My interview with psychologist, María Carmona, and Dr. Johannes Beckmann, has a greater impact on me than I could ever have anticipated. I’ve met them to talk about their specialist area; family constellations. I thought it might entail stargazing with all the family. It turns out that it has nothing to do with astrology and everything to do with resolving trauma passed on through the generations which, unbeknownst to the individual, may be stopping them from progressing in areas of their lives.
“Everything that has ever happened in the universe is saved at an energetic level,” says Dr Beckmann. “It’s not only saved in the mind. The brain couldn’t hold all that information. It’s saved in the soul, the informational field of every person…” “And in their family system,” adds María. The theory is we are all born into a family system, made up of our parents, grandparents, siblings and so on. These systems are governed by what psychotherapist Bert Hellinger termed as the “Orders of Love”. When there is a deep trauma, such as a child’s death, grief can be frozen and, if not resolved, the family system gets disordered and this trauma can resurface later in the form of conflict or disease.
A powerful intuition
What if a client isn’t aware of a trauma in the family or knows much about them at all? “That’s when phenomenology comes into play,” says Maria. I’m trying to get my head around the term as she explains how a therapy session, offered to individuals and couples, works. “We carry all our family with us. I see you with your whole family… your mother, your father…” she says. “Imagine that your father lost his mother when he was three.” My eyes widen. Stop there. There is no way she could have known that. Dr. Beckmann’s expression is a mixture of wonder and knowing when I tell them that her example is the truth. “Phenomenology,” he says, “intuition. Maria does this all the time.” As she elaborates on the deeply personal consequences of such a trauma, I’m grateful for the box of tissues on the coffee table. Word of mouth is how their clients find them, many of whom attend their family constellation workshops on the island. It’s not about reasoning pain out with your mind, but at an emotional, energetic level. “The system is always looking for resolution,” says Dr. Beckmann. During the workshops, a subtle role-play might be used to help participants unblock.
Where is it hurting in your life? Relationships, work issues, family problems… Like memory rippling through a family system, I feel the ripples of our encounter wash over me days later, shedding light and bringing new understanding.
Text by Emily Benet | Photos by Sara Savage