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On Constellations and Translation

Albrecht Mahr, one of the pioneers of Family Constellations, says that trauma dynamics can be “translated into a Constellation structure which makes it much more visible and concrete...”.

When I started my training as a FC facilitator in Barcelona years ago, I remember being captivated by the beauty of the constellation, by the movements and the expressions of the representatives in the field. It was as if I could “see and read” what was happening in the client’s system, even without knowing him. The representatives were giving expression to the hidden dynamics in the client’s family.

As a translator for many years, my role was to render in my target language the prose written in the source language. So that the reader may have access to an otherwise hermetic work. The voice of the translator is almost silent and sticks to the writer’s style. The translator pulls the strings from the backstage, plays with words and tries to convey the flavor and the intention of the original as closely as possible. His presence will still be noticeable, but “it is not about him”, he is at the service of something bigger. The writer.

Constellations, to me, are a graceful act of translation, in which the representatives externalize the internal image of the client through their bodies. This can give clarity and insight to the client, who can “read” his own internal experience in “another language”, almost like in a movie. Similar to a translator, the more transparent the representatives (the more they focus on their position and get “out of their own mind”) the better they can “translate” what is happening in the client’s system. Still, their “voice” remains, but they know that they too are at the service of something bigger.

Stephan Hausner, German naturopath and one of the leaders in Family Systemic Constellations, commented in a workshop that when he encountered constellations he thought: “This is pure homeopathy!”. I suppose he was referring to the resemblance between the body’s capacity for self-regulation and the way a family system can self-regulate itself through constellation work. Gently and deeply. When Hausner works with a client, it is fascinating to watch the precision he demands from the client presenting an issue, and the delicacy with which he guides the constellation. Pure homeopathy!

What metaphor comes to mind when facilitating constellations? I would love to hear your comments.

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