"Familienstellen" as an international technical term

With his “Familienaufstellung”, Bert Hellinger had created a completely new field within psychotherapy in the late 20th and current 21st century, which he and his wife Sophie Hellinger developed into Original Hellinger Familienstellen. This was not a psychotherapy method, but a life assistance, which can open the way to a fulfilled and happy life for everyone. There is such a great demand for Original Hellinger Familienstellen worldwide that the Hellinger®schule in the application of the Hellinger® Sciencia can just about meet. Nevertheless, there are people, especially from the non-German speaking countries, who claim that “Family Constellation” was not developed by Bert Hellinger. What is the background for this false assertion?

This assertion is based on the incorrect translation of the term "Familienaufstellung" by the internationally used term "Family Constellation". Sigmund Freud himself, but especially Carl Gustav Jung and Alfred Adler emphasized the importance of the family for the individual: The thinking, acting and feeling of each family member affects that of the others. The term "family constellation" was established for this. Since the 1920s, this term has been used non-specifically in German to describe the psychological and behavioral effects of family members among themselves.

In 1965, the Austrian psychologist Walter Toman finally published his book "Familienkonstellationen. Their Influence on Man". So this term had been firmly established long before Bert Hellinger's work - also internationally. Therefore, it cannot be used as a translation for Bert's Family Constellation and thus has nothing to do with the later Familienstellen of Bert Hellinger. For at that time, Familienstellen, as we know it, did not exist at all.

Of course, Familienstellen did not suddenly fall from the sky, but is built up - like everything new - on what has come before. Since the psychotherapists got bored and did not seem to be sufficiently successful when their patients were lying on the couch, they began to try out various new approaches. That's why decades before Bert Hellinger's innovation, the concept of the representative existed in some other "schools". This is true, for example, of the psychodrama founded by Jakob Moreno or the family sculpture by Virginia Satir. In family sculpture, the therapist determines a certain posture or line of vision in which or with which the client is to have a new experience. In psychodrama, the therapist and client give certain guidelines for the representatives - similar to a role description in theatre. These are then played through until a possible solution is found. This can take hours. Of course, this was not the now well-known Familienstellen according to Hellinger, but a family therapy.

In contrast, Bert Hellinger did not specify anything, nor does he urge the representatives to do anything, but In the Original Hellinger Familienstellen, the constellation facilitator holds himself back completely. He remains a very attentive observer. His approach is absolutely phenomenological. He feels in a special way reservedly connected with what is going on before him.

The decisive difference between the Original Hellinger Familienstellen and all other methods that use the term "family constellation" is the following: Although one could observe a change in the feelings of the representatives, one did not know which invisible laws determined these dynamics. A solution to the psychological problems was thus impossible. One only saw an effect, but did not know the cause.

Bert Hellinger's approach, on the other hand, was something completely new and unique, since his insights had enabled him to discover the basic principles of life underlying this dynamic. They obey and are subject to very specific orders, which Bert Hellinger summarized as the "Orders of Love". They are neither interchangeable nor can they be interpreted arbitrarily. No one can escape these orders. They are also not directed by our thinking, wishes and will. It shows, it seems, that these orders are given to us like iron laws. For this reason alone it is beneficial and meaningful for every human being to know the Orders of Love in order not to violate them.

By recognizing the Orders of Love and the effect of collective conscience, Bert Hellinger has succeeded in using his constellations to uncover and dissolve burdening and disease-causing dynamics in families. This is his groundbreaking achievement, far exceeding everything that has been, seen and thought before. For these laws were not known until now. Bert Hellinger grasped the connection between the individual laws and created Familienstellen according to Hellinger. It serves people, helps and leads them further.

The constellations generate an energy field in all those present, whether they are observers or representatives, which makes itself felt mentally, emotionally and physically. On all these levels the constellation continues to work and leads to solutions. This means: Original Hellinger® Familienstellen is space- and timeless. Everything that once was comes to light.

It is not easy to fully embrace it, and it often demands the last thing, with the result of finally being the person you are and no longer a pawn in the entanglements of previous generations. Be it because of family history or be it consequences from your own past life. Original Hellinger® Familienstellen uncovers it in a surprising way. It is not about evaluations or judgements, but about solutions to bring the whole system to peace. In this sense Original Hellinger® Familienstellen is also a worldwide work for peace.

To avoid misunderstandings caused by the translation of the term "Familienstellen" and to avoid confusion with earlier psychotherapy methods, Sophie Hellinger decided in 2020 to introduce and maintain the word "Familienstellen" untranslated in all languages as the technical term for the Original Hellinger Familienstellen - analogous to Fritz Pearl's "Gestalt Therapy".