Something a bit different, and yet oddly the same. It’s different because I didn’t write this; it’s a guest post by a German friend. But it’s the same because he’s talking about group therapy. He sent me his experience in an e-mail after reading “My starring role on CBC,” and I thought it interesting enough to share.
So please allow me to introduce Deiter.
[Note: all captions are mine.]
I’d like to share with you my experience with group-dynamic sessions:
Some years ago I went to see a Heilpraktiker, who made it a condition that I take part in a Family Constellations session first. I wasn’t exactly enthused about this, but went along with the idea. So the Heilpraktiker arranged a date, informed them about the family members she thought relevant, and also the reason why I had come to see her in the first place.
The practitioners, an elderly and very New Age married couple, informed me in front of all others — I was the only newbie in this circle — that they had done groundbreaking work in creating constellations of the Balkan War, and, by this, had managed to alleviate much of the bad vibes in that area. They even had photos. I noticed that whatever else they might have achieved, they had surely made a lot of money with it.
I was the third candidate to present his case. I didn’t say much, and the female practitioner chose the family members, and the client their respective stand-ins. Now I have to add that nearly my entire family is dead, and since this couple marked dead people by making them lie on the ground it was a weird picture – all participants except for three, were lying on the carpet, one other was standing (she represented my uncle/foster-father, the only family member alive), and two who were sitting on their chairs as backup. Now I have to add something else. Among my ancestors is a war criminal, a concentration camp “doctor”. I groaned inwardly when he was chosen too. Obviously, I realised, they were on another “alleviating bad war vibes” trip.
The session as such wasn’t remarkable at first. I couldn’t identify any of my family members, it rather sounded like a very cheap episode of a soap opera. Until I was given a huge and heavy stone bowl. The person representing the war criminal said she (it was a woman who represented him) felt guilty. I was ordered to place this heavy bowl on her chest and tell her she had to endure the weight of his accumulated guilt, to tell her that his soul was damned. The woman started to cry hysterically.
I refused, because I firmly believe in ultimate love, and reject the concept of WYDIWYG karma (what-you-did-is-what-you-get karma). I’m a trained (but inactive) reincarnation therapist, and I have my own opinion about these matters. Instead I went over to her and told her that to my knowledge there wasn’t such a thing as damnation/guilt in the cosmos’ overall structure, that this construction was a human invention, that all things had their own balance, which a human mind doesn’t necessarily have to comprehend. I told him that his very essence has always been loved, was still loved, that his divine spark was still there, asked him if he could see it. The entire atmosphere changed. The woman suddenly relaxed and cried. The practitioners fumed with rage and tried to intervene, but I ignored them. Everybody ignored them.
I can’t explain it – suddenly there was love in the room, palpable, gentle and incredibly strong. Maybe it’s this group phenomenon that you mentioned in your post, but I don’t think so. It seemed to surround the woman and me, leaving the others outside. She was still crying, but the hysteria was gone, it felt like a release, very peaceful somehow. This protective “bubble” around us held until she fully relaxed and the tears changed their nature, away from pain and into release. I kissed her forehead and got up.
Then hell broke loose. The person representing my uncle started screaming and cursing me for failing to do my damned spiritual duties (which is funny because my real uncle would have kicked their arses for being such bloody fools), to which my “mother” rose from the grave, yelling back she’d teach him not to shout at her son; my “father” tsk-tsked from out of the grave while my “baby brother” remained silent. The practitioners intervened and ordered one of the backup people to enter the scene, to represent the victims of WWII. All of them. Since I had failed to make my ancestor carry the weight, I was told, it was now my job to bow and apologise to them, that now I carried part of the guilt, maybe even all of it, I don’t recall. I should have left at that point. What I did was tell “the victims” that this was ridiculous and that I refused to take the blame for something I hadn’t even done. “The victims” started cursing me, demanding that I kneel down and pray, ask their forgiveness which they might give me. I remained standing.
Then the practitioners drew their last trump card – the last backup person was called into the circle. “You are representing … GOD.” At this point I closed the file inwardly. Of course, “God” decreed us both guilty, but in “His” eternal grace “He” would restore peace. I forgot the speech that was delivered. It ended with a group prayer (which I joined to get it over with) and a stern admonishment for me.
After all the sessions were over, each case was discussed individually — except my own. When I asked for it (I was curious what they’d made of it), I was told that since I’d failed to grasp even the most basic cosmic laws, there really wasn’t much to discuss. I invited them to tell me about their concept. Well, they said, there is forgiveness on Earth, but never in the spiritual world. There wasn’t such a concept in the divine workings. Guilt had to be paid for in equal measure, always and without mercy. I told them if this was their world, I didn’t want to be part of it, I liked mine better, which made their followers gasp. Turned out they weren’t angry with me at all, just very, very concerned for my soul. Wow.
The Heilpraktiker, when I went to my next session with her, was very disappointed and angry with me. After a while she said she’d been informed about what I “had done”, that this was unacceptable and clearly showed that I didn’t want to be “whole again” at all, ergo there was nothing she could do for me. I happily agreed. Much later I learned that the circle around the practitioners had dissolved and they had lost most of their followers in the summer I’d been there. Of course I don’t know if these things are related.
My opinion about Family Constellations changed during this session. I sensed the enormous power it generates, a mighty tool. When I was acting as stand-in for others (or rather lie-in, for I was always chosen as “the dead one”) I had a vision in one of the sessions. I was representing the father of a woman who had died in WWII. She didn’t say when or where. I slipped into a trance without meaning to and saw/sensed him dying. I shared his feelings, his emotional pain and fear of death. I’m rational enough — and also was while it happened — to realise that this means nothing. Everyone can imagine things like that. But then I suddenly “knew” where he had died and blurted out the name of the place. I can’t explain it. It felt very real. *S* “Authentic” as you said in your post. The practitioners told me to shut up since corpses aren’t supposed to speak, only respond to relevant questions.
After it was all over, this woman and I were on the same train home. She asked me if I had seen something. I told her all I had felt and seen. I couldn’t have written his biography, my impressions had been vague and/or impossible to prove, except for the name of the place. All I can say is that she cried for a long time and hugged me when we were about to get off the train, telling me this conversation had given her more peace than the last three years with the practitioners.
So, in essence, I am convinced that Family Constellations is a powerful tool — and a horrible thing in the hands of such bloody morons like those I’ve met.