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 BERT HELLINGER'S "SOUL ENTANGLEMENTS

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MessaggioOggetto: First Criticizes about Hellinger's method   Dom 14 Giu 2009 - 9:52

FONTE: http://www.xs4all.nl/~afa/alert/engels/hellinger_e.html

The following is a summary of 2 articles which originally appeared in the Dutch antifascist magazine Alert!, issues 1-2005 & 2-2005, see http://www.xs4all.nl/~afa/alert/. The English translation of German booktitles- in brackets and italics- is unofficial since hitherto, all books mentioned in this article have appeared in German only.]


Bert Hellinger's so-called systemic constellations, which he commends as a therapy for problems within families and organizations, are now being offered in more than 25 countries all over the world; they are especially popular within esoteric and new age circles. Over half a million of his books and videos based on this sort of therapy, which is supposed to constitute a revolution in the field of psycho-therapeutics, have as yet been sold in these countries. Since a couple of years, Hellinger's own reactionary ideas have been under severe attack in his native country Germany, whereas hardly any criticism exists in other countries. German critics point out that Hellinger is not only attempting to set the clock back for decades or even centuries on achievements in contemporary society, but habitually also adopts a most humiliating attitude towards those who come to him for help. Worse still, he displays sympathy and compassion towards dictatorships such as Adolf Hitler's regime and his national-socialist movement. Most of Hellinger's co-written books and teachings dealing on these issues are available in German only. This critical article on H. - probably the first to have ever appeared in English - offers a brief review of his mode of therapy as well as a survey of critical reactions to his therapeutic methods.

A guild of would-be practitioners
Bavaria-resident Bert [= short for Suitbert] Hellinger is already 79 years old, yet still shows a remarkable activitity for his age. Furthermore, he does not deny his religious past. As a Roman-Catholic friar, he went to South Africa in 1953 and taught at missionary schools in the province of Natal. He also studied Zulu-rituals and group-dynamics. It has been said that he copied material from the late U.S. family-therapist Virginia Satyr, who displayed a more serious approach in her work. In the early 1970's, Hellinger left the order and resettled in Austria and Germany, where he set up a practice as a psychotherapist without the appropriate qualifications. In many European countries, psychotherapy is not officially recognized, causing a situation that furthers uncontrolled growth of indistinct legal status of the profession. H's followers-cum-practitioners present themselves as qualified, but might actually be would-be as they might have read only one of his books or seen only one of his videotapes and besides, Hellinger's readings do not match with regular concepts of psychotherapy at all.

Hellinger's methods formula to the solution of your problem may read as follows. Suppose you are suffering from a serious ailment or struggling with servere mental problems within your family or a relationship. Regular [psycho]therapeutic treatment has proved ineffective, and then you happen to hear about Bert Hellinger and his family constellations which, within a mere half hour or even shorter, will allegedly solve your problem for approx. 300,- Euros. During these sessions, a practitioner, not necessarily appointed by the official International Bert Hellinger Institut (1) [in Germany, the number of practitioners is estimated to exceed 2000, in Holland around 150], picks out -in agreement with the patient- a representative for each of his family members from an eager audience, occasionally amounting to more than 500 people. Following his instructions, these representatives perform a short role-play on stage, treating the problematical issue in form of a family constellation, whereupon something miraculous seems to happen: within a very short period, a 'solution' emerges which supposedly does away with all mutual intrigues and emotional disturbances. Hellinger bases this phenomenon on a so-called 'conscious field', an apparently imperceptible collective conscience of the entire family pattern. Hellinger's sympathizers claim an obvious link with the morphogenic fields of British biologist Rupert Sheldrake, whose theories however have met with considerable scepticism from other scientists. In order to add scientific flavour to Hellinger's doctrine, Sheldrake's questionable views have been adopted by the Hellinger-scene.

Patriarchism all over
Over the last 4 years, Hellinger's controversial ideas have confronted him with lots of criticsm in German-speaking countries, and this is gradually spreading to the Netherlands. Critics report that the Hellinger-like practitioners -in contrast to regular psychotherapists- generally lack solid training and consequently their therapies show a very amateuristic set-up. Intake interviews merely consist of a few sentences, and there is hardly any aftercare. Besides this, Hellinger displays in his therapies an authoritative approach and reverts to extremely old-fashioned moral standards, leaving hardly any freedom to his clients. One of the keystones in H.'s doctrine consists of the hierarchical structure within a family: a father is considered the irrefutable head, and his wife and children are at all times answerable to him and must under all circumstances obediently submit to his will, while the first-born child takes precendence over the younger ones. This hierarchy also applies to inhabitants of a country towards the head of state, and the summit of Hellinger's hierarchical ranks is fate: human beings should be aware that fate actually controls their lives and they have to submit to it.

From Hellinger's highly patriarchal viewpoint, family constellations dealing with matrimonial problems usually tend to conclude that the spouse has been disobedient to her husband, and that she was actually the one who had caused the problem. Obviously, feministic circles, after having achieved a liberal, self-determinative standard for women over the past decades, are far from happy with Hellinger's doctrine. Regarding homosexuality, Hellinger points out that within a family, a homosexual is generally regarded as an outcast and suffers from a very heavy fate. Proudly, Hellinger claimed that he had cured at least one person from this 'disease', who - after having participated in a family constellation - married a few months later and is now the happy father of a child.
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: BERT HELLINGER'S "SOUL ENTANGLEMENTS   Dom 14 Giu 2009 - 9:53

A highly unprofessional scene
H.'s therapies occasionally prove to have critical consequences. In 1997, a woman committed suicide after taking part in a family constellation in Leipzig. She was suffering from serious depressions and relational problems and hoped to find a solution through Hellinger's therapy. Hellinger's evasive comment on the matter ran as follows: "It didn't occur to me that she might have been suicidal. I only saw her for three minutes." A psychiatric clinic in Bad Schussenried, a town in southern Germany, had to treat various patients who turned psychotic after participating in Hellinger's family constellations. This clinic confirmed that H.'s practitioners used highly unprofessional methods and were obviously incapable of solving the problems they are faced with. One of Germany's prominent critical agencies, the Forum Kritische Psychologie [FKP] (2) stated that four patients had to undergo treatment for obsessions incurred during their Hellinger sessions in 2004. According to the FKP, the factual number of mentally disordered patients among Hellinger's ex-clients may well be much higher, since they generally find it too embarrassing to relate their unsavoury experiences in public. Dutch psychiatrist Nelleke Nicolaï reported of four additional cases of patients who suffered from mental disorders after they had taken part in H.'s workshops. Nolens volens, these cases end up in regular psychotherapeutic wards and in the end, the National Health Service is burdened with the financial consequence of H.'s failures.

Incest isn't bad at all
Hellinger's controversial methods include an incest-therapy of his own making. In his view, a father who has sexually abused his daughter in childhood cannot been held responsible for the deed. The actual offender is the mother, whose repeated rejection of her husband's sexual advances causes him to use the daughter instead. Hellinger turns a blind eye to the problems that emerge from incest, claiming that nothing is wrong with sex and even postulates that a young girl might well experience her father's advances as an exciting, pleasurable adventure. Years of terrible trauma and victimization are completely denied, and during family constellations these problems are "solved" by means of the following ritual: the practitioner orders the representative daughter to kneel down in front of her representative father [frequently in public!] and is then told to say: "Thank you Dad, I am very grateful to have been able to do this for you". Hellinger believes that the distorted family balance will be restored in this manner, but critics point out that this 'therapy' is extremely humiliating to the victim and will in no way contribute to a solution of such a serious problem. German writer Elisabeth Reutter, sexually abused by her father during her youth, writes in her autobiographical book Gehirnwäsche [Brainwash] (3), that Hellinger's incest-therapy almost expelled the last remainders of her human dignity.

An obscure form of mysticism
By the same token, Hellinger explicitly and invariably sides with the role of offenders during therapeutic sessions which centre around the latter and their victims. He goes even further on this issue, claiming that those who commit crimes - including war-criminals - are unable to act in any other manner since they are under orders of an authority 'from-on-high' that lies entirely beyond their influence. Basing himself on indeterminate cosmic laws and obscure mysticism, Hellinger proclaims that this authority makes use of human beings whose actions are inescapably determined by their destiny. Consequently, war criminals were unable to defy their duties as this authority was in complete control of them. Sixty years after the end of W.W.2, Germany is still suffering from feelings of guilt, which prompts Hellinger to induce the victims of the first and subsequent post-war generations to be grateful to their offenders instead of dealing with post-traumatical problems for years on end. In keeping with his habitual family constellations and incest-therapies, victims are told to perform a ritual of a similar kind: they must kneel down before those representing their malefactors and express their gratitude. Obviously, Hellinger met with strong criticism from German authorities, all the more so since the idea to end all discussions on war culpability is one of the main issues within the N.P.D., a German political party with outspoken leanings towards the extreme right, which over the last years has gained increasing public interest.

Winning the hearts and minds of managers
Meanwhile, pretentious expressions such as 'systemic constellations for organizations' serve to introduce H.'s therapies on a large scale into - mostly German - enterprises and institutions. Managers and business people in general are considered prone to therapy in order to weather the present economic incertitudes. Unfortunately, they are frequently oblivious of authentic scientific methods and instead are receptive to pseudo-therapies with alluring claims. Unable to tone this down to its real proportions, they tend to become impressed and overwhelmed by the current terminology on the H.-scene such as systemic ranks, morphogenetic fields, resonance, and chaos-theory.

Allegiance to resistance fighters is uncalled for
According to Hellinger, opposition against those so-called authorities-on-high is entirely futile, and resistance workers during W.W. II ought to have been aware that nothing could be undertaken against the desastrous phenomena within Hitler's Third Reich. In fact, they should have realized their failing beforehand. Only last year, Hellinger told a German audience, whilst guiding one of his family constellations: "In this country, a broad public opinion still exists that these nazi criminals were personally responsable for their acts and took decisions of their own free will and that they are therefore to be blamed for those crimes. But that is wrong, because at the time a stupendous force had enveloped them." Hellinger also proclaims that allegiance to resistance fighters against national-socialism - or any other dictatorial government such as the former Pinochet regime in Chile - is useless, wrong and actually based on ego-inflating self-deceit. One may well wonder why H. does not apply his own logic to these opponents of tyranny, considering that the latter may also be carrying out orders-from-on-high, albeit of a very different quality. [It would seem that in H.'s line of thinking, the powers of evil have supremacy over the powers of good, in so far as he willing to accept the existence of the latter]. According to H., the names of resistance fighters such as young Scholl and his sister who were murdered by the nazis should no longer be remembered and be scrapped from history books, since he supposes them to have also had lethal intentions. To top it all, Hellinger goes so far as to accuse these courageous people of lack of compassion towards their compatriots! (B) ! H. himself served as a soldier on the eastern front during W.W.II and admires the acts of his fellow-soldiers, considering them to be heroes as they also acted within the scope of a high and mighty authority. Following his line of reasoning, Hellinger shows deep admiration for the type of man who acts like a warrior and is prepared to serve as an implement of war. In his view, a martial attitude is a quality of true manhood, and 'soft sentiments' are entirely out of place in a male.
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: BERT HELLINGER'S "SOUL ENTANGLEMENTS   Dom 14 Giu 2009 - 9:56

Hitler's mystic spot

Not surprisingly, Hellinger displays considerable admiration for W.W.II-dictator Adolf Hitler in his books and teachings. He points out that von Stauffenberg's assault on Hitler failed, whereas the latter enjoyed twelve years of uninterrupted victory. H. continues that an overwhelming power took hold of Hitler too, forcing him to ride with the tide until the time came for his defeat, since no-one can sustain until the end. Last year, H.'s admiration for Hitler culminated when he and his much younger spouse, a healing psychic by the name of Maria Sophie Erdödy, moved into the Kleine Reichskanzlei, a villa which the Führer once owned in Berchtesgaden, near the Austrian border. Hellinger asserted that during his search for living accommodation in that region, this villa had purely by chance been offered to him by an estate agent. Hitler had chosen this spot because of a saltmine in the near surroundings, namely at the Obersalzberg, said to be one of Europe's principal regions possessing mystical energies. This enabled Hitler to confer a mystical quality on his Third Reich doctrine. Critics assume that Hellinger also believes in these powers. However, many disconcerted reactions by local inhabitants and the press caused him, half a year later, to move to the neighbouring Villa Askania, where he assumingly intends to found a large therapeutic centre. Hellinger's latest book entitled Gottesgedanken ( Divine reflections) (B), which appeared around the same time, contains the following almost lyrical ode to the Führer:


Hitler,
Some people consider you to be inhuman, as if anyone ever deserved that qualification. I look upon you as I look upon myself: namely as a human being with a father and a mother, and with an extraordinary fate. Does that make you any greater? Or smaller? Are you better or worse? Because if you are greater, then so am I. And if you are smaller, then so am I. If you are better or worse, then so am I. For I am a human being like you. If I respect you, then I respect myself. And if I loathe you, then I loathe myself. Am I then permitted to love you? Am I perhaps even supposed to love you, since otherwise I could not love myself? When I admit that you were a human being, just as I am, then I am prompted to do so by something that governs both of us likewise, something that caused your beginning as well as mine - and also our end. How could I ever exclude myself from this Cause by excluding you? How could I ever cast blame upon this Cause and set myself far above it by casting blame upon you? Yet I cannot pity you, because your rise and fall has its origin in the same cause as mine. I worship it in you as in myself, and submit to all it brought about in you and to everything it brings about in me as well as in every other human being.


Lost court cases (4)

Public criticism of Hellinger's doctrine also culminated when, at prime time on April 19th 2004, Germany's renowned national tv-channel Das Erste presented a lengthy and most devastating report on H. called "Das Geschäft mit der Seele [Merchandising the soul]" (5). Claiming that Hellinger had been portraited as a fascist, his most prominent followers immediately called upon the producers to rectify some of the issues, but in the end they abandoned their efforts. In this documentary, an ex-Hellinger patient reported she had suffered severely from therapeutic treatment by H.-psychiatrist Robert Langlotz from Munich, against whom she subsequently filed a lawsuit. The case ended six months later in court, where the parties agreed upon a compromise. In 2004, additional prominent followers of Hellinger were involved in court cases. Therapist Franz Ruppert, one of the foremost followers on the scene, brought charges against Klaus Weber, one of the members of the aforementioned FKP [zestfully headed by psychologist Colin Goldner, co-author of two books criticizing the H.scene]. Elaborating on H.'s ideas, Ruppert had given vent to a forgiving attitude towards Adolf Hitler in his own book Verwirrte Seelen [Confused souls, 2002], in which he proposed that all war criminals be granted amnesty. In a second book on the H.-scene, Niemand kann seinem Schicksal entgehen [No-one can escape his fate] (A), Weber had highly criticized some of Ruppert's readings, which resulted in the latter filing a lawsuit against him. Meanwhile, before judgement was spoken, the editor of Niemand... had published a revised edition, omitting Weber's most tarting criticism. This proved superfluous since the court ruled that freedom of writing and speech must prevail.
Another celebrity on the Hellinger scene, therapist Matthias Varga von Kibéd, filed a complaint against Colin Goldner of the FKP. Von Kibéd stated that Goldner had accused him of holding similar views on incest as Hellinger, and he demanded that Goldner withdraw his words. The case ended last October with a hearing of both sides by the court, which then decreed that Goldner need not withdraw any of his prior words. By now, it appears highly questionable whether H.-celebrities will continue to take their critics to court.

How one of Hellinger's closest friends quitted

Although Hellinger hardly made any personal efforts to defend himself against increasing criticism, the H.-scene began to feel uneasy. Reinhard Bauss, until then an unimportant member of the guild of practitioners, made a courageous attempt to plunge right into the heart of the scene by stating in the Hellinger periodical Praxis der Systemaufstellungen (6), that some of H.'s standard family constellations were outrageous and in no way corresponded with regular psycho-therapy. Their sacrosanct repute should therefore be got rid of. He was reprobated by the H.-elite, but then a prominent member and close personal friend of Hellinger, Arist von Schlippe - also chairman of the German umbrella organization of family-therapeutical centres - completely broke with H.'s ideas. In May 2004, von Schlippe wrote an open, emotional farewell letter stating that he could no longer agree to Hellinger's views on psychotherapy. Two months later, the Potsdamer Erklärung (Declaration of Potsdam) (7) was drawn up, which von Schlippe also initiated. In this declaration, more than 150 H.-therapists offically announced their rejection of all H.-readings and teachings. The list included the names of Vargas von Kibèd and his spouse Insa Sparrer, also former H.- therapists. Nevertheless, both names ranked on announcements of therapeutic Hellinger-like seminars which were to take place in Holland during the summer of 2005. The FKP believes that both therapists have now put themselves in an extremely tight spot, as they can only present their highly complex yet insignificant variations on Hellinger's formula within H.-circles, where they once made their debut.

A dubious therapy

In the Netherlands, many of the new age and pychotherapeutic circles that apply Hellinger's formula prefer to ignore serious criticism from colleagues as well as vigilant authorities in Germany, whom they believe to have constituted a counter-movement as a reaction to the initial success of H.'s family constellations. Some even deny the facts, claiming that the H.-therapy deserves credit for its positive effects. Moreover, Hellinger's ideas seem to be catching on within regular psychotherapy. The following example illustrates this. In the Netherlands, incorrect public behaviour during the German occupation in W.W.II is still a current issue. Children and/or grandchildren of people who collaborated with the enemy are known to suffer under this knowledge. Consequently, a therapeutic institution was founded in an attempt to alleviate these people's problems. Yet it will come as a surprise that this institution also makes use of Hellinger's formula. Claiming that Hellinger's therapy grants his clients lots of freedom - which is contradicted by evidence - this institution named Herkenning [lit.: Recognition], relentlessly brushes aside all forms of criticism.

Whitewashing the incongruities

Yet another example shows how the Hellinger-elite tends to soft-pedal its own fallacies. In different interviews and during family constellations, Hellinger has made various anti-Semitic remarks. On one occasion, he ordered a woman of Jewish descent to confess to her husband, with whom she had matrimonial problems: "I am very glad that you married me in spite of me being Jewish." In his book Mit der Seele gehen [Conversing with the soul] (B) Hellinger quotes a Jewish teacher who deserted his faith: "Not until each and every Jew has remembered Adolf Hitler in his prayers, will the Jewish people come to terms with themselves." Another H.-quote is: "Europe would not have reached its present level if national-socialism had not occurred." In order to tone down some of H.'s anti-Semitic utterances, the H.-elite brought professor Haim Dasberg, chairman of the Israeli Center for Psychosocial Support of Holocaust Survivors and Second Generation, around to write a praising introduction to H.'s book Rachel weint um ihre Kinder [Rachel weeps for her children], published in 2004. To top it all, Dasberg was invited to speak as an eminent guest before the 5th International [Hellinger] Congress for System Constellations, named Pantha Rei [Everything flows], held at Cologne in May 2005 (Cool. Its programme revealed that Dasberg's lectures focussed on the German-Jewish past. Last year already, the FKP published an open letter (9), advising Dasberg to withdraw his participation in this congress. In spite of their warning, Dasberg went, thereby displaying unreliability and compromising the centre he is allied with.
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: BERT HELLINGER'S "SOUL ENTANGLEMENTS   Dom 14 Giu 2009 - 9:57

Junkyard

Hellinger doubtlessly shows similarities with the new pope Joseph Ratzinger/ Benedictus XVI: his age, his faith, his region of descent [Bavaria] and some of his conservative attitudes, although the pope demonstrated during his visit to Cologne in August 2005 that he vehemently condemned anti-Semitism. This year, Hellinger will turn 80, bus this does not mean that his lifework will not be continued after his death. Among his elite are followers who profile themselves as extremely hard-core. It is to be hoped that the accumulating criticism will set these die-hards thinking, and that the latter will eventually face the facts and bear the consequences. According to the FKP, the H.-elite is wavering and is making fruitless attempts to press their issue through court proceedings. The present state of affairs undeniably shows that in the end, Hellinger's forms of therapy will land where they belong, namely on the junkyard of psychotherapy.


A) Titles of 3 recommendable books that critically examine the Hellinger doctrine (available in German only):
Der Wille zum Schicksal (= Self-fulfilling fate), by Colin Goldner and co-authors, ISBN 3-8000-3920-6, 2003 Verlag Carl Uberreutter, Vienna, Austria;
"Niemand kann seinem Schicksal entgehen" (= "No-one can escape his fate"), by Colin Goldner, Klaus Weber and co-authors, ISBN 3-86569-007-6, 2005 Alibri Verlag, Aschaffenburg, Germany
Familienstellen - Therapie oder Okkultismus? (= Family constellations - therapy or occultism?) by Werner Haas, ISBN 3-89334-420-6, Asanger Verlag GmBH Kröning, Germany

(B) Titles of Hellinger's most controversial books (available in German only): Der Abschied (The farewell), Mit der Seele gehen (Conversing with the soul), Gottesgedanken (Divine reflections); see for details: www.hellinger.com.

Notes:
1) Official website: www.hellinger.com (English pages available)
2) Forum Kritische Psychologie: http://www.fkpsych.de/
3) Gehirnwäsche (Brainwashing) by Elisabeth Reutter, ISBN 3-925931-40-6, Antipsychiatrieverlag 2005, Berlin, Germany
4) see for details: http://www.fkpsych.de/, section 'Gerichtsverfahren'
5) Das Geschäft mit der Seele (Merchandising the soul) by Andrea Mocellin, 19.4.2004, Report - ARD/Bayerischer Runkfunk
6) In Praxis der Systemaufstellungen, February 2003
7) see for details: www.syst-strukturaufstellungen.de/index.php?aid=20.

Potsdam Declaration on Systemic Constellation Work (revised)

The work with role-playing and constellations has a long tradition in family and systemic therapy. Such work is rooted primarily in therapeutic techniques as they were developed in Family Sculpture work or in Psychodrama. In the form practiced by Bert Hellinger, it has achieved a wider public recognition that it never had before.

Regrettably, Hellinger has increasingly distanced himself from his original systemic work. But he is still to be given credit for his contributions in strengthening constellation work.

Above all, he has developed new and innovative procedures that promise to resolve the dynamics of entanglements.

However, today we have reached the point where, not only essential parts of the practice of Bert Hellinger --- and many of his followers ---, but also many of his statements and procedures are to be regarded explicitly as incompatible with the fundamental premises of systemic therapy, namely:

* Neglecting to clarify statements and their related directives

* The application of mystifying and "self-immunizing" descriptions ("something greater", "taken into service of . . ." etc.)

* The unqualified use of generalized formulations and dogmatic interpretations ("always when", "bad effect", "punished with death", "the only way", "forfeit the right," etc.).

* Employing potentially humiliating interventions and submission rituals ?

* The allegedly compelling linkage of these interventions with specific models of human types and their associated world views (e.g., regarding gender issues, parenthood, dual nationalities, etc.) ?

* The idea that one person can reach a truth that is denied to the other person. This leads to the use of absolutist terminology and implies that, in a partnership, it is pointless to strive for cooperation in the relationship.

By contrast, we validate many examples and permutations of constellation work, all being done in the context of a systemic- constructivist understanding of therapy, and within the framework of a competent and responsible therapeutic relationship.

We understand these points as constructive attempts to develop further this already proven therapeutic technique and also to submit it to more and more scientific testing.

To that extent we also resist any vague or imprecise criticism of this kind of practice.

Constellation work "beyond Hellinger" should be developed further as a therapeutic instrument, but the close connection with his name is not to be maintained any longer today.

July 2004

This Declaration is supported by: (name, address, signature).

English translation: courtesy by Thomas Mellett.

Cool see for programme details if still available: www.iag-kongress.com (English pages available)
9) see for details: http://www.fkpsych.de, section 'Offener Brief'
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MessaggioOggetto: BERT HELLINGER'S "SOUL ENTANGLEMENTS   Dom 14 Giu 2009 - 10:27

FONTE: http://www.selectsmart.com/hellinger.html


TIDINGS PRINTS QUESTIONABLE THERAPY STORY - BERT HELLINGER'S "SOUL ENTANGLEMENTS"

A LETTER TO THE EDITOR -- ASHLAND DAILY TIDINGS, ASHLAND, OR.

October 20, 2003

by Lorie Anderson


Once again, the Tidings promoted a dubious practice as news: "Movements of the Soul," therapy created by Bert Hellinger. The reporter didn't reveal why it is controversial. Is it because of its convoluted, unverifiable and outdated theories?

Hellinger says our problems arise from "soul entanglements" revealed through "family constellations," a form of group role-playing. The article reports "magic" and "mystery," as representatives "know" the feelings of people they never met. Or, do they? A family constellation may include representatives of deceased relatives, ancestors, stillborn babies, fetuses, former spouses, and perpetrators against someone in the family tree, etc. The living are not typically asked and the dead are not available to attest to the accuracy of the representations.


A few of Hellinger's questionable positions include:




A breast cancer victim may secretly want to die due to a woman's unconscious "war with her mother."



Homosexuality often results because a boy must assume the feelings of a deceased sister when there are no female siblings in the family to do it.



Rape and incest create a bond; the perpetrator must receive "due respect" before the victim can bond with another.



Punishment of an incest perpetrator should be avoided as it could create suicidal feelings in the victim.



A victim can end incest by saying to her mother, "I do it for you," and to her father, "I do it for my mother."


One mystery remains: Why does the Tidings keep entangling spurious practices with the news?


Lorie Anderson
(end of letter to the editor)



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SOME BIZARRE HELLINGER QUOTES ON INCEST:
"Now about incest. If you are confronted with cases of incest, a very common dynamic is that the wife withdraws from her husband, she refuses a sexual relationship. Then, as a kind of compensation, a daughter takes her place. This is an unconscious movement, not a conscious one. But you see, with incest there are two perpetrators, one in the background and one in the open. You cannot resolve that unless this hidden perpetrator is brought in. There are very strange sentences that come to light. The daughter can tell her mother, "I do it for you." And she can tell her father, "I do it for mother." What is the effect of these sentences? Incest cannot go on anymore. If you want to stop it, this is the best way without any accusations.

If you bring a perpetrator to justice, then the victim will atone for what is done to the perpetrator."

Hellinger goes on to tell a story of an incest/abuse victim who became suicidal, because the perpetrator was prosecuted.
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: BERT HELLINGER'S "SOUL ENTANGLEMENTS   Dom 14 Giu 2009 - 10:29

HELLINGER LETTER - POEM TO HITLER:

[Note from Lorie Anderson: Personally, I find this poem offensive, but I understand that while some may interpret this poem as anti-semitic, others may argue that it expresses a viewpoint about the equality of human value regardless of one's actions, even the actions of a Hitler. I include it here for interest and discussion.]

Note from the translator: "The following letter in poetic form was written by Bert Hellinger to Adolf Hitler. It appears in the original German on page 247 of Bert's latest book called "Gottesgedanken" ("Divine Reflections") published in 2004. I just made this new American English translation today."
Thomas Mellett
Van Nuys, CA


Hitler,
I look upon you as a human being
Just like me,
With a father, with a mother,
And with a definite destiny.

Are you therefore superior to me?
Or are you inferior?

Are you better than me
or worse than me?

If you are superior, then so am I.
If you are inferior, then so am I.
If you are better than me or worse,
Then I am that, too.

For I am a human being just like you.
If I were to respect you, then I respect myself.
If I detest you, then I detest myself.

Dare I love you?
Am I obliged to love you?
Because if I don’t,
Then how could I be allowed
To love myself?

If I acknowledge that you were human,
Just like me,
Then I must look at something
That created both of us ---

Equally ---
Something that created you as well as me ---
Something that even determines
How we are both destroyed.

How could I possibly exclude myself
From our common ultimate source ---
All the while I am excluding you?

How could I ever blame this ultimate cause
And raise myself so far above it
As long as I am blaming you?

Yet I dare not pity you.

The ultimate cause of your rise and fall
Is no different from mine.

I honor it in you
As I honor it in myself,
And I surrender to everything
It has created in you ---

And to everything it has created in me ---
As well as to all it has created
In every other human being.

Translated by Thomas Mellett
Van Nuys, California, USA
April 10, 2006
Tombuoyed@aol.com

COMMENTS AND DISCUSSION are welcome. (Note that two Hellinger discussion threads have been archived. You can review those threads via the provided links, but you have to return to the active discussion page to be able to post.)


LINKS TO CRITICAL COMMENTARY


"Bert Hellinger's Controversial Therapy." A summary of two articles that originally appeared in the Dutch antifascist magazine "Alert!" translated into English, by Herman Nimis, September 2005.
"Family Consternations and Transgenerational Dealing," South African Skeptics website; forum thread, 2007.
"Dancing with Souls," by Florian Burkhardt, Indymedia Ireland, May 12, 2006. Article and reader comments. Also see reader comments on a large excerpt of this article posted at Blog called "warren ellis is web 9.0,"May 6 2006.
"An Open Letter of Clarification to the Systemic Constellations Community from DGfS and ISCA," written some time after February 2008.
RELATED LINKS:


NY Times.com article: "For Psychotherapy's Claims, Skeptics Demand Proof" by Benedict Carey, August 10, 2004.
The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice. "Objective Investigations of Controversial and Unorthodox Claims in Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry, and Social Work."
"Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to Work" by Barry L. Beyerstein, Ph.D.
The Skeptic's Dictionary -- (New Age) Psychotherapies
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A type of therapy with noteworthy mainstream scientific support:

Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research.
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: BERT HELLINGER'S "SOUL ENTANGLEMENTS   Dom 14 Giu 2009 - 10:30

DIRECT (mostly) EMAIL MESSAGES TO LORIE FROM READERS (with their permission to post) and LORIE'S REPLIES:


Subject: Bert Hellinger's TransGenerational Family Constellation Work
Date: 12/10/2003
SOMEONE WROTE:

I personally have experienced Hellinger's work and find it quite powerful. Yes, I did feel the feelings of the person I was representing in the constellation. Because we are always free to tap into any block of Universal Consciousness where every thought, feeling and experience is recorded as a vibrational frequency, we can access anything that has ever gone before us, even when it is not our own personal experience. I can understand your skepticism if you have not participated in this work. But I can tell you that I was impressed, and I have been involved in alternative therapies for about 25 years.

If you would like to learn more, feel free to contact me.

Date: 12/11/2003
LORIE REPLIED:

Thank you for writing.

A variety of interactive experiences can feel powerful to those involved, especially among those predisposed to be amenable to it, but that doesn't say anything to me about its efficacy as a psychotherapy. Only objective tests can measure that. To me, the premises have to make sense, at least, and they don't.

How do you know you felt exactly what the other person felt? Many people who are represented in this therapy are deceased and no one can know what the person would say. Even if a living person agreed that you were feeling the same things they felt or feel, people have so much in common that it wouldn't be surprising to me. What you experienced could simply have been human commonality. Even across cultures, especially in this day and age, humans are very similar, but it would at least be more interesting to see how well people do when representing people from vastly different cultures.

Some tests could be set up, though, to see if representatives reliably pick up on the feelings of the people they represent by doing blinded, controlled experiments conducted by an objective party. Perhaps the James Randi Education Foundation would accept an application by Hellinger or one of Hellinger's supporters to see if they can demonstrate the paranormal claims of this therapy (e.g. that a "representative" mysteriously knows what a complete stranger is feeling/thinking by standing in a certain position in relation to others in a "family constellation") -- and win a million dollar award if they do.

Meanwhile, the Tidings article that prompted my letter to the editor reports that Hellinger says we must not question the mystery, just let it happen, so Hellinger may well not approve of any unbiased, blinded studies. Also, Hellinger admits he dismisses a family constellation if it isn't working. That's convenient, to promote a therapeutic method as effective while dismissing those groups that don't appear to be meeting his expected positive results.

What is your evidence that every thought, feeling and experience of everyone who ever lived is retained as a permanent record in the form of vibrational frequencies?

There may have been 106,456,367,669 people who were ever born, according to one well-considered estimate that I found online. We must also consider how many other creatures with thoughts, feelings, and experiences have ever lived. And, let's not forget that Hellinger includes aborted embryos and fetuses in the family constellation. Meanwhile, we each must have had an astronomical number of feelings, thoughts, and experiences in our lifetimes.

You are asking me to believe that all these thoughts and feelings are forever floating around us as vibrations, and, further, that by simply standing in a certain way with a group of people you can somehow capture these vibrations and experience them yourself as the unique thoughts and feelings of any particular being who was ever conceived?

I find it easier to believe that it's the power of suggestion and selective thinking, and human commonality, among other typical human traits, that could cause people to believe they are receiving the thoughts/feelings/experiences of someone else.

That said, nevertheless, I'm glad you personally found this therapy to be powerful.

(Note: This reply was edited a bit after sent, for greater clarity.)

Date: 12/12/2003
S/HE WROTE AGAIN:

Hello Lorie,

I find your response quite interesting. You might be right and I have no way to prove otherwise. I personally believe the consciousness of the researchers affects the outcomes in the same way a person's biases are factors in the outcome of muscle testing, if you are familiar with that. Always, the intention must be pure.

As far as ferreting out frequencies that are specific, absolutely. You can tap into the universal data bank in the same way you tap into a computer data bank, through thought intention...that gives you access to all information you specifically request. However, your personal processing of that information is affected by your subconscious filters or resonance that affects the results. So, it is all very subjective but very powerful to the experienced person who knows how to work with this fabulous array of frequencies. I have enjoyed our exchange but will have to disconnect at this point. I wish you well with what you are doing and suspect our paths will cross again at some future time. Feel free to use my email but please do not include my full name or company name. thank you.


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Subject: Constellation Therapy
Date: June 9, 2004
SOMEONE WROTE:
Question, have you ever heard of a therapist who practices constellation therapy to become angry and hostile towards her client/patient? I have recently experienced this. My therapist got visibly angry and hostile towards me when I would not agree with her. During a constellation, she wanted me to look towards the piece of paper that represented my mother and tell my mother "I could kill you." I told her I could not do this because I did not have those feelings.

Is this the norm for this type of therapy? Is it also normal for the therapist to become angry or upset? I think not. I have since canceled my next appt. and am seeking another therapist. I have known this therapist for many years. Have not always gone on a regular basis but recently agreed to try the constellation therapy. Does it work or not? Did I just have the wrong therapist? I would appreciate your comments.

Thanks.

Date: 6/9/2004
LORIE REPLIED:

Sorry you had such a bad experience. As you can gather from my online commentaries, I am quite skeptical about such therapies. I believe that some people find it powerful and helpful, but I would need to see some objective studies on its short and long term efficacy in order for me to believe that it significantly reduces psychological difficulties. Their underlying premises seem off-base to me.

I have seen where talking to an inanimate object representing a significant person in one’s life can help the person to practice expressing his/her feelings or to sort out their feelings or to serve as a release of strong emotion – similar to asking a person what s/he would want to say to the person if s/he were sitting in the room right now. But personally I can’t see the benefit of telling a piece of paper representing your mother that you could kill her. Yikes! Maybe saying “I feel furious at you for doing xyz” or “I will never let you hurt me again,” but KILL?!? I think the guilt feelings that would result from such a pronouncement would far outweigh any benefits.

I applaud you for assertively standing up to the therapist in your refusal to express feelings that you don't feel. I hope you recognize the psychological strength of standing up for your convictions.

I suspect that the therapist believes in repressed anger and primal therapy and that confronting and antagonizing clients to release anger will result in a catharsis for the client and, thus, a resolution of the anger. This approach might presume, per psychoanalysis, that we all feel intense hostility toward our same-gender parent because we unconsciously desired to have sex with our other-gender parent, and that we tend to repress this anger by pushing it into our unconscious mind, and that this unconscious anger causes most of our psychological difficulties, and that release of this presumed unconscious anger results in an improved psychological condition – too many presumptions, if you ask me. I don’t think any of these presumptions are based on scientific research.

Bert Hellinger is regarded as an authority on family constellation therapy, and from what I have read online, your therapist belied Bert Hellinger’s approach. For example, I read this: “Hellinger’s style is calm, focused, never overtly encouraging of catharsis.” And, I don’t believe he would regard a piece of paper as capable of representing someone in a family constellation (although I’m not positive about that). Your therapist seems to not be following Hellinger’s approach, however I am not saying this makes her approach any less valid than his because Hellinger’s approach doesn’t make any sense to me either.

Psychotherapy presents a wide variety of hypotheses and methodologies, many not based on any objective scientific evidence at all, or weak evidence at best. Given this situation, that licensed professionals can creatively invent their own premises and approaches to psychotherapy, it is important for consumers to be discerning and shop around.

Again, I’m sorry you experienced a hostile therapist. I suspect she meant well, for whatever that is worth.

By the way, I’m not a psychotherapist, so please don’t rely on my answers alone. I have a degree in psychology and am a former social work counselor, so I'm familiar with the field, but I am responding mostly as someone who has been striving to discern fact from fiction from among all the various claims that bombard us all.

Good luck,

Lorie
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: BERT HELLINGER'S "SOUL ENTANGLEMENTS   Dom 14 Giu 2009 - 10:32

Subject: "Bert Hellinger"
Date: June 15, 2004
SOMEONE WROTE:
Of course you are doubtful. On paper none of this makes much sense but if you were to experience it for yourself you would have to trust in something bigger than Reason orTherapy. Bert Hellinger's work goes well beyond therapy and is revolutionary. One day this will probably overturn therapy as it is perceived and practised today.

Having attended several of Hellinger's workshops I can see and feel for myself what works, and after the work people return to report changes in their lives that may appear to be inexplicable. No doubt you would say coincidence. Of course the dead cannot answer the questions, but to have a representative in a family constellation report that they hear a particular song, and have the client report then and there that that was the song his grandmother used to sing.... to have people return having worked at honouring a excluded member of their family and find that within a few months that a lost relative (lost for possibly twenty years) suddenly feels the urge to get back in touch.... The system just works, and you can see it for yourself if you were brave enough to put cynical self through it rather than stand and throw tomatoes from the sidelines.

One of the things that comes over loud and clear when Bert works with therapists in this way is that they are the worse people to work with, so set in their ways and need to help others. God help us from those. This isn't a cult. Even when Bert says things that seem difficult to swallow there is a part inside that accepts it because it is so obviously true at a much deeper level than pure reason. It may well be the reason is all that you follow. I wonder what entanglement you are involved in.

Date: 6/26/2004
LORIE REPLIED:

I’ve been pondering how or whether I should respond to your message, as I realize you and I are, in some ways, from two different worlds as far as how we go about discerning fact from fiction. I decided to give it a shot and write it in a way that might interest or benefit others, as I may decide to post it on my web page. I am almost positive that my words will blow right past you. You seem very inclined to blow off anyone who criticizes this type of therapy.

I have come to greatly value, and feel enlightened by, logic and reason and responsible use of the scientific method of inquiry, all derived from of our uniquely advanced intelligence as Homo sapiens. I depend on this to help me to evaluate the credibility and efficacy of the countless claims we all hear about -- without having to experience each one directly, which would be impractical if not impossible to do within one human lifespan. Personally, I know I can be fooled, and I know I can misinterpret cause and effect when trying to evaluate a practice or product. I know that we can’t always see the big picture and we are influenced by the expectancy/placebo effect, wishful thinking, peer pressure, marketing pressure, trickery, bias, etc.

A therapy can be significantly effective, I realize, even if its premises are faulty or unsupported, but we cannot know if it's efficacious without objective measures. Hellinger’s participants are not randomly selected, and I suspect they are typically self-screened to believe in paranormal events, so anecdotes are bound be favorable. Some studies have shown that people who are inclined to believe paranormal explanations also tend to underestimate how often various events would occur naturally by chance.

Potentially, some who try this therapy and don’t find it beneficial may quietly drop out or stuff their criticism, lest they risk rebuke or guilt feelings for being too “entangled” or otherwise hard to work with, as I see you are prone to describe those who don’t buy this approach.

Even if this therapy is efficacious, its successes could easily be due to factors unrelated to its premises and paranormal claims such as that representatives know complete strangers’ actual feelings and thoughts and that any event involving exclusion in a client’s family throughout history can greatly impact a client’s psychological well-being today. For one, it’s not surprising that many people feel good (which is not necessarily the same as achieving psychological improvement) when provided with attention, camaraderie, support, a belief that they are gaining true insight, and the expectation that a process will help them.

Of course I would first seek plausible explanations for implausible claims. First, your anecdotal “evidence” is meaningless because there are too many things that could interfere with a clear assessment. That’s why we humans cleverly devised the scientific method of inquiry, to control for such variables. The following tendencies may well explain the perception of supernatural and successful outcomes from family constellations: selective thinking/confirmation bias, communal reinforcement, post hoc ergo proctor hoc fallacy (assuming a cause and effect relationship between events that occurred sequentially), self-deception, ad hoc hypotheses (explaining away outcomes that don’t fit by invoking another unsupported or untestable hypothesis), the P.T. Barnum effect (our tendency to perceive common and general descriptions as unique and insightful to us as individuals), regressive fallacy (wrongly crediting a product or therapy for improvement while ignoring the natural tendency for many physical or mental problems to wax and wane or resolve themselves without intervention), and pragmatic fallacy (e.g.assuming that positive outcomes are a result of the therapy when they could be the result of something quite ordinary or incidental to that therapy).

(See The Skeptic's Dictionary for further definitions and explanations of these terms.)

Perhaps this approach should be regarded primarily as a religion or belief system, if we are asked to simply believe that the premises and claims are true. I understand that if a family constellation isn’t working, Hellinger dismisses the group. Now that’s a good way to make it appear that constellations always work. If I want to claim that all the apples in my barrel are good ones, I can simply remove the bad ones and say, “See, it’s just as I told you.”

By the way, I never mentioned anything about Hellinger's therapy being a "cult." I have to wonder why you even brought that up.

All criticism of this therapy aside, I am happy for you that you find this method effective. But, I do hope and believe that my commentaries might help some people to examine this approach with a critical eye to see if it is credible and right for them before they invest their emotions and time and money in it.

Thank you for writing.

Lorie


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Date: November 18, 2004
Jeff Drake (Arlington, Virginia) wrote:
I've done the Bert Hellinger family constellation work. It was a wonderful emotional catharsis and very powerful work for me. I think it's valuable to be in touch with one's emotions and to not stuff them down as we (especially men) in the United States and so many other cultures learn to do. It was never portrayed that the feelings we felt were anyone else's feelings but our own. It was a real opening for me to greater empathy for others. I understood my family dynamics better and had much greater compassion for everyone. Did I feel any "soul connections?" Actually, I did. Those were the words I used after participating, and that was the best way I had to describe parts of my experience. The therapist did the work without describing what would happen or what we would or should experience, so I feel he did not try to influence our interpretations of our experience. We did get to core issues in our family relationships, and to core issues for ourselves as individuals that grew out of our childhood and family history.

I appreciate your willingness to dialogue with people about Hellinger's work. Since you have not done the work yourself, you might (being an empiricist) take note of how many people have found it to be excellent, or of no value, or somewhere in between. Put me in the column of those who have experienced it and believe it is very valuable. It is one thing to look with "a critical eye to see if it is credible and right... before" investing emotion, time, and money in something. But I have learned that it is far more important to trust people who I know because some things have to be experienced to be known. We can never know how valuable something will be in advance- it requires our participation and then our assessment. Even then our knowledge is limited to what happened that particular time, with that particular group of people or that Family Constellation practitioner.

Give it a whirl sometime with an experienced and respected practitioner. Find a way to witness the work, to talk to people who have done the work. If you rely on the Skeptics Dictionary to point you to valuable work- good luck! While we must not accept everything people tell us blindly, the authors of that dictionary obviously come from a paradigm that will question the value of everything, whether they have done it or not, even if the people who have done that program or practice, or had that experience, found it extremely valuable.

People who have found Bert Hellinger's Family Constellation work to be valuable should be trusted for being able to judge its value.

My best,
Jeff
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: BERT HELLINGER'S "SOUL ENTANGLEMENTS   Dom 14 Giu 2009 - 10:33

Date: November 20, 2004
LORIE REPLIED:

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for writing. I think much of what we could discuss is summed up in this article that you can read here in this article.

I couldn't tell from your message if you participated in Hellinger therapy as the identified client or as a "representative," but if you were a representative, and the emotions you felt were your own and not those of the person you were representing, then I would say that you didn't have a Hellinger experience. Hellinger's position, as I understand it, is that a representative in someone's family constellation is serving as a kind of antenna for communication that is emanating from someone else's soul -- channeling, if you will, the soul of someone in the identified client's family history that is floating around in some kind of universal consciousness. So, if the emotions you felt were your own when you were standing in as a representative, then the family constellation, ala Hellinger, apparently did not work.

Catharsis and a sense of being more in-touch with your emotions can create a sense of a powerful experience, but this too does not appear to be the main point of Hellinger's work, as I understand it, but perhaps secondary or peripheral. And, catharsis may not be all that it has been cracked up to be for mental health. Hellinger doesn't seem to be aiming for participants to experience catharsis.

There are many types of therapy and even common experiences (sometimes even movies and books, a loving and kind group and/or family encounter, intimate encounters, etc.) that elicit or allow expression of personal and strong emotion and give us insight into ourselves and our families, many types of experiences where you walk away feeling like something powerful had just happened. But Hellinger's claim to fame, and this is a major part of what I object to, is that he purports that the representatives in the family constellations actually feel and experience the unique memories and emotions of someone else, either living or dead, fetuses, or someone outside the family who was rejected/excluded even generations back in the client's very loosely defined "family."

We aren't talking here about representatives getting in touch with their feelings, and not about empathy, not even about projecting one's own feelings -- but about supernatural soul connections. I don't buy it.

I don't think the onus is on me to do research on this dubious therapy. I agree with Carl Sagan and other brilliant scientists who suggest that the burden of proof lies with those making the extraordinary claim (e.g. paranormal claims). I don't see any credible evidence that Hellinger's, or anyone's, paranormal claims are based on fact. I see simpler reasons to explain why some people might feel pleased or impacted after participating in Hellinger's or any group therapy experience: a supportive and caring group and therapist with whom you can trust sharing private emotions, the emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation, the belief that something spiritual is taking place, the sense of relief of catharsis, etc.

I see no good evidence to support what I regard as offensive assumptions about homosexuality, adoption, rape and incest victims, victims of cancer, etc. Sure he says many things that do make sense, I don't dispute that. But, personally I found his good points to be "common sense." It often happens, especially among those in need, that if people hear some things that make sense and that resonate with them, they will open their minds to some nonsense mixed in.

I don't "rely" on the Skeptics Dictionary or any skeptic organizations, but I am very grateful for them! I felt like I hit the jackpot when I discovered them. I especially appreciate James Randi -- what a great idea he had to offer a million dollars to anyone who can demonstrate their paranormal claims under mutually acceptable controlled conditions. Pure genius! He's a great magician, and it takes one (an expert in creating illusions) to know, and expose, one. I have found the discovery of these resources to be a "powerful," eye-opening, and profound experience for me. Humans are great self-deluders, including myself, and we are vulnerable to attempts by others, even if well intentioned, to delude us.

Thanks to the skeptic sites, I have emptied my medicine cabinet of phony "homeopathetic" garbage (after having read countless hours worth of pros and cons on the subject and ended up really feeling disgusted!) and no longer waste my money on useless healing magnets, untested fad herbal pills, etc. Of course I still try things that aren't well tested, if the premise seems plausible and it appears safe, but I'm aware that I could be kidding myself, and I disagree with some things on the skeptic sites, but that's the point! -- to use critical-thinking skills. I have never felt more "enlightened", as well as intrigued and awestruck by reality, by nature, space, time, the earth, human nature, on and on, as I have since discovering the skeptic sites.

Surely you have discovered in your professional studies the placebo effect, and realized that sometimes we believe something is caused by A when it was actually caused by B. As a therapist, I would think you'd want objective information on what is helpful and what isn't. I'm not so arrogant as to assume that my personal theories and perceptions are an accurate indicator of how things really work.

You said "our knowledge is limited to what happened that particular time, with that particular group of people or that Family Constellation practitioner. " I agree. We can't know how useful a therapy is, based on our own limited experience. We can't even know how useful it is based on our personal perceptions of how others found it to be. We may not hear from those with dissenting opinions, for one thing. Even people who report it as helpful can end up not making any significant emotional or mental or behavioral changes, yet isn't that what therapy is mostly about?

I remember counseling (as a social worker, years ago) clients who reported feeling very good after seeing me, but they continued destructive behaviors. That isn't good enough for me. One day I ran into a woman who was an alcoholic who told me that I had saved her life, years back in counseling. How I wish I knew what it was that worked to give her the strength to stop drinking? This is precisely why I support proponents of various therapies to seek scientific studies to test their assumptions and hypotheses and their outcomes -- as objectively as possible, not based on trust but based on fact. But they must be willing to let go of those things that don't hold up to scrutiny.

Meanwhile, I will continue to use my common sense and weed out any therapy that appears to be based on dubious and outrageous assumptions. I certainly don't have to (and can't possibly) personally experience tens of thousands of dubious if not dangerous practices in order to rightfully scrutinize, criticize, or reject them outright.

With all that said, I am happy you found the experience to be powerful and helpful.

Thank you for writing.


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Date: March 29, 2005
Post from Karen to the Discussion Board
After reading Lorie Anderson's comments about this form of "family therapy", I would like to share my personal experience. I have been living in Switzerland for over twenty years, and attended Familienaufstellungen nach Bert Hellinger (family constellation therapy, I now know) in Feldkirch, Austria near the Swiss border eight years ago for roughly half a year, as evening and weekend-long sessions. I also attended a lecture held by Bert Hellinger himself in Dornbirn, Austria. I was coerced into attendance by my ex-husband, and at first had a mild fascination with the whole concept and with the powerful emotions often unleashed by group members taking part in a constellation, or whose family was being constellated (I think I just made up a word).

Over time, though, I felt uneasy. I felt that my integrity was being compromised, that I was being coerced not only by my ex-husband (who insisted that my inability to accept the mother of his illegitimate daughter as a legitimate member of our family was causing our marriage to fall apart), but also by the "therapist", who repeatedly tried to put words into my mouth that I then refused to say, on the grounds that they did not reflect my feelings.

Looking back, I would say that this "therapy" did me, and our marriage, much more harm than good. I would certainly not recommend it for anyone in any kind of unstable emotional state, which should rule out a large segment of psychotherapy patients. Please note that both recognized psychology associations in Switzerland, and to my knowledge, the leading psychology association in Germany, have issued severe cautions about this form of "therapy".

Colin Goldner, a clinical psychologist, has written several books that include criticism of the Bert Hellinger method (in German, am not aware of translations.) I wonder whether James Randi knows about Goldner's work? I found your site today while looking for information about this phenomenon for my U.S., i.e. English-speaking, family. My ex-husband is now trying to coerce my two teenage daughters to attend a weekend family constellation session next week; my younger daughter, who has just spent three weeks under observation at a hospital as a form of crisis intervention for her depression, does not wish to attend. Her psychiatrist also advised my ex against taking her there.

I would appreciate (constructive) comments, particularly from those with similar experiences about what I personally consider to be an abusive form of therapy.

Kind regards,
Karen

(Note: You can find my reply and respond to Karen on the Discussion Board for this page.)

Date: April 2, 2005
Karen wrote to me directly:

Hello Lorie,

After my personal experience with this phenomenon, i.e. succumbing to the lure of a potential quick fix based on a guru's mystique and esoteric principles that attribute many psychological and indeed even physical disorders on the disturbance of a purported "natural order" between men and women, family members, the weak and the strong, victims and purpetrators, I applaud your goal of promoting critical thought among those in the psychotherapy marketplace, whether as consumers or service providers.

It is unsettling to note that the Hellinger method has become widely accepted in Europe, and is even applied by many "therapists" who lack academic as well as professional credentials from any widely recognized professional association. This means that some individuals seeking legitimate help may fall prey to well-intentioned but potentially harmful pseudo-professionals, or be manipulated by well-intentioned but misguided "qualified" professionals. Either way, the situation is alarming.

I am surprised to learn about the lack of critical scrutiny in the US of the family constellation method used by Bert Hellinger - and sometimes wonder whether there is any scientific evidence to back up psychotherapy on the whole, or whether it is predominantly based on a philosophy/worldview, and whether there is any difference between faith in psychotherapy and religious faith.




Kind regards
Karen


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LORIE'S OTHER COMMENTARIES:

James Twyman's Beloved Community homeless shelter in Baghdad
Indigo/Psychic Children
"EYES OPEN-WALLET SHUT," Letter of concern to Daily Tidings about Ilchi Lee, 12/8/04.
Applied/Specialized Kinesiology; Applied Neurogenics
Pre-diabetes
Exploding Toastmaster Toaster Oven
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fireloki



Maschile Scimmia
Numero di messaggi : 8
Data d'iscrizione : 12.06.09
Età : 36
Località : Milano

MessaggioOggetto: Re: BERT HELLINGER'S "SOUL ENTANGLEMENTS   Gio 2 Lug 2009 - 18:33

Admin ha scritto:
Junkyard

Hellinger doubtlessly shows similarities with the new pope Joseph Ratzinger/ Benedictus XVI: his age, his faith, his region of descent [Bavaria] and some of his conservative attitudes, although the pope demonstrated during his visit to Cologne in August 2005 that he vehemently condemned anti-Semitism. This year, Hellinger will turn 80, bus this does not mean that his lifework will not be continued after his death. Among his elite are followers who profile themselves as extremely hard-core. It is to be hoped that the accumulating criticism will set these die-hards thinking, and that the latter will eventually face the facts and bear the consequences. According to the FKP, the H.-elite is wavering and is making fruitless attempts to press their issue through court proceedings. The present state of affairs undeniably shows that in the end, Hellinger's forms of therapy will land where they belong, namely on the junkyard of psychotherapy.

che ci fosse di mezzo qualcosa di poco chiaro era chiaro....ste cose non le sapevo. avevo sentito parlare delle costellazioni, ma leggere questi articoli è ancora peggio che avere delle vaghe idee. E poi da quanto ho capito, hellinger è un ex prete. Non si cambia da un giorno all'altro dopo anni di indottrinamento.
è anche peggio la poesia che ha scritto su hitler.

visti da lontano tutti i carnefici sembrano grandi statisti.

Solo i miopi vedono eroi la dove ci stanno campi diconcentramento e di morte.

Spero solo che più gente possa conoscere anche questa parte della storia.

Meglio uno strizzacervelli, almeno non ti dice che devi ringraziare qualcuno che in famiglia si approfitta di te. Terribile.

P.S. li devi pagare profumatamente entrambi. :-)
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White Queen



Femminile Cavallo
Numero di messaggi : 5
Data d'iscrizione : 13.02.09
Età : 38

MessaggioOggetto: Traduzione   Gio 9 Lug 2009 - 19:34

Ho effettuato la traduzione di questo post, il percorso per trovarla è: TERAPIE ALTERNATIVE, Costellazioni Familiari e Sistemiche-Systemic Family Constellations, Principali critiche al metodo delle Costellazioni Familiari ed il link http://sciamanesimo.forumattivo.com/costellazioni-familiari-e-sistemiche-f52/principali-critiche-al-metodo-delle-costellazioni-familiari-t149.htm#492
Buona lettura! flower

White Queen
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MessaggioOggetto: Re: BERT HELLINGER'S "SOUL ENTANGLEMENTS   Oggi a 2:54

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