BEMS-MODEL (BODY-EMOTIONS-MIND-SPIRIT) FOR SYSTEMIC CONSTELLATION WORK IN SEVERE TRAUMA CASES
IMPLEMENTING A CONSTELLATION OF THE INNER PARTS OF A CLIENT’S PERSONALITY TO RESTORE THE INTEGRITY IN CASES OF INCEST, SEXUAL ABUSES AND OTHER ORDEAL
Spokoinyi, Natalia (firstname.lastname@example.org) – Director of the International Institute of Systemic Constellations, Berlin; WCP and EAP registered certified psychotherapist, teaching therapist at DGfS (German society of Systemic Constellations), master trainer at INFOSYON (International Forum for System Constellations in Organisations), international level instructor and full member of PPL, systemic sex therapist, Merilyn Murray method certified therapist, master of theology (Alexander Men University), participant of the Ecumenical congress (Bose monastery) of all Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican churches, Germany, Berlin.
This article describes a new method of psychotherapy that I call the BEMS-MODEL (Body, Emotion, Mind, Spirit), that I developed for the therapy of severe trauma cases caused by violence, incest, painful losses, etc. The proposed method introduces the possibility and effectiveness of using constellation work for the treatment of severe trauma. It further describes a model of the systemic constellation. I call it the Spiritually-Oriented Constellation. The article will specify a model containing the inner parts of a personality for entering constellations such as Body, Emotions, Mind and Spirit. This gives the client a chance to see himself from the outside, to observe his traumatized parts with the help of a metaphor. It further allows the therapist to avoid the client’s subconscious resistance and help him phrase the therapy request. Finding the right objective is essential to the creation of the optimal resource, which in turn provides the harmonious interaction of these parts and restores integrity. It is shown that the Spirit takes the central place in the model and all other parts of the model are inevitably oriented around it. Therefore the Spirit-Oriented Constellation is the core of the method.
Keywords: trauma therapy, Spiritually-Oriented Constellations, systemic constellation.
This article describes a new method of psychotherapy that I call the BEMS-MODEL (Body, Emotion, Mind, Spirit), that I developed based on my personal working experience within the constellations approach, as well as on my therapeutic and spiritual (including theological) professional experience with severe trauma cases caused by violence, incest, painful losses, etc. Its purpose is to work with and treat severe trauma .
I have been using this method for more than 11 years. I developed it based on approximately 8000 constellations with clients of different ages, sexes, nationalities, religions, intellectual and spiritual levels, who had different kinds of problems, symptoms, traumas etc. At IIS-Berlin a studying-research group has been created to implement this method. It has further received a great deal of attention at several international congresses on psychotherapy and systemic constellations: workshop at the Second Eurasian Congress for Systemic Constellations (Moscow, September 2011); report and workshop at the First United Eurasian Congress for Psychotherapy (Moscow, June 2013); panel, report and workshop at the International Congress for Psychotherapy (Moscow, October 2014) https://iis-berlin.ru/de/artikel-praesentationen/artikel/.
In Russia my model has been widely spread, and several therapists who have implemented it, reported about their experience on work with severe trauma at the International Congress for Psychotherapy in 2014. It is interesting that the reporters spoke about the successful use of the model in cases of stagnation, when classic methods of psychotherapy and systemic constellations had no answers. A number of examples were given when clients experienced a paradigm shift after the use of this model in a constellation and other types of psychotherapy. From the feedback by the IIS-Berlin graduate Andrey Mekhantiev:
“I have worked on a case of addiction today, and N. Spokoinyi’s method “Body, Emotions, Intellect, Spirit” has proven to be very helpful. Before the whole issue was foggy, but after applying the method the whole constellation went very smoothly.”
Further feedback can be found on our website: https://iis-berlin.ru/en/feedback/
Problem and Purpose
Instead of systemic constellation treatment, different kinds of classical trauma therapy are usually recommended to clients with severe trauma, all of which must be implemented very slowly. Psychotherapeutic treatment needs to be applied in a “step-by-step” mode, coping with trauma in “homeopathic doses”. Usually this gradual kind of treatment takes a long time and, accordingly, requires a lot of time and major financial investment from the client. Considering that trauma often puts the clients into an apathetic state they tend to lack the energy for prolonged, continuous efforts. Earning enough money to support themselves can be difficult, let alone paying for long-term therapy. That is why the client may surrender to the pressure, start thinking of himself as helpless and lose faith in his treatment. As a result the client tends to withdraw into himself, become severely depressed, or even develop an addiction.
I am frequently approached by clients who have tried a variety of methods and consulted numerous therapists but considered the treatments a failure. However, their opinions are not always impartial.
In 2011, a client (call him G.) who had been suffering from a minor form of schizophrenia approached me. At first glance his psychotherapeutic request was voiced precisely enough.
He said he had worked with different psychotherapists who had used various methods of psychotherapy on him but with no success. He later learned about the constellations method, and specially came from Moscow to Saint-Petersburg to see a famous psychotherapist who worked with the constellations approach, A.M.
The constellation had a great impact on G, but, according to his words, it hadn’t produced any apparent results. During my working with G., I noticed that the result of the previous constellations he had undergone was quite positive, but at that period G. had been withdrawn deeply into his trauma and had not been able to see and to evaluate the results of the therapy. After receiving therapy from the famous Petersburg psychotherapist, G. had several therapeutic sessions with another constellation therapist, now in Moscow. As a result of a short test (when a substitute of a client lies down on a floor) he was denied work with his request with the explanation that the constellation might have been too dangerous for him and for the therapeutic group. After having received this response, he showed up at my office.
From this experience I learned that the only way to help a client is not through fine “homeopathic” doses but through immediate and substantial steps taken through the use of constellations. In this case the client is able to start living with much more confidence and to continue successfully coping with his trauma, as he feels the changes occurring within himself and perceives an inner resource springing up inside.
My experience has shown not only the possibility of working with traumatised clients within the constellation approach, but the particular effectiveness of constellations for dealing with difficult trauma cases. But to do so, I had to develop my own particular model of initiating such constellations, as I hadn’t managed to find the necessary information for working with difficult, traumatised clients through constellation approach.
Prerequisites to create the method
Since the very beginning of my practice as a systemic constellation therapist I have dealt with clients with severe trauma cases caused by violation, incest, painful losses, etc. While working with them, I have noticed that significant advances in therapy are often followed by a serious setback. Satisfied with the achieved results at first, as they saw evident changes in their own lives and personalities, they sent positive feedback to my website. However, after a while, they started moving away from their newly obtained inner resources; they played down the therapeutic work and even developed anger towards the therapist.
I’d like to show an example that perfectly illustrates the difficulties we can encounter while implementing a classic systemic constellation for dealing with severe trauma causes. One of my clients (call him C.) was diagnosed with prostate cancer. We did two thorough constellations and his conditions dramatically improved: the cancer not only stopped growing, but also decreased slightly (this fact amazed his doctor so much, that she showed up in person to see the constellations process).
In the first systemic constellation we found ourselves dealing with the client’s grandfather, who had a high rank among the personnel of Joseph Stalin. The client said that likely his grandfather had killed many victims, and this fact was proven right during the constellation. C. was very angry with his grandfather, thinking of him as a traitor and a murderer. At the end of the constellation the client became able to accept his grandfather as a positive resource and gained the insight that his grandfather had not been free in his actions but subject to the governmental system.
In the second constellation we proceeded further with the client’s genealogy, finding some grave dynamics, including incest, five and six generations ago. Being a man of strict principles and religious conviction, the client was shocked. However, he eventually understood that if there had not been any of these disgraces in his kin, he would not have been born. So he was finally able to respect his kin and their burdens. From here he gained inner resources. Afterwards, C. was in high spirits and underwent medical examinations with the result mentioned above. However, after a period of time he started to become estranged, stopped visiting therapeutic groups, and in private (we were acquaintances) he said that his forefathers were “all dregs”.
After going through a number of similar experiences, I reviewed the problem and once again realized why other therapists and systemic constellation facilitators work with trauma very slowly. Nevertheless, I was determined not to give up on fast acting therapy of traumatised clients. And at first I asked myself – what could happen to a client after he makes considerable personal progress in therapy? From my point of view, the client finds himself in a new, uncommon position and feels unusual fits of energy filling him, feels the joy of life and a kind of euphoria. Then the client wants to take the next step, expecting the same overwhelming effect immediately. He does not pause to take his bearing or to reflect in which direction he should be heading next in order to achieve new progress. Meanwhile, in that stage of therapy, it is essential to look around, to “put down roots”, to become used to the resources obtained from the constellation (for this goal, other forms of psychotherapy would work well). However, the client inspired by the quick progress made during the constellation, does not want to slow down. He sees that he lacks inner strengths and resources to keep pace. As a result, a feeling of emptiness and weakness replaces the initial euphoria, and gradually the client loses faith in himself and in the therapist. The example above illustrates such a case, where the client couldn’t integrate the results of the constellation into his life because the goals were set over-ambitiously and the objective was not formulated clearly enough. I had long thought of this as an unfortunate incident but after several years C. asked everyone to pray for him as he was scheduled for an operation to remove his cancer. But after 3 days he wrote to everyone involved: “Thank you everyone. It’s a miracle! There is no tumor, I am completely healthy!”. This tells me that the treatment was very successful.
Analysing my work during that year, I noticed that positive results had been achieved when working with a concrete, relevant issue that was particularly important to the client when we started the constellation session. However, precisely formulating a truly relevant request is very difficult for such clients.
Clients with a difficult inner problem (it does not matter if the problem is connected with a direct act of violence towards a client or those close to him or it is associated with a deeper inner trauma that originates from their kin) tend to show more or less the same symptoms: suppression, denial, unconsciously “confusing” the therapist or himself and the inability to reflect. The last symptom can be observed particularly clearly when the client describes his issues: he keeps changing topics, obscuring different aspects of his problem and is unable to define complaints and needs clearly. Or too many issues are voiced, while the client can’t choose the most pressing one among them – a psychological defence mechanism to avoid submergence into painful thoughts.
In such cases, the therapist usually denies the client a constellation, as it is meaningless to work without a definite, well thought out objective and without an energy in the client’s request. Moreover, performing constellations under such conditions can also be dangerous for the group.
Such people build high walls around their inner pain. These walls don’t allow them to see this trauma, recognise it, and hence work with it. Besides this, other defence mechanisms can function, for example, having a negative attitude to himself or others.
I came to realise that it was necessary to develop a mechanism that would help the client to formulate an accurate, life-oriented request.
I observed that if I separated the “Mind” from the client and assigned it a representative, the client’s representative became more “present” in the room and could articulate specific dynamics of the situation more precisely.
I used this method for the first time when there was no energy felt in the request of client N, though the problem was very important to her. Whenever we tried to narrow down the issue for the constellation, N. continued procrastinating and diverging into secondary feelings. The representative of the client was equally paralysed. Then I removed the “head” of N and everything associated with her mind and mental sphere from her representative – and assigned all this to another representative.
The “head” figure of the client immediately started counting balloons which were left in the room after a children’s party, while the representative for the remaining part of N. was looking down on the floor. Afterwards I added a figure of the dead person that N’s representative had been looking at. Something happened at that moment, the group stopped laughing and talking and froze, feeling a special energy. In this constellation work, a good resource was found for the client very quickly. After a while N called and told me that she had gone through a major positive change in her life.
This example was followed by many other cases that, in the end, led me to create the following methodology for specifying constellation objectives.
Description of the Method
It is widely known that a serious trauma always leads to the splitting and disintegration of personality. Parts of personality get trapped within a trauma and the client usually ends up suppressing them. The mission of the therapist is to help the client reveal these parts, accept them, love them and gather them within his own self. Only then can we speak of genuine integrity of personality. There are a lot of methods of structural constellation with inner parts, for example with the “child part”, which must be accepted with love. But these methods usually also take a lot of time.
To my mind in order to detect distortions caused by the trauma it is advisable to explore different parts and facets of the personality. Guided by my spiritual and theological experience, I chose to apply the well-known model “Spirit, Soul, Body”, that is eminently suited to demonstrate the internal dynamics of disintegration. However, taking into account the fact that everyone has their own concept of what “Soul” means, I decided to make the model more specific in order to ensure a common understanding of the terms given in the model.
There are four elements in the model presented: Body, Emotions, Mind (Intellect), Spirit.
The new modified model contains four elements: “Spirit”, “Mind”, “Emotions” and “Body”. Here the vague element “Soul” is replaced by the more tangible concept of “Emotions”, while “Spirit” is at times substituted by “Mind” for the same reasons.
The exact specifications of the model’s parts are:
Body – everything that falls within the concept of “physical body”, including the physical condition of a person, his body, constitution and health.
Emotions – everything related to the psycho-emotional sphere.
Mind (Intellect) – everything related to the human mind, to ratio (lat.), to logic, to mental analysis and perception of the world.
Spirit – the strongest and most mysterious power within a human being. The highest vibrations of a human personality, feeling of internal religiousness, intuition and deep feelings such as love and compassion.
Having a strong spirit means that you know exactly what to do. It gives you energy to act when you are afraid, even when everybody is against you. But you feel that you are right and act.
The main advantage of working with the described parts is that this metaphor allows for the study of the consequences of a trauma for the personality in whole and for each of its four parts in a delicate manner, without openly confronting the trauma of a client.
After I developed and implemented the above method, I realized that Merilyn Murray uses a similar approach to the integrity of personality. She says that just as a stool can only be steady on four legs of the same length, the personality can be stable only if all its parts are closely tied and stay in balance. This means integrity.
It is possible to describe the essence of the method as the following:
Step 1. Status quo. The client chooses five representatives – one to reflect each of the four parts of personality and one for the personality as a whole, which I call “Focus”. The therapist tells the representatives to find suitable places for themselves. Thus, we see the state of integrity at present from which the client and the facilitator can obtain very important information on which parts have been traumatised and on the intensity of traumatisation. Quite often, it instantly becomes clear, with which parts and issues we need to work with first to make the whole system (the client and his four parts) harmonious. Of course, the facilitator then needs to be aware of how the constellation of parts would look when the integrity of personality is whole and untraumatised. My own experience is described further in the article.
Step 2. Interview. The therapist continues interviewing the client while all five representatives of the personality can move freely in the constellation. The client and the therapist might both see how client’s spoken words influence each of his inner parts and their interaction with each other during the constellation process and helps the client to articulate a truly efficient constellation objective.
Step 3. Forming hypotheses for the constellation objective. Based on the constellation work in the first and second step, the client phrases his request for the constellation. There can be a single request or several requests at the same time. If the client states several requests for the constellation, I would recommend reducing their number, until three or fewer variants remain for testing.
Step 4. Hypotheses relevancy testing. For every objective chosen by the client, a short aptitude test is performed in order to choose the most urgent and promising one. In this test the effectiveness of a constellation made with the particular objective is indicated by how the four inner parts and the Focus respond to its hypothesis. While the success of a constellation is shown by these five figures being in a position of holism and harmony at the end, the “Figure of Good Result” can be used for test purposes. One after the other such a figure is introduced for each hypothesis and all the other figures asked to look at it. They gather all possible resources they can gain from the “Figure of Good Result”. From their different reactions and positions the facilitator draws a conclusion on the effectiveness of the tested objective hypotheses.
Step 5. Final choice of objective and execution of the constellation. The therapist discusses the results obtained in the test with the client. They agree on the final phrasing of the chosen objective and perform the constellation.
Step 6. Control. After the constellation is completed, the therapist can put the client’s “Body”, “Emotions”, “Mind (or Intellect)”, “Spirit” and “Focus” into the constellation setting once again to look at their attained integrity and compare it with the results of initial testing. These points will be described separately in detail below.
How trauma influences the inner parts of a client (step 1. Status-quo)
As I have observed, there are many common tendencies in implementing this method on clients with serious traumas. Below I am going to describe some observations, obtained from my eleven years of experience with his method.
In cases of severe trauma (personal trauma or ancestral trauma), the Body is usually considered separately from the rest. As it feels unwell the Body may bend down or curl up, sit down or even lay on the floor. At the same time the Body often looks at the Spirit. As a rule, there is an observable link between Body and Emotions, which often either avoids Body or hangs onto it.
The Emotions are also left in a poor state, as they incur most of the trauma. They often distance themselves from the other parts, standing aside and looking to the floor. It is emotions that takes the full brunt of the trauma. In this case, the facilitator can introduce a figure at which the Emotions would look at in the constellation. If there is a strict border between Emotions and the other parts, the facilitator should put the figure right at the border. This usually brings in some energy, felt by both the client and the group, and it becomes possible to start the constellation effectively.
Intellect (I) or Mind
Note that, even when all the other parts crumble or sink deeply into the trauma, the Mind, remains as steady as a tin soldier, keeps holding up, and, surprisingly, rarely feels discomfort.
I discovered that in cases of severe trauma, such as violence or incest, it is the Mind that takes the main defensive role in the life and psyche of a human upon itself. The Mind figure is almost always bigger than all the other figures (see ill.1) and often dominates them (as the person cultivates and endorses his mental qualities and abilities above and sometimes to the detriment of all others).
Note that the Mind does not play a negative role in this situation. By taking charge the Mind helps a person to not sink too deeply into the trauma. After an effective constellation work, when there is no longer a need to defend one’s psyche the Mind can take a break, it diminishes and takes a more balanced position towards the other elements.
When working with incest and other traumas caused by sexual violence or assault in one’s kin, I often come across situations in which a client is not able to get the resource from the aggressor who is a member of his/her family. Thus, the client can say, for instance, “This couldn’t have happened to my ancestry. All of them were Christians (faithful, righteous, kind…)”, though the constellation clearly shows corresponding dynamics, and both client and his representative display significant body reactions that affirm the truth of the information arisen during the constellation. The loyalty of the client is stronger than obvious facts. In this case I always work with the Mind.
I can ask a client to say to their great-grandfather, who, for example, raped his own daughter, the following:
“Dear great-grandfather, I see all the difficult things you have experienced. And my soul shudders, because it cannot accept this. But in my mind I understand that if there had not been such a situation, I wouldn’t have been born. And I bless you for my life that was given to me at such high costs. And I bow low, with all my love and respect, to all the difficult things you have experienced, to such a high price you have had to pay for my life (there I usually explain that it is much more difficult for a person to be an aggressor than a just man).”
When the client thinks over the meaning of the words that establish the fact that if there had been no incest, this girl would have married another man and the client might not have been born at all, he has an insight and gathers his strength to bow (I saw this in my constellations many times). After bowing to his ancestry, the client becomes “smaller”, comes down from his pedestal, is able to face the aggressor (rapist) and attain the corresponding resources. Then we can say that the client’s Mind was transformed from being a guardian to being a co-worker.
I’ll present one more example. In a test exercise the Mind was pacing as if it was a soldier or a guard, separating Spirit and Body from Emotion. Body and Spirit felt rather comfortable and stood close to each other in harmony, though Emotions felt depressed and carried a great burden, from which the Mind was defending the other parts. When we drew the figure of the burden away from Emotions and put it separately into the constellation, Intellect became able to stop guarding and look at the other parts. It took a more harmonious and stable place among them, although we hadn’t started analysing the situation through the constellations approach yet.
The Spirit usually sets the pace for all other parts. I often observed that all other elements orient themselves around the Spirit. In my opinion, the proverb “Mens sana in corpore sano”  should be transformed into “Where is a sound mind – there is a body obedient to it”.
As one might imagine the universe is based on hierarchy. Only a higher force can shape a lower, not the other way around. The spirit creates a form for itself… and if this spirit is damaged, the form will also be damaged. This is a universal law. It is worth adding that my constellations experience tells me that all of the inner parts will, in the end, be oriented towards Spirit.
Arrangement of internal parts in the case of an intact personality
In my experience, people who lived through heavy, tragic dynamics are usually very spiritual. If that is the case Spirit takes the control function upon itself much more intensively than Mind, and in this way becomes much bigger that the other parts (see ill. 2). It is paradoxical, but the most severely traumatised clients in my psychotherapeutic practice are highly spiritual people.
It is very difficult to work with them. Working with inner parts is like a gift from above that makes the therapy of traumatised people much easier, as such clients can see with their own eyes that their Spirit is frequently torn from other parts, especially from Body and Emotions.
I have a lot of experience in working with religious people, adepts of various cults, etc. They are always interested in becoming aware of their own spirit, it is both very interesting and useful for them. Moreover, these people often find that their spirit does not look in the direction of God (or Supreme being, Fate, or anything similar) but looks somewhere else. It makes them quickly analyse the situation and find the causes of this “lurching”; in any event, they find the energy for and interest in work.
Often, we found resources for spiritual changes with a client while doing a constellation. And spiritual changes of clients in my practice were usually followed by remarkable changes in the everyday lives of clients.
Position of Inner Parts when the Personality is Integral
In most harmonious situations, the parts of a client are gathered together, forming a circle or a semicircle, or all the figures form a chain, supporting and lending strength to each other. According to my observations, in cases where there is a chain, Spirit usually stands foremost, before Intellect, Emotions and Body.
Illustration 3 shows the different variations of harmonious placement of the inner parts, that I saw throughout my practice.
Phrasing Hypotheses and Testing Them (steps 2-4)
In traumatic cases the client often builds up a strong resistance, which is why implementing this kind of model is very useful. It brings in the resource, not to directly overcome the opposition, but to avoid the tension and eliminate its causes. The goal is not to put a person with a serious problem into an even more traumatic situation, in which he would have to fight with himself and against the things that were helping him to survive.
After taking note of the disposition and mood of all the inner parts and the Focus in their status quo during the preliminary testing, it is reasonable to continue the conversation with the client, allowing all the figures to move freely (step 2). Thus, the therapist is able to follow the reactions in their constellation whenever the client contributes to a particular topic more precisely. The facilitator can estimate to what degree the topic affects the client and the kind of influence it has, which contributes to formulating the request for the constellation. Next, the client tries to define one or several requests for constellation with the help of the therapist (step 3).
The subsequent step is the principal one – To test the effectiveness of the constellation when using the request variants previously developed without starting on the actual constellation the hypothesis (step 4).
For this, it is necessary to bring in the “Figure of Good Result” which represents the optimal outcome for working with a given objective-hypothesis. After doing this, we need to ask all the parts of the client to look at this figure, to take something (i.e. a resource) from it, to experience the newly obtained state and to take appropriate place within the space of the constellation. If there are several issues (I do not recommend testing more than three request variations), the therapist should sequentially test each of them, paying attention to any possible changes in the general situation.
Keeping track of how the position and state of the parts and the Focus are changing in regard to their default position (before the test), the facilitator is able to draw a conclusion on the potential effectiveness of the constellation for every option. When choosing the final version of the objective to work with, the facilitator will be guided by the level of harmony and integrity between the inner parts, the Focus and the “Figure of Good Result”
Take the situation in illustration 1 as an example. Let’s imagine that after having an interview with a client there is a choice of three options A, B and C. After conducting a test through the “Figure of Good Result” for every version of the issue we see following situations showed on the illustrations 4a, 4b and 4c (to simplify the process, the “Figure of Good Result” is not shown on the illustrations).
In version A (illustration 4a) we see that Emotions started turning in the direction of the Focus (client’s representative), the other parts of the client are all looking at Emotions, and the Focus, who had been looking at the floor, turned to the Mind. Such a result allows the Client to advance towards life and makes the Mind step away and turn itself along with Spirit to the “suffering” Emotions, reduce itself and lessening control.
In version B (illustration 4b), the Focus could look in the direction of the Emotions, Spirit or Mind. As a result the Emotions turned and looked at the Focus while the Body moved a bit closer to the other parts and looking at Emotions. Mind became able to relax, to diminish gradually and then to recede, giving other parts room to start moving towards each other and the Focus. I would choose this option as the most promising.
In version C (illustration 4c), the Focus and, subsequently, Spirit and Body, became able to look at Mind. Emotions was able to swing around and look at Spirit. In response, Mind diminished gradually and stepped away, looking at the Client and at Emotions.
This result is quite good, but from my point of view, it is only halfway to option B.
Choosing the final request and executing the constellation (step 5)
After doing the test, it is recommended to clarify where the client himself wants to go and why he wants to go there. In case there is a misunderstanding between the therapist and the client, it is possible to discuss what the client sees in every option and try to reach a consensus. If there are slight differences in the options chosen by the client and the therapist, I prefer picking the option proposed by the client. However, if he or she chooses the option that is certainly not optimal, I explain the reasons behind my proposition to the client. In such cases it usually turns out that the client did oversee or misunderstand something, or there were some important thoughts remaining on his mind that we had not clarified yet. In such cases we discuss this with the client and our following actions depend on how much the client is ready to “open up”. In my practice there have been some cases when the resistance of the client was so great that I decided not to perform a constellation at all, but suggest using other methods of psychotherapeutic treatment instead. However such cases are extremely rare.
To conclude, it is possible to test the effectiveness of the different alternatives of the systemic constellation method with a certain client in a short period of time – usually only taking up 15-20 minutes at the beginning of the interview. Moreover, the facilitator gains the opportunity to begin working immediately, starting right from the testing model without losing any energy. To do this the figures of the inner parts can be withdrawn from the constellation and only the client’s Focus remains within. Sometimes during the initial definition of the constellation objective and while testing the possible hypotheses, additional figures have to be added at the discretion of the therapist (parts of the client’s system or some abstract elements). Then, the most important elements can be reserved, this simplifies the constellation and saves time.
Controlling the client’s integrity after the constellation (step 6)
There is a question that always arises after performing a systemic constellation – how can we evaluate its efficacy? Debating the general success of a constellation goes beyond the focus of this article, as it can only be measured by the effective implementation of the results into real life. Nevertheless, it is important to discuss how the constellation influences the integrity of the client’s personality. As it is the integrity that is compromised as a result of trauma and we are able to explore this in the constellation with the inner parts, we can see whether it is restored by the constellation when examining the new positions and interaction of the Body, Emotions, Mind, Spirit and Focus. We can evaluate the effectiveness of the constellation by comparing the difference between the initial position (status quo) and the final position.
While for the client the result is the most important part, for me as a therapist it is further relevant to see whether my method has been effective as well. I do this by comparing the final systemic constellation of the inner parts with the hypothesis test performed in step 4 (after inserting a “Figure of good result” for the hypothesis we choose as the objective). This comparison tests the effectiveness of the method.
In my 11 year of practical experience with this method, all four parts and the Focus are, in the majority of cases, in the same position in the end as the one they have taken at the end of step 4. after the introduction of the “Figure of good result” into the current request. This indicates that we can rely on the position of the inner parts and Focus at the moment of insertion of the “Figure of Good Result” when choosing the objective for the systemic constellation work. I always try to verify this, so the client could clearly see the results of the therapy. The results are always surprising, the results line up like a mathematical formula once the systemic equation is solved.
Besides help with diagnosis, this approach has one more advantage. The client can distance himself from his trauma, gain a new perspective of himself from the outside, see his own state and interact with different parts of himself that he will usually find very interesting. And where interest lies, energy is born. Moreover, the client is able to use this new-born energy in further efforts to cope with his trauma .
Thus, the given method not only helps to simplify issue diagnosis, the systemic constellation beginning and process, but also allows testing the success and eventual effectiveness of each performed constellation.
I have been working with this model in its finalised form for more than eleven years. And what surprises me most is that the result of the constellation is always accepted and internalised by a client with severe trauma much more easily and quickly if we begin the constellation with the implementation of the given model. Moreover, the acceptance of the client is easier than is considered to be possible in trauma therapy. It also logically follows, that from all the existing possibilities of therapeutic work with a client we choose the one that leads to the creation of the highest integrity personality possible, i.e. one that removes the splintering within the client most effectively and, accordingly, has the greatest healing potential for the client. In other words, we can obtain the best (biggest) resource when the constellation is done in the described way and it is not difficult to bring the results achieved in the therapy into the life of the client.
However, I will note that after performing such intensive work, I assign clients tasks to perform at home and, if they agree, I use other methods of psychotherapy between constellations (usually in severe trauma cases we need to have several therapeutic sessions).
To conclude I would like to note that this method has given me the opportunity to successfully treat some types of schizophrenia, lupus erythematosus, viral hepatitis type C and other systemic diseases, as well as to work with many incest cases, sexual violence traumas and many other ordeals. You can find the feedback on my website: https://iis-berlin.ru/en/feedback/
The method described above allows us to work with clients through constellations in cases that have been considered to be nearly hopeless. It broadens the theoretical framework of systemic constellations and brings depth to the psychological assistance the client receives through the systemic constellation. It fills the therapy with life. I am continuously perfecting the method and as of 2013 I have been presenting it in reports and workshops at various congresses and conferences. As a result, I was offered to conduct long-term teaching programs called “Spiritually-oriented systemic constellations”, “Systemic constellations in the case of severe trauma” and “Symptomatic constellations in cases of systemic illness”. They are Partially available in an online format . I also conducted an introductory seminar on this method for the DGfS association of Rheinland-Pfalz in Mainz in August 2014. Taking into account that German and English-speaking specialists are interested in these works, I found it beneficial to translate this article for publication.
I’m very thankful for any feedback, notes and suggestions the reader may have on enriching the model. My contact details can be found on the website.
I am also thankful to the therapists who are able or will be able to implement the method presented in this article, or its fragments, in their practice.
- Spokoinaya N.V. Kratkosrochnaja integral’naja terapija travmy cheloveka, sem’i, organizacii, gruppy, obshhestva [Short-term integral therapy of trauma of a person, family, organization, group, society], Voronezh Publ. 2016, 108p.
- Spokoinaya N.V. Chetyrehchastnaja model’ Duh – Intellekt – Jemocii – Telo dlja obnaruzhenija skrytoj travmy detstva i raboty s nej. Psihoterapija. [Quadripartite Model Body-Emotions-Mind-Spirit for detection of hidden Childhood Trauma and its treatment. Psychotherapy], 2015, №11 (155), pp. 75-77.
- Spokoinyi N. Wozu Aufstellungen in Online-Modus? Praxis der System Aufstellungen [What are online constellations? Practice of Systemic Constellation], 2016, pp. 112-126.
. B – Body, C – Client’s representative or Focus, E – Emotions, I – Intellect (Mind), S – Spirit
. A sound mind in a sound body. (Satire X of the Roman poet Juvenal)