By Silvia Siret, Systemic Constellations Facilitator since 2005.
On 11th and 12th March 2017, Stephan Hausner facilitated a Constellations Workshop on Illness in London, hosted by the Centre of Systemic Constellations (CSC). I have seen Stephan work twice now, and his way of facilitation has truly inspired me. He let us into lots of his thought processes as many of the participants were there to learn from him, which is very generous and open, as well as it’s putting him into a vulnerable situation. I deeply appreciate that.
Why constellations specifically on ‘Illness’?
Stephan is a ‘Heilpraktiker’ (Healing Practitioner), he comes from the field of Homeopathy, Osteopathy and Physio Energetics, so, he has always been interested in healing. When working in Germany in the sector of Healing, one will undoubtedly stumble across Family Constellations as an approach to well-being. It’s huge there, and has already had its peak some years ago, if I believe a German colleague. This is where I come from, too. Not only from Germany, but from the calling to help people experience healing. When I read the title and blurb of Stephan’s book “Even If It Costs Me My Life“, I immediately knew this book was written by a kindred soul and that I wanted to learn from him. Sometimes in workshops of mine I just show the group the title of the book and they get the message. And – for non-insiders of constellations – the message is: “I do it for you (Mum/Dad), I carry your burdens for you, and I try to make things right for you, even if it costs me my life”. Tragic, I find (as long as it’s unconscious).
So, this post is about my learning and often just a confirmation of what I learned independently through my own practice.
The cause of Trauma is ‘Dis-Connection’. Disconnection causes ‘Dis-sociation’ (Separation). Healing can happen when we re-connect (relate). The healing process can only be initiated for a client when the therapist/facilitator has a relationship to their own body. If/when that is the case, there is a good chance that the facilitator can relate with the client. That is the first step. It means that the therapist/facilitator listens holistically to their client – their body language, their language, the colour of their face; and that they feel them in their heart. Anngwyn St Just even goes as far as perceiving what the client wears, including their jewellery and accessories. Her take on this is, “The client always wears their issues and their resources.” During the ‘interview’ (to get clarity on what exactly the client wants to get out of the session) and the constellations process (which is highly intuitive, and stepping into ‘The Knowing Field’) it is of utmost importance that the practitioner keeps that relationship up with the client. It is the change (or non-response) in them that gives the facilitator the necessary information on how to proceed or when to finish the process. When the field shows motion (movement), it is vital to monitor the client’s response. In my view, Stephan does this masterly. His constellations are in slow motion and take quite a long time (just like mine). Everyone gets the time and space to take in, understand, integrate and heal. This applies to the facilitator, the client and the whole audience. Stephan always points out that someone else’s healing is our healing – we are all connected. I agree.
What is Illness? – Stephan says: “It is Life expressing itself through you.” The symptoms give us guidance on where we need to have a deeper look and exploration. Constellations are a tool to illuminate what wants to be seen. The body is, too. Mark Wolynn (USA), the author of the book “It Didn’t Start With You“, says in one of his public talks: “It is now scientifically proven that our genes carry information of trauma from our parents and our grandparents, and we equally pass the information of our trauma on to our children and grandchildren” (see ‘Epigenetics‘). This means that certain events can trigger a response to a trauma that we didn’t even experience ourselves. Please, do read his book to get more clarity on that.
What wants to be seen? – Unresolved trauma in the System, is the answer. One’s ‘System’ includes everyone in the family, but also people who had a significant influence on the shaping of this family. The ‘Knowing Field’ which we step into when we do constellation work usually allows us to see what needs to be seen in order to be resolved. The readiness of the participants of a constellation and their openness to receive information but also their humbleness towards the spirit of this process usually allows their bodies and minds to receive and express the needed information, which will show in movement, thought/words and emotion. The facilitator carefully observes the client through this process and makes sure the client is following and present, as well as always in charge of their own healing.
Stephan says: “The body of the client is moving the constellation; the constellation is a verification of what the client understands.”
Here are also a few valuable snippets of statements by Stephan Hausner I jotted down during the weekend:
- “Expectation is the opposite of relation.”
- “Symptoms have a balancing function in systems.”
- “Autism could be the result of disconnection from oneself” (through trauma).
- “The entanglement gives the child a close place to their parent(s). Later they realise there is a life.”
- “The force of the system wants completion.”
- “There is always a solution. The solution cannot depend on something. I always have the option to stay related.”
- “The excluded person or aspect has the power.”
- “Who/what needs to be included?”
- “Constellation is just a tool to bring something into one’s awareness.”
- “There are no individual questions. We have to give up the concept of individuality.”
- “All parents love their children. All children love their parents. Siblings love each other. If children don’t get on (with siblings/parents) it is a symptom of an entanglement. At least one is not in their place.”
- “What does it mean that children are loyal to both parents? They are entangled with both parents. The loyalty/entanglement with one parent creates distance to the other parent.
- “Terminal illness means, ‘I follow you’, ‘I do it for you’, or it is an atonement for guilt.”
- “Often the aborted child is included but not its death (or the dead husband is being ‘kept alive’). It’s not helpful if the death is not accepted. An alive child needs permission to live (be alive) and a dead child needs permission to be dead.”
- The smallest (youngest) in the family can only take or receive from the others (in the system). The only thing the youngest can say is ‘thank you’.”
I think this is very rich, and lots to ponder over as well as create a dialogue (which I am open to).
Working with ‘illness and health’ is what I specialise in, too. And there is no better one to learn from in this field than Stephan Hausner. There is – of course – so much more to reflect on and to report, but I hold that information for another blog post in the future.
My summary is:
Value your symptoms as guidance to your mental/physical and spiritual health and as indicators of parts of your system that need your relating and re-connecting. All that we are doing is finding wholeness (holiness 😉 ) If you discard and neglect symptoms or illness, you lose the invaluable opportunity to become more whole, to become more who you are supposed to be.