I first heard of family constellations in 2001. Sceptically I went to Rijswijk to once participate in a set-up day. Thanks to the Dutch Rail I arrived late and stumbled right into an on-going constellation. How surprised was I that I could instantly in principle understand what was going on, without any advance explanation or introduction. Pastoral and sociological knowledge and experience let what I saw and heard right away fall meaningfully into place. The positive effects on questioners, representatives and even spectators, were obvious. Soon I stood myself in representations for others and experienced the phenomenon on my own body and soul.
Events and questions regarding the first fifty years of my life were already for a while knocking at the door. To work consciously and purposefully on my own life themes I took part in further constellation arrangements. With new insights into family, relationships and more, I could now consciously and actively adjust my attitude to life. I experienced the benefits of setting-up on myself and had the taste of it.
Not to hastily become a therapist, but to quietly work on my own development, balance and maturing, I opted in 2002 for a solid education. I subscribed at DHISC, the „German Dutch Institute for Systemic Constellations”, and studied and worked hard for three years with German and Dutch colleagues of different ages and backgrounds. As an Austrian, who then had already lived in the Netherlands for twelve years, I fitted well. Uddhar Wolfgang Könighaus (1953 - 2010) provided a thorough introduction. Therapists with international reputation provided the necessary deepening and broadening in various therapeutic methods and techniques.
Early on fellow students pointed out to me that I would have a hand for this work. Repeatedly they asked me during exercises and breaks to facilitate set-ups for them. Eventually I took courage and in 2005 I began to offer set-ups myself.
Therapists, coaches and organizational consultants add various approaches, methods and techniques to their toolbox all of the time. Conviction and ability vary at daily use. Some people use set-up at home to illuminate everyday life questions and choices.
Parallel to the economic crisis the hype surrounding the phenomenon of constellations runs out. Criticism encourages critical self-reflection and positioning. In international scientific cooperation physicians and therapists examine relationships between physical symptoms and constellation work. The amorousness with a newly discovered phenomenon and method appears to be over and the serious daily work on the relationship between therapist and this method has begun.
When I encountered constellation work, pastoral experience and sociological insight warned me directly against the „run” and heightened expectations towards Bert Hellinger. I had no reason whatsoever to hold anything against the person, but I would not join the ‘run’ for him. Deliberately I shunned his meetings, even though some kept inviting me urgently. Of course I studied his books. It reassured me that he did not teach at DHISC.
In 2006 I visited the International Constellation Intensive in Bernried, Germany. Well known therapists who I knew already from DHISC and elsewhere lectured and held workshops. Unexpectedly Bert Hellinger appeared and facilitated an afternoon in the plenum. In the corridors I noticed the tension. Not long thereafter leading therapists and facilitators from different countries together distanced themselves from him. So they protested against various claims and practices of their old colleague and friend.