigh
My name is Ricí ní Chléirigh and I facilitate both Family and Nature Constellations in Ireland and the UK, working in person and on-line, one-to-one and in groups.With a background in Fine Art, I came to Family Constellations through Barbara Morgan and embarked on an intense 6 years of training with her. I am now an apprentice on her trainings. I have also attended short trainings and workshops with Ty Francis, Stephan Hausner, Vivienne Broughton and Francesca Mason Boring. My article ‘Beyond Ideas’ was published in issue 34 of the Knowing Field. And a further article ‘Clean or Dirty Pain’ was published in issue 37.
I run regular workshops, in An Seomra, a bright, sunny, secluded space looking out on a pretty garden at the back of my house in Dublin 6w. I also offer one on one sessions in this private setting.