A facilitator of constellation therapy, which uncovers how family history and dynamics affect current relationships, shares insights and examples in this psychology primer.
Why can relationships be unsatisfying or even destructive? According to German psychotherapist Preiss (Family Constellations Revealed, 2012), “We carry destructive loyalties and entanglements of our ancestors with us and remanifest them in our relationships.” In this guide, he explains the philosophy and practice of constellation therapy, in which clients work with a facilitator, like Preiss, to set forth the “constellation” of key influencers in their lives. By setting out this matrix, he says—using chairs, dolls, human representatives, and/or the actual people involved—one can uncover, confront, and choose to move on from forces affecting one’s present. Preiss provides case studies of couples who’ve experienced positive results from this therapy; during the process, they realized that they unwittingly played out messages they absorbed in childhood, such as that women should be submissive or that men are unreliable. Although Preiss recommends using professionals for this work, he also offers self-help aids, including meditation practices to discover, embrace, and heal one’s inner child, as well as a questionnaire to figure out one’s particular family traumas. He offers dramatic testimony about bringing the “blind love” within families to light, particularly when “disruptions” in present-day relationships occur. Preiss’ many case studies can be repetitive, and it’s unclear whether some are actually composites of multiple stories. However, the studies all ring true and underscore the value of this type of therapy. The author occasionally goes too deep into psychological citations, referring to “morphogenetic fields” and “ontic dimension”; he also includes a distracting aside about his time living in a commune. Overall, though, he stays on course to present an engaging, accessible road map to effective therapeutic work.
A compelling and often persuasive exploration of an illuminating self-improvement tool.