Hello, and welcome to our site. My name is Dr. George Georgiou and I would like to share my personal story with you. I believe that natural health and detoxification saved my life – now I want to help other people get healthy too...
Healing the soul
‘Beyond living and dreaming there is something more important...waking up.’
Just before starting to write this chapter I thought of its structure – my initial intention was to write about how the mind can influence the emotions and consequently influence our physical body – there is a lot of scientific research that has proven these connections. When I sat down to write I had ‘writer’s block’ – the words would not flow easily and after a few clumsy paragraphs I thought again.
There was a deeper gut feeling that was telling me not to reiterate all the science behind psychoneuroimmunology, which is the study of how the nervous and immune systems connect with our psychoemotional states, but to look at a deeper level – the level of the soul. After all, it is the soul or spirit or Higher Consciousness that is at the top of the pyramid, as discussed in Chapter 1. If you can heal the soul, you will pretty much heal the rest of the body on all its levels. Conversely, if you try healing the other levels of the body when there are spiritual issues outstanding, then you will achieve little overall healing. I have seen this occur in a number of patients over time and I will share such examples in the text below.
In many religions, spiritual traditions and philosophies, the soul is the spiritual or immaterial part of a living being, often regarded as eternal. It is usually thought to consist of one's consciousness and personality, and can be synonymous with the spirit, mind or self.
The more I work in the field of holistic health, the more I realize just how important is the healing of the soul. Often, using energy testing, I see patients who are completely blocked on the heart chakra because of past events and experiences and have perpetual relationship problems. I have also witnessed a number of patients who had a subconscious wish to die – this was made very clear with words and actions, but defied logic. It was exactly because of these subconscious forces related to systemic entanglements with other family members, that the person had no control over the consequences. We will discuss more about systemic entanglements below.
One of the most powerful therapies that I have encountered in all my training, that can help to heal on this very important and deep level, is ‘Hellinger’s Family Constellations’ or as I have called it on my website: ‘Hellinger’s Soul Healing.’ We were fortunate here in Cyprus, to have had a gifted facilitator and trainer, Stephen Victor, who spent about 18 months with a group of us – training us, but more importantly healing us; helping us to release constraints and open doorways to elegantly grow, change, expand; awaken and open our hearts to love – which is important in enabling one to become a facilitator to these family constellations.
It is crucially important that a facilitator of either gender can set aside their intellectual understandings and what they believe, and instead submit themselves to the ‘Knowing Field’ as it is from this field that he or she is informed, guided and directed as how to proceed in the identification and resolution of an issue.
Hellinger’s soul healing constellations work
It is often difficult to describe in words the work of Bert Hellinger and his Family Constellations, which we have called ‘Soul Healing’ as ultimately this is what this work boils down to. It is a powerful tool that bypasses the mind and goes right into the deeper soul. Family Constellations is the brainchild of German psychologist Bert Hellinger, and the outgrowth of years of pioneering work integrating systems theory (see below), psychotherapy, family and group therapy and phenomenology.
The family system or soul
At a deep level we are connected with everything, especially our family legacy – including our ancestors, whether we recognize it or not. Constellation work is based on a simple but profound idea: our well-being is tied to the well-being of our Family System, or ‘Family Soul,’ which includes the living, the dead and the generations that preceded us. It invokes an ancient practice (honouring the ancestors) with a post-modern spin (temporarily re-creating our ‘tribe’). Constellation work approaches individual pain or wounding in the larger context of the Family Soul, to which we are entangled, without even being aware of it. Moreover, we are often loyal to these family members, whether they are alive or dead, regardless of the consequences on our own lives.
This soul healing work goes way beyond, and differs from, psychotherapy as it is not the individual therapist’s skills that are imperative, to work with the individual person. Unlike psychotherapy, where the success of the outcome is very much correlated with the degree of training of the psychotherapist and whether these techniques which have been learned, are applied correctly in the appropriate case.
Psychotherapy addresses the psychological and emotional makeup of the person, but rarely touches the level of the soul – it is possible for people to spend months and years talking to a psychotherapist and still not address the level of the soul. Family constellation work utilizes the language of the soul – there is no real interest in the person’s story on the level of the personality, but it focuses on the heart of the matter with pin-point accuracy. I have seen more achieved in one family constellation than I could have achieved as a psychotherapist in 6 months.
In the soul healing constellation, the outcome is not determined by my own skills or relationship with the client, but more on tapping into the extended Soul of the family unit that is interconnected with the individual soul who is partaking in the constellation. It is the trust in this Greater Soul that will gradually find a resolution – so in that respect the person in the constellation can do without the individual therapist. The only role of the therapist is to tap into the Field nurturing this Greater Soul and facilitate the process in order to achieve the forgiveness, love and reconnections of the various souls who were alienated over time. This ability to bow to the Greater Soul does not require academic, university education or individual psychotherapeutic skills but humility of spirit to completely trust the guiding forces of this Greater Soul with whom one lives so intensely in the constellation.
How can we explain this Greater or Family Soul? One way to think about it is as a field of energy that we are all enveloped in, and are interconnected with, encompassing both the living and dead. The biologist Rupert Sheldrake, found in his research that related people, places, and animals exist in a ‘morphic field’ of energy which has both influence and memory. This invisible morphic field of energy links all family members much like it does a flock of birds, and any painful event within this family system will ultimately affect every single family member and will stretch across generations, including all the deceased family members who may have died many years ago.
As a result, people often carry these painful events of their ancestors through the generations, which often affect their beliefs, attitudes and behaviours. It is not that there is an external force that is determined to ‘punish’ us for the deeds of our ancestors, but more that energy cannot be created nor destroyed – however much we want to exclude something – it will be included, to bring things back into some type of balance. All soul systems work hard to maintain this balance, often to the detriment of the personalities involved.
Hellinger called these emotional wounds I mentioned, ‘systemic entanglements’ – these are traumatic or unresolved issues that have been hidden by the family such as a murder, an abortion or miscarriage, an infidelity, the premature death of a parent or child, incest, a secret related to inheritance issues, some other injustice or a painful event. Specifically, circumstances that can cause a systemic entanglement are those whereby a family member:
If any of your family members, whether dead or alive, went through any of the abovementioned circumstances, then it is very possible that they are systemically entangled.
Hellinger says these entanglements disturb our lives and manifest in the form of sudden illness or accidents, depression or feelings of isolation, physical and mental illness, as well as persistent relationship conflicts and dysfunction.
As all systems seek wholeness and balance then often we unwittingly identify with an ancestor's pain or issue and take it on as our own, or we may recreate this ancestor's trauma in our own lives in order to try and heal it. However, the family system can only reach a balance if every person, dead or alive, has a respected place within it.
This is what underlines the premise of systemic entanglements where our fate or destiny can become entangled with the fate or destiny of an ancestor, simply because they are part of our family system on a soul level. Anything that blocks the flow of love through the generations such as someone in the family system being ignored, rejected, exiled, forgotten; or if the order of the family is disturbed and the child does not take their place in this hierarchy and becomes the parent, or the eldest child becomes the youngest, then again this will block the flow of love through the generations.
In Hellinger’s Soul Healing the family system is comprised of a number of people such as: all the children, including the deceased and the still born; the parents and their siblings; the grandparents; the great grandparents, including even more distant relatives who suffered a particularly difficult or unjust fate; non-relatives who through their death or misfortune, someone else in the family benefited; previous partners of the parents and grandparents.
There is a fundamental principle that applies to all family systems – it simply says that all members have an equal right to belong. Whenever a member of the family system is alienated, this is the condition which causes another member of the family to develop a systemic entanglement that is beyond their logical, conscious understanding. It could be an uncle who committed suicide and this act stigmatized the family and so he was never talked about; an illegitimate child that no-one mentions or the traumatic death of a biological child that was too painful to remember; an abortion that was covered-up and never talked about due to the shame and guilt involved. These are a few examples but there are many more that may involve one’s profession, nationality, skin colour or gender.
Or, sometimes when a child dies young, the parents give the next child the same name. They effectively tell the deceased child, ‘you don't belong any more. We have a substitute for you.’ The deceased child can't even keep his or her own name. In many families such children are neither counted among the children, nor are they mentioned. Their fundamental right to belong is injured and denied to them and usually another member of the family becomes systemically entangled with them to make amends and reconnect on a soul level – this may mean that another child becomes anorectic and finally dies, to honour and acknowledge the deceased sibling.
This may sound bizarre if it occurred on a conscious level, but this is not the case – it is clearly on a subconscious, systemic level and a way that the system balances itself. As the fundamental family dynamic is that all family members have an equal right to belong, this cannot tolerate injury or injustice. The way that the family system balances when someone is excluded, is another family member will become subconsciously loyal to the excluded member.
Let’s take an example of a systemic entanglement – an uncle dies suddenly of cancer without warning and silence descends over the family due to the shock. The niece develops cancer and even though her chances of survival are good she does everything in her power to avoid all sorts of treatment – there is a deeper wish to die. She really wants to reconnect with the uncle who has been disconnected on a soul level from the family system – she wants to go into the grave and honour him and be loyal to him – it is an act of deep, deep love for the uncle, even though it involves her own sacrifice. These dynamics are often seen by therapists working with chronically ill patients, particularly cancer, and are part of the systemic entanglements that need to be resolved for there to be deeper healing on all levels.
Another example may be a married man who fell in love with another woman and told his wife that he did not want her and rejected her based on capricious reasoning. There followed children with his new partner but there were many problems with his daughter who demonstrated a hatred towards him that was difficult to understand, as he truly loved and cared for her. In the family system, the daughter had become systemically entangled with the previous wife and felt the same hate that the wife had felt towards her ex-husband. This may even occur without ever meeting the previous partner as it is a hidden systemic compensatory force that is avenging the injustice done by other family members, securing justice for the earlier members and causing injustice for the younger.