Other Articles by Chris Walsh

No Paradigm

This article displays something about Chris Walsh's attitude to psychotherapy.

Therapeutic Alliance

The Therapeutic Alliance with Those Having Both Substance Abuse & Major Mental Illness.

Mindfulness In Individual Cognitive Therapy

Taking advantage of the recent acceptance of mindfulness meditation by cognitive therapists, Chris presented this paper to the 28th National Conference for the Australian Association for Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy in April 2005.

Chris's Mindfulness Site

Carmen's Dream

A case study integrating contellation work with ongoing therapy.


Bert Hellinger

Constellations for Organisations

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Love's Hidden Symmetry: What Makes Love Work in Relationships.
Bert Hellinger, Gunthard Weber and Hunter Beaumont,

English edition of "Zweierlei Glück"
Carl-Auer-Systeme Verlag, 1998, 352 p., 20 Illus., Hardcover,
ISBN 1-891944-00-2, € 44.90


Phoenix, AZ, Zeig, Tucker, 1998.. 330pp. Hardback.
ISBN 1-891944-00-2. US$108.00.

Gunthard Weber

Loves Hidden Symmetry: What Makes Love Work in Relationship

Gunthard Weber A psychiatrist and systemic family therapist, Gunthard Weber, M.D., has been affiliated for many years with the Department for Family Therapy at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He was a cofounder of both the Heidelberg Institute for Systemic Research and the International Association for Systemic Therapy, and, more recently, of the Carl Auer Publishing Company. With more than 70 articles in the field of systemic therapy to his credit, he is also the author, coauthor, or editor of several books, including the first book about Hellinger's work with family constellations, Zweierlei Glück (in German).

Homepage : http://www.wieslocher-institut.com
eMail : wisl@wieslocher-institut.com

Hunter Beaumont

Loves Hidden Symmetry: What Makes Love Work in Relationship

Hunter Beaumont A graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles and the School of Theology at Claremont, Hunter Beaumont, Ph.D., began his psychotherapeutic career at the Gestalt Therapy Institute of Los Angeles, where he served as president and as a member of the training faculty. A licensed clinical psychologist, in 1980, he accepted a guest professorship in clinical psychology at Ludwig-Maximilian's University in Munich, Germany, teaching graduate courses in Gestalt Therapy and Object Relations Theory. From his base in Munich, in addition to training and supervising psychotherapists, he has developed an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to treating psychosomatic illnesses and relationship issues. He became interested in the work of Bert Hellinger in 1990 and has been collaborating with him since 1993. His contributions have been instrumental in introducing Hellinger to a worldwide audience.

Homepage : http://www.hiddensymmetry.com/
eMail : hbeaumont@t-online.de

Independent Review by:

Ingeborg Stiefel
Senior Clinical Psychologist
Children's Hospital Westmead, Sydney

Published in Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy

Love's Hidden Symmetry is a detailed and comprehensive account of Family Constellation Therapy, a therapy associated with Bert Hellinger, the first author of the book. Family Constellation Therapy is not a new therapy, rather an extension and unique integration of several schools. According to the model, deeply embedded unconscious forces operate in human relationships. These forces can lead to systemic entanglement, symptom development and psychological suffering. The aim is to make the hidden pattern visible with the help of a Family Constellation. Family Constellation Therapy is offered within a group therapeutic setting. A group member selects and positions group members according to his/her spontaneous and immediate representation of his/her family. Group members then give feedback. This feedback, combined with the therapist's awareness of the whole constellation, helps participants to perceive systemic conflicts and imbalance. The therapist now moves group members into new positions until a constellation is found in which every person finds a comfortable position. Hellinger may suggest a therapeutic ritual, which affirms the new constellation. The one-session therapy is based on phenomenology, which discourages insight, interpretation and intellectual discourse.

The first of the eight chapters present conceptual aspects of the therapy. Hellinger assumes that people have a fundamental need to belong. The book outlines the model's theoretical concepts (e.g. the systemic order, the relationship equilibrium, the family conscience and a greater soul which penetrates all relationships). The final chapters cover aspects of the psychotherapeutic work.

The book's format offers transcripts of sessions, text reworked from Hellinger's lectures, questions raised by group participants during sessions, Hellinger's answers, stories and poems he uses in therapy, and comments of the co-authors. The session's transcripts cover a variety of themes, including adoption, suicide, Holocaust survival, acute and severe
medical illness.

What fascinates me most in reading this book is that Hellinger moves beyond the level of overt and covert (e.g. unconscious) family relationships to a dimension that includes 'the force of life, destiny, fate and the greater soul'. This added dimension helps in finding peaceful solutions to the most troubled family conflicts a family therapist can encounter, e.g. incest, war crime, violence, death. Hellinger challenges many dominant ideas and common procedures in our legal and therapeutic systems. His statements are at times provocative and his therapeutic style can be confronting. Yet, overall he appears to have a deep respect for his clients.

The book is well written and the concepts are clearly explained. The therapy process comes alive with the therapeutic examples. I think for readers, the stories presented in this book will resonate with their own experiences as therapists or as members of a family.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to stretch beyond the contemporary cognitive-behavioural sphere to those dimensions that bind us at a higher level of belonging. I believe the approach will appeal to therapists who focus on intergenerational and unconscious processes in families. Gestalt, experiential and existential therapists will find similarity between Family Constellation work and their current model of therapy. However, even strategic family therapists will be able to relate to the model as Hellinger makes frequent use of Ericksonian strategic interventions. My only critique is that the book is not referenced. Listing the sources of the references mentioned in the text would have given the book a scientific edge and readers the chance to trace the early roots of the model.