“Family Constellation Therapy in the Context of Esotericism”
Dr. Júlia Gyimesi (CAS-E fellow)
In the past decades, Bert Hellinger’s family constellation method has become a highly popular psychotherapeutic modality. By integrating several trends and theories related to family and individual therapies, parapsychology, religion, philosophy, and spirituality, the family constellation method developed into an attractive psychotherapeutic approach for several laymen and experts. The basic psychotherapeutic concepts of the family constellation theory evolved as an amalgamation of several earlier psychotherapeutic methods such as psychoanalysis, Virginia Satir’s family reconstruction theory, Gestalt therapy, and Moreno’s psychodrama. Numerous elements of religious rituals were added to this amalgamation by Hellinger, thereby lending a rather spiritual character to the practice of family constellation. Furthermore, family constellation therapy is implicitly built on ideas—such as that of the collective unconscious or “telepathic” communication—that have not been incorporated into the contemporary methodological mainstream of psychology. Thus, in family constellation therapy these ideas represent a kind of rejected knowledge. Given that parallels between Western esoteric thought and the family constellation system developed by Hellinger can be observed, in my lecture, I aim to explore the extent to which family constellation therapy is embedded within esotericism.