Symbols and Images in the Modality of Systemic Family Psychotherapy
The problem of psychotherapeutic work with symbols and images in the popular in modern conditions method of systemic family constellations, founded by Bert Hellinger, is considered in the article. Psychotherapeutic work in this method covers the content of the unconscious at three levels: personal, generic and collective unconscious. Each of these levels has its own specific symbolism, understanding of which should be possessed by a psychotherapist working in this area of psychotherapy. One of the fundamental mechanisms of the systemic family constellations method is the work with symbols and images that reflect certain mental structures. In the process of conducting a psychotherapeutic session, the client or the substitutes during group work experiences arise that reflect the dynamics in the unconscious structures of the psyche of the client. Similarly with other methods, the language of the unconscious client is reflected through symbols, images, fantasies, metaphors, on the basis of which the therapist builds a session strategy. In the method of systemic family constellations, much attention is paid to the interconnections between the structures of the psyche, which B. Hellinger calls the "orders of love." The orders of love are those laws and patterns on the basis of which the relationships between the structures of the human psyche are built. These relationships can be in a normal state, and then a person feels holistic and integrated and they can be broken, and this causes symptoms or problems. B. Hellinger singles out many similar connections or “orders of love” in the human psyche. The main "orders of love" and their violations arise in the relationship between parents and children, between husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, men and women. Symptoms, as a rule, symbolically reflect the contradiction between inner experiences and behavior, for example, inner experience is based on the rejection of someone, while outwardly this is not demonstrated. Working with a problem or symptom in the method of systemic family constellations, the therapist seeks to eliminate this contradiction and thus transform the negative relationship (the order of love) into a constructive one. Symbols of constructive relationships are feelings of respect and acceptance for other people.
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