Writing: Research Constellations and Worldviews
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Introduction to Family Constellations and the Articles
What follows this brief introduction is the first of three articles written and published in 2011 and 2012 in an international, peer-reviewed journal called The Knowing Field, which focuses on a recently evolved healing modality called Family Constellations (unrelated to astrology). They articles are now being revised for a second publication in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Healing and Caring (IJHC) which speaks to a wider audience and is edited and published by Dan Benor. I am including them here on my own website as they come out in the IHJC.
These articles take off from the difficulties practitioners have understanding, explaining, and getting researchers to take seriously—effects observed in constellation work. The problem is that these effects do not fit within the worldview of scientific materialism. Isolating five of these effects, the discourse then turns to questions like the following.
I originally wrote these articles within the context of the community of Constellation practitioners. For those of you not familiar with them, I will explain the original and basic form of Family Constellations in this Introduction. What they are, how they originated, and the unexpected light they shed on the nature of trauma constitutes interesting material in its own right. But the impetus for publishing these articles here to this wider audience goes deeper than that.
Many alternative healing modalities, from acupuncture to energy psychology to past life regressions, face similar problems dealing with the culture of scientific materialism. And thus the expositions here, along with the proposed approach to framing such modalities in the kind of worldview that can make more sense of them—can hopefully be of benefit in this wider context.
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This is Part Two of a three part article, originally published in an international, peer-reviewed journal (The Knowing Field) addressed to the worldwide community of family constellation practitioners. Though each article stands somewhat on its own, it is not possible to repeat previous expositions in each one. Clickable references to the relevant sections of previous articles as published in this journal are given to you as needed. Please feel to click on them for quick refreshers or updates if you haven't read the Part One.
The term "phenomenology" is also used here as it has been adopted in the constellation community, and means "to see freshly only what is." I have argued in Part One that this is not possible, namely that subjectivity is always present (Reddy, ijhca). Still that is what this term means in the original context of these articles—even though it has different, even opposite meanings in other contexts.
Synopsis of Part One
Part One of this series (Reddy, ijhca) began with a short introduction of the Family Constellation transgenerational healing modality. The constellation perspective is that descendants can inherit and suffer from unprocessed trauma of their ancestors (Reddy, ijhca2). This is different from personal trauma in that those suffering did not actually have the experiences from which that suffering arises.
The process of doing a group constellation to reveal and relieve these inherited ancestral traumas is a focused kind of unscripted psychodrama (Reddy, ijhca1). Part One also sketches the origins of this whole-systems oriented healing modal (Reddy, ijhca3)
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Path to the Present
Two issues ago, this three-part article began by describing five effects observed regularly in constellations (See Figure One). From the perspective of mainstream Western scientific materialism, these remain "impossible." This creates difficulties for us. At the same time, increasingly many empirical studies suggest potential explanations for these effects. But if so, why are these not more widely known? And why are scientists among those most likely to scoff?
Figure One—Observed Constellation Effects