Family and Community Constellations
With Sonya Welch-Moring
29th September 2018
North London Group Therapy, 9 Manor Gardens, London N7 6LA
“We were able to explore and discover family and heritage dynamics in a very open and powerful way. I feel that this workshop has had a deep impact on how I view my role in my family, my work and the communities that I live in.”
We will ‘map-out’ a range of issues that may include suppressed and taboo subjects, the unspoken and the unknown to explore their impact on family identity and community cohesion with special relevance to BAATN communities. By looking to the past to see what hasn’t been resolved, we can make changes to the present to create a better future for coming generations.
Including the Excluded Conversations
Over the last few months, we have seen renewed societal conversations on the place of people from African heritage communities in British life. There has also been a wider reflection on the role of the Commonwealth and its citizens in the UK.
Recently London has seen the 66th stabbing on its streets with people from Black and other minority ethnic communities over-represented in the statistics. There has been a sensationalised press response and a subdued conversation in our communities about the reasons for this state of affairs. Many people are numbed, families are traumatised, and there appears to be no coherent strategy from community leaders and politicians about how to manage the situation.
In May the conversation turned to the Royal Family with the marriage of Megan Markle, to Prince Harry. A bi-racial woman (her terminology) with an African American mother marrying into the Royal Family has brought to some joy and others a sense that race is no longer the defining feature that it once was. For others, there is a pensive feeling about what lies ahead and a sense that race and colour have not sifted discrimination and disenfranchisement.
Many of the Windrush generation, (those people who arrived from the Caribbean Islands in the 50’s and 60’s as a result of a call to support England after the war) have been caught up in a conversation about identity, and place of belonging. This conversation has been framed within a hostile climate that is anti-immigration and has resulted in legitimate citizenship being questioned and for some, exclusion from their rightful place in the UK. The recent one year anniversary of the horrors of the Grenville Tower fire where 72 people, many from BAME communities perished, has been covered in the broadsheet press but largely gone unnoticed elsewhere.
Eighty years after the arrival of the Windrush generation from the Caribbean and communities from South Asia after partition, we can ask ourselves; What are the current legacies for families from these communities? What has been won and what lost over the decades? What is being left behind, unsaid or unspoken in the present hostile climate? What are the issues for future generations?
For those of us working in the helping professions and therapeutic spaces, one area to pay attention to is inter-generational trauma and its impact on current and future generations. One way of exploring these issues can be found in the systemic family constellations method.
Systemic Constellations was developed in the 1980s by Bert Hellinger a German Psychotherapist and Catholic Priest and is a therapeutic method for exploring transgenerational relationships. After a long period in South Africa, during which Hellinger lived and worked in many South African communities, he returned to Germany in the 1980’s. He brought back ancestral knowledge based on what he witnessed within Zulu families and communities and incorporated it into the systemic constellations method.
Within the systemic constellations community, there is a move away from the traditional family constellation and into new modalities like neurobiology, organisational work and eco-constellations. But for African and Asian heritage communities, the ‘classic’ family constellations process present an opportunity to explore issues from an embodied place, as well as a conversational space.
If you dig deeper into the process, you can find ‘the African in the constellation through a ‘ritual’ unfolding. You can explore the indigenous wisdom that is held within African communities. You can then start to find ways to ‘remember’ what has been lost.
When we look at problems and difficulties in family relationships, we often find untold stories of exclusion and secrets that have been excluded in the ancestral line. In later generations, different family members may feel that they are carrying the weight of these exclusions without a real sense of knowing why.
Systemic constellations draw on this Indigenous wisdom to look at the deep roots of family, community and spiritual life. One of the key principles in constellations work is to include the excluded so that family reconciliation can take place. The intention is to reconnect family members and start a healing process to restore the ‘flow of love’ down the generations.
“The workshop gave me a chance to focus on what is truly important and I now have a better sense of direction.”
The days will offer participants an opportunity to….
- reflect on relationship dynamics that impact on family and community wellbeing
- identify issues in the social system that create disharmony in the family and community
- start breaking down barriers that stop us from connecting with each other across cultures
- explore the indigenous wisdom that is held in communities even if unrevealed
- take steps to restore the flow of love in our families and communities
NB.PARTICIPANTS will choose topics to map on the day using the Systemic Constellations method
You are encouraged to take part and share experiences.
Who should attend the training?
Psychotherapists, counsellors, psychologists, holistic therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and individuals involved in the mental health field, caring professions and those concerned about black mental health.
Date: 29 Sept 18
Registration 9:30am for a 10.00am Start – End 5.00pm
Venue: – North London Group Therapy, 9 Manor Gardens, London N7 6LA
Earlybird Fee: £90 (Members £80), Organisations £140, (Student members £60) (until 31 July 18)
Normal Fee: £105 (Members £95), Organisations £165, (Student members £75)
(Includes refreshments, course material and attendance certificate. (Lunch not included / Places to eat nearby / bring your own lunch)
For more information please visit www.ancestralconstellations.com
As I was born and grew up in Europe and have travelled extensively in Europe, US Caribbean and Africa I am influenced by the experience of those who have trans-generationally followed the middle passage as slaves from Africa to Caribbean and US and then the modern passage from Caribbean to Europe
My contention is that in these shared journeys, we are also sharing a path in the modern world that even though we may wish to deny it we are caught up in it. A collective loss of memory and a collective sharing of guilt, shame and rage resulting from our historical legacy
In constellations work in the modern world, therapy is often an adjunct to constellations. This is useful more for some people than others. So whilst I would not deny the importance of therapy in recovery I am interested in the concept of ‘Remembering’ remembering what has been lost our access to indigenous wisdom.
The thought process that keeps black people entangled in not-remembering of their history is a complex one. For me it was as though I was sleepwalking through life with difficult and conflicting dreams from which i woke-up when i started to retrace my ancestral history.
What would happen and how would thinking about self and identity change how we view the world and our place of belonging in it. If we could remember more about the lost knowledge from the past it could help to guide our recovery and healing