In a workshop setting we are able to out-picture questions and their resolutions. I am always working both on an individual basis and with the group. At the most essential level, we all share the fundamental issues, abbreviations for our more general ways in the world. It is rarely if ever the first time someone has run into a particular obstacle, even if it’s in a new disguise. And it is rarely if ever an obstacle that only one person in the group knows. Most everyone nods as people tell their stories, because the dynamics resonate all around. With me too.
I see Constellation work as being a kind of time travel. We begin where we are, with what is happening right now. Then we travel back in time to the people and places that seem to influence the present. And we travel back even further sometimes to find resources in the very same lineage – those who are at peace, those who can be called upon to support. Then we may look ahead too. What is the legacy for a child or children or descendants when we reconcile our difficulties? What is their inheritance if we don’t?
Through Family Constellations, we cull updated images to help people move forward in new ways. The old obstacles diminish, sometimes disappear, but not because the world becomes an easy place or even a different place but because our lens becomes so much wider and the landscape so much larger. In the bigger field, we can be more mobile and time begins to pass in real time, life unfolding, rather than within a cycle of what-was-is-and-will be. Permission, freedom, creativity – these are what the past can offer once we allow it to be complete. This is an image we can live with.
Twenty or so participants—some familiar with Constellations, some totally unfamiliar, many attending on their own, some with a friend or relative—spend the day setting up an average of seven to ten constellations. Pieces last ten minutes to an hour; there is room in the day for lunch and flexible breaks. Many people come to directly explore their personal familial landscape, but just as many come to witness and represent in the constellations of others. In fact, much of the learning and sense of well-being derived from Family Constellations comes from serving as a representative, heightening one’s own awareness of how powerful events are held and passed among us through body language, empathy, inheritance, and metaphor. (For this reason, we feel confident that all participants who show up fully are similarly engaged, and that guaranteeing a personal constellation is not essential.) Whether you stand in a new way in your own lineage, watch as a relevant situation unfolds for someone else, or stand in for a member of another family, the novelty of this approach is the immediate space it opens for diverse individuals to both share and expand their generational vocabularies.
What Is a Constellation?>
Every constellation is a chance to step beyond the limits of our private understandings. Participants are invited to introduce themselves, along with a question—maybe a recurrent frustration, desire, habit, or lack—that has their attention. We then set up their image of the situation, using other workshop participants to represent relevant people or elements. Getting everything out of the head and seeing it in living bodies already breathes new energy into the question. Sensitive (often surprisingly so) to the family "field" the client has brought up, and without roleplay or acting, the representatives report what they feel, shift positions, and try different words with each other; because we all instinctively map essential relations, events, and forces in predictable ways, a meaningful picture quickly emerges. The facilitator’s task is to maintain a wide-angle lens, suggesting movements or sentences that respect and extend the client’s particular vocabulary. Through this participation, clients and representatives begin to see and connect with the breadth and force of well-being even in the midst of disturbance.
What Kind of Work Is This?>
Family Constellations have many layers, reflecting the many sources from which they grew; Bert Hellinger was a Catholic priest and missionary, a student of psychotherapy and German poetry, and now spends as much time writing as teaching. Descriptions of Constellations vary from clinical to mystical—which can of course lead to disagreements about the place and explanation of the work. Therapists see a new supplemental modality where spiritual teachers see a new way of imparting wisdom, healers see new energetic pathways where art-lovers see new imaginative expressions. All the same, people from many backgrounds find the work gripping and are eager to explore their family lines in this collaborative, creative manner.
Family Constellations can be seen in the United States as a complementary mind and body practice. While the experience can be a fabulous addition to a client’s other ongoing work, it unfolds on its own distinct terms. Currently, there is not a central registry or formal training program in the U.S. Suzi Tucker offers guided study but does not believe that a particular sequence of techniques or evaluations will guarantee or gauge the effectiveness of a facilitator’s work. As Family Constellations spread in the U.S., the professional terrain will undoubtedly shift, as it has in Europe and Latin America, where Constellations are now firmly established in a variety of public, academic, and clinical settings. Throughout the work’s evolution, Suzi Tucker remains committed to holding a supportive, respectful space, honoring the backgrounds, resources, paths, and beliefs of all participants.
Constellations by definition stir emotions and call for supportive touch; participants are expected and encouraged to take care by excusing themselves if they ever feel uncomfortable, and any who need to are free to come with their doctor or therapist. Participants also agree to leave the confidential contents of constellations in the room where they were shared. Finally, Constellations are profound as a positive, personal, yet widely applicable philosophical practice, and do not involve the diagnosis or treatment of mental and emotional disorders (where a facilitator promises otherwise, make sure you understand their approach and qualifications).
Saturdays in MANHATTAN, 2015-2016:
SEP 12 / OCT 10 / NOV 7
DEC 12 / JAN 23 / FEB 13
MAR 5 / APR 2 / MAY 7
JUN 11 / JUL 30 / AUG 6
10:00am to 5:00pm
New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 W 64th St
(near Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle)
Please download the registration form and mail to:
Suzi Tucker, PO Box 458, Redding Ridge, CT 06876.
Payment may be included as check, or completed online.
$25 transaction fee on all refunds; no refunds within 24 hours of the workshop.
In all cases of cancellation, payment may be applied to a future workshop.