The evolution from Familienstellens until today’s Original Hellinger® Familienstellen

In the development of Familienstellen by Bert and Sophie Hellinger a total of five phases can be distinguished. In each phase, fundamental and completely new insights into human behavior were discovered. These phases are described in detail below.

1st phase: 80‘s to 2002 – “Klassisches Familienstellen”

The so-called "Classic Family Constellation" was practiced and demonstrated by Bert Hellinger from the 1980s until about 2002. Bert Hellinger explains its procedure as follows:

"After the representatives had been positioned by the client, they were asked how they were feeling. Afterwards they were rearranged until everyone felt good in the end. Often other representatives were also included in the constellation. For example, if all the representatives were looking in the same direction, it meant they were looking at someone who had been excluded or forgotten in the family. When someone was set up for this unknown person, the others would breathe a sigh of relief. In this way, a hidden disorder came to light. For many problems in a family, including diseases, have their roots in the exclusion of a family member - for example, if a child had been given away or concealed."

At the end of the constellation all representatives were asked how they were feeling, then the client was asked the same question. Usually the client was very affected by the result, because it was completely different than he had imagined.

The main focus was on the family of origin and the current family. If it was mainly about a couple and their children, the problem was often related to their families of origin. The focus remained limited to these two families. This type of Familienstellen proved to be very successful.

Bert Hellinger's work triggered a real revolution in the therapy scene. Up to 1000 therapists took part in his seminars. His work completely disrupted previous thought patterns and approaches. For many therapists this kind of Bert Hellinger's work was almost like an earthquake. Many were enthusiastic, joined him and learned from him. For a long time he was considered in the psychological scene as the absolute insider tip. Those who believed in themselves always came back to him.

But some were outraged by Bert Hellinger's statements after the constellation and by his approach: "I only do one constellation for a client, after that I don't care about them anymore." They were worried that the client would often not be able to deal with what had come to light. Thus, the client would still need support, guidance and counseling. Bert Hellinger had a completely different view: When the secret or the truth is revealed, the person is immediately in their power through their connection and the right place they are standing now. Any going back and further questioning from the person's past degrades the person to a child and often to a victim. Bert Hellinger believes this is the case: Those who present themselves and act as victims do not want change. The client also proves this to their therapist by looking for a new therapist after years, because the previous one was "not the right one".  And so there are clients who have been in therapy for ten or thirty years - without any change.

The Classic Family Constellation has helped many people and was experienced as an enrichment for many therapists in psychotherapy. However, it remained largely limited to this area. Today, however, this approach is no longer sufficient by far. Only five percent of all constellations can be assigned to the field of psychotherapy.

2nd phase: 2002 until 2006 – The Movements of the Soul

From 2002 to the beginning of 2006, the Movements of the Soul were the focus of the constellations for Bert and Sophie Hellinger. Bert Hellinger explained:

"My wife and I had discovered that the movements of the representatives went deeper when I very rarely asked them how they felt. Everyone who watched these constellations was deeply touched and moved. This became even more intense the less we asked. It was important that the representatives knew little about the client and abandoned themselves to the inner movement that seized them from inside and outside. This new approach obviously went far beyond former Familienstellen. There were hardly any more questions about feelings, expectations and fears. The constellation was not directed towards a goal that was predetermined by the client and into whose service the constellation facilitator placed themselves. Everything was left to the movements as they perceived the representative - beyond the ideas of problem and solution and beyond psychotherapy in the usual sense.

All of a sudden, what was really going on in the families in secret came to light when they experienced themselves moved by another force. The representatives felt themselves to be a medium, possessed and moved by another power. The constellation facilitator also followed these movements. They too let themselves be seized, guided and led by them."

3rd phase: 2006 until 2016 – „Geistiges Familienstellen“

"Spiritual Family Constellation", the "walking with the Spirit", was developed and practiced by Bert and Sophie Hellinger at the end of 2006. This development was accompanied by new insights about our soul and spirit, but above all by new insights about the limits of our conscience. It turned out that these insights apply to all our relationships, far beyond us individually and beyond our family.

In contrast to the "Classic Family Constellation", the constellation facilitator needs very little information from the client, but decades of experience in constellation work. The facilitator connects to the large spiritual field and then intuitively chooses representatives himself - not the client. The representatives are instructed to shut off their minds and wait until they are irresistibly seized by a movement. By following these internal movement impulses, the representatives move very slowly. The constellation facilitator hardly intervenes in what is happening. Sometimes he adds a missing representative, or a representative is replaced because he is not centered or brings in his own intention. In the end, the constellation facilitator places the client in the constellation himself.

Such constellations can remain "open" or appear "unfinished". But in the soul they continue to work for years. The facilitator decides when the constellation is concluded.

4th phase: from 2017 - Original Hellinger® Familienstellen of today

From 2017 onwards, only the so-called Original Hellinger® Familienstellen by Bert and Sophie Hellinger was practiced. It was essentially developed by Sophie Hellinger. At the Hellingerschule today only this kind of Familienstellen is taught. Obviously the representatives and the constellation facilitator of today's Original Hellinger® Familienstellen are taken and guided by a great power.

Where are they being guided to? Beyond all separations and perceptions, those who were previously unconnected and separated for unknown reasons are brought together. A greater power is at work. It is a power of love that dissolves all divisions.

What does that mean in detail? The distinctions between good and evil, which are often in the foreground for us, no longer apply. The constellations prove to be space and timeless. What we had hoped for in the previous psychotherapy recedes into the background and with it everything we wanted to achieve with our good conscience and good will. All this happens independently of our usual ideas and our habitual thinking. With Original Hellinger® Familienstellen, the constellation takes place in front of the eyes of all those present - without any external intervention. The re-establishment of the violated order is carried out before the eyes of all present as if by magic. One could hear a pin drop to the ground, the breath stands still. The constellation is experienced as a revelation clear to all, as the intervention of another, a spiritual power. The representatives and the constellation facilitator behave like mediums through which other, great forces are at work. Solutions that could not even be thought of turn out to be something obvious.

What happens to Familienstellen previously practiced? It still retains its value, but within narrow limits. Together it is overcome - the more the constellation facilitators and all those involved surrender to something bigger. They all surrender to the movements of the emotions and the mind beyond their personal interests, and thus submit to this guidance.

Do the parties involved suffer a loss as a result? No, everybody wins. Original Hellinger® Familienstellen has its finger on the pulse of the times. That means: connection and cooperation instead of opposition. The motto is: Together we are more and stronger.

What are the limits of former Familienstellen? They lay in the inner images of freedom and self-confidence, in the idea that an outsider had the solution in their hands. They completely ignored the fact that there are no two identical people and no two identical cases. Everyone and their problem is as unique as a fingerprint, where everyone is unique, even though they resemble each other.

5th phase: from 2018 - Original Hellinger® Familienstellen under the sole guidance of Sophie Hellinger

In 2018, at the age of 92, Bert Hellinger retired from public life and handed over his work, all his responsibilities and his shares in the joint company to his wife Sophie.