Greetings friends. This is the first in a series of blog posts introducing systemic constellation healing work. Catherine and I are bringing this work forward to the world together. We will share what systemic constellation work in a way we hope you can understand. As we post these blog entries, we welcome any feedback or comments to help us clarify and offer as much information as you may require.
A bit of history seems to be in order here.
Catherine VanWetter has been a certified Systemic Constellation Facilitator for fifteen years. She was trained by Stephen Victor and has been facilitating this healing work and is well respected by many. Our website, as you may know, is www.gatekeeperconstellations.com, which is where we are broadcasting our blog posts. Feel free to visit and read more about systemic constellation work.
I am Joe Arnold and I have been trained in systemic constellation work as well. I bring sacred music, Native American Flute, to our partnership and hold space for this work as Catherine navigates the field. My website is www.cuseami.com if you want to hear my music and learn more about who I am.
The following is an interview Catherine and I created for our blog posts.
Joe: Hello, my name is Joe Arnold and I'm sitting here today with Catherine VanWetter and we're going to offer you a brief introduction to systemic constellation work.
I looked up the word systemic in the dictionary and it literally means, “Relating to a system as opposed to an individual.” Then I looked up the word constellation and it means, “A group or cluster of related things.”
So, Catherine, with those two definitions in mind can you briefly explain what systemic constellation work is?
Catherine: Thanks Joe. Systemic constellation work is a therapeutic approach that is solution focused and resolution focused.
Joe: Okay, so what makes this approach unique?
Catherine: Psychological therapy works with the mind alone and the story of who we think we are. Sometimes it can be difficult to move beyond that story. Systemic constellation work incorporates the whole system which includes mind, body, emotion, and spirit on our cellular level. I'm not meaning to denigrate psychological, or talk therapy, and I want to reiterate its importance because our story is a part of who we think we are. Systemic constellation work is simply a different approach of moving through the story of who we believe we are.
Joe: There are many terms used in systemic constellation work with specific definitions. We will spend time defining these and how they apply to this work. These terms are:
Okay Catherine, can you go down that list for us now and explain briefly what these terms mean?
Catherine: Sure. I will start with the first term on our list.
‘Multi-generational trauma’ refers to trauma passed on from one generation to the next, i.e. from grandmother to mother and mother to daughter, or grandfather to father and grandfather to son.
‘Intergenerational trauma‘ is trauma that happens within generations, i.e. sister to sister or brother to brother.
‘Lineage’ is where an individual has come from. In other words, are you from Italian descent, are you from German descent, or are you of Native American descent and so on.
‘Behavioral imprint’ is a genetic code where we have behaviors that are literally imprinted into our cellular memory and into our psychic memory.
‘Somatic’ means body memory.
‘Psychological’ refers to the mind body.
The next four are all tied together. ‘Quantum field’, ‘knowing field’,’ morphogenic field’, and the ‘energetic field’. What these are, is the inherent memory that gets passed on.
‘Phenomenological’ is a term within quantum physics in which you can't wrap your mind around how or why something is and how that something happens.
‘Epigenetics’ means just because our cells may have an imprint of disease or cellular memory of some type it does not mean that we will necessarily inherit that gene. In other words, it means we can switch it on or switch it off.
One thing we didn't include was what Bert Hellinger referred to as ‘the orders of love.’ The ‘orders of love’ are a natural phenomenon that happens within a family system.
The first ‘order of love is’, everyone and everything within a system has a right to belong. It is imperative for that part to be included for the health and well-being of the family system.
The second ‘order of love’ is that there's place. We all have our place and in the interest of systemic family constellation work, the father is to the right and the mother is to the left. The oldest child’s place is to the left of the mother and then the next child and the next child and so on. That is finding one’s place within the family system or constellation.
The third ‘order of love’ is reciprocity. This means the only responsibility of a parent is to give love to a child and the only responsibility of the child is to receive that love from the parent. If a child grows up and does not have children, the way they give love is by being of service.
Joe: Catherine, will you now speak of the people who have influenced your understanding of this work and how their research has supported systemic constellations. The first person on the list is Bert Hellinger who you mentioned before regarding the ‘orders of love’.
The next person is:
Dr. Virginia Satir - social worker and pioneer in family therapy.
Dr. Jacob Moreno - psychiatrist and pioneer in psychodrama.
Dr. Rupert Sheldrake - biologist.
Dr. Bruce Lipton - stem cell biologist
Dr. Candice Pert - neuro scientist
Dr. Peter Levine - somatic therapist
So, Catherine can you share briefly about these individuals?
Catherine: Certainly, there are many who have influenced my work as a systemic constellation facilitator.
Bert Hellinger (1925-present), a psychotherapist who coined the phrase, systemic constellation work and in part developed his theories through the work of Virginia Satir.
Dr. Virginia Satir (1916-1988) was widely regarded as ’the mother of family therapy’ and contributed and worked within the field of family dynamics. She is also known for creating the Virginia Satir Change Process Model, a psychological model developed through clinical studies.
Dr. Jacob Moreno (1889-1974) was the founder of psychodrama focusing on the present rather than the past using interpersonal relations and group psychotherapy.
Dr. Rupert Sheldrake (1942-present), is a cell biologist and talks about the quantum field and the knowing field that includes the field of morphic resonance. Sheldrake's morphic resonance hypothesis posits that "memory is inherent in nature" and that "natural systems, such as termite colonies, or pigeons, or orchid plants, or insulin molecules, inherit a collective memory from all previous things of their kind.
Dr. Bruce Lipton (1944-present), is an American developmental biologist also known for promoting the idea that genes and DNA are influenced by a person's thoughts, emotions, diet, and other key 'environmental' factors and how they get passed on from generation to generation.
Dr. Candice Pert (1946-2013), neuro-scientist and pharmacologist, worked with what is termed neuropeptides which are small protein-like molecules (peptides) used by neurons to communicate with each other. She also discovered the opiate receptor which is the cellular binding site for endorphins in the brain.
Dr. Peter Levine is a medical biophysicist and specializes in somatic memory we carry, especially if there's drama and how to release it from the body. Dr. Levine developed somatic experiencing (SE) therapy and established the Foundation for Human Enrichment in Boulder, CO.
I will reference these people when I share more about systemic constellation work in our next blog post.
Joe: Thank you Catherine. Our next post will include, in more detail, what systemic constellation work is and how it is helpful for profound healing.