The further development of constellation work by the “Greek School”
Dr. Dimitris Stavropoulos studied sociology, philosophy and psychology in Munich, he is the founder and head of the Greek Bert Hellinger Institute for Systemic Constellations, internationally recognized constellation, trainer and supervisor as well as systemic therapist (EFTA). On the basis of Hellinger’s family constellation work, he developed the “Greek school”, which both expands in terms of content and differs from the process and its framework conditions. As Hellinger writes and Stavropoulos finds again in the myths, constellation is one
“Science in motion”, ie it always reaches beyond itself. And whoever gets involved in this movement also grows beyond the past from moment to moment ‘(Hellinger, Liebe des Geistes 2008)
The most important further developments are:
- content: the so-called group resonance constellation method
- and the integration of ancient Greek myths / archetypes into the constellation work
- as well as the way of working in the collective of teachers and students
- dealing with the framework conditions
The group resonance method
When Stavropoulos set up the myths, we all quickly realised that we wanted to approach, uncover and solve the systemic entanglements in an archetypal way.
This means that there can be no individual constellation that relates only to one person and his / her concerns, but that each constellation shows both the case-maker and all other participants, be they representatives or “spectators”, his own involvement.
This shows a parallel to the Greek theater, which was never intended as mere entertainment, but always included methexis and catharsis through experiencing misery / emotion / pity and horror / fear (Greek éleos and phóbos). Methexis means sympathy, catharsis was a term from the sphere of the sacred and referred to cultic purification or, in a figurative sense, also spiritual purification. According to Aristotle’s catharsis conception, it is assumed that the viewer of the tragedy also has a purification as its effect his soul learns of these states of excitement (Poetics, chap. 6, 1449b26).
Both mean that the viewer is not only an observer, but also a participant / participant / affected person. Thus the constellation work became a group process and no longer an “individual therapy” and the term group resonance constellation was coined for it. (Stavropoulos, 2002).
Working with myths / archetypes
If you look at Greek mythology and tragedies, you can see that they describe family sagas and family dramas. Since these archetypes are valid for all of us and refer to the archaic communities of fate from which we descend, we can sense the connection with very far-reaching field forces and movements. So what could be more natural than trying to bring these two resources closer together and to connect them ?
If you look back to antiquity, you can see that Greek mythology, tragedies and, above all, philosophy are used as a means to uncover the hidden forces that dictate fate and, at the same time, to open up spaces of freedom and the possibilities for a successful change of fate.
Because in the Greek understanding of the world there were not only the gods of Olympus but also numerous powers of fate whose forces influenced or determined the lives of people. There was an understanding of fate that left only limited scope for personal intervention. Anyone who does not accept this fate and acts against it crosses a powerful boundary and this presumptuous act (hubris) then creates entanglements in the community of fate (family / clan), which have an effect over generations. These entangled fateful ties of the system members can be brought to light through the constellations and can thus be seen, perceived, recognized and redeemed. Because constellation work is about showing a way out by moving from a supposedly necessary change of fate to assuming fate (acknowledging what is).
In ancient Greek therapy (Gr. Θεραπεια) etymologically means first service to God / Spirit and later only service to people. This is how it was practiced. There was always a force involved that goes beyond the human. From this point of view, psychotherapy runs the risk of remaining in deception with the exclusive service to people, while the constellation work as a philosophy integrates the service to God / Spirit (Hellinger).
In such an approach / manner one can experience how archetypal dynamics work again and again through the individual fates and how this inclusion leads to interpretations beyond our usual.
Working in a group
The method of the Greek school is – even if D. Stavropoulos is the pioneer, so to speak – from the beginning continuously developed together with his students.
It is about working in a group with the students to gain new insights and to let everyone participate in the success. It goes here – in contrast to Hellinger’s solo (or later as a couple with his wife Sophie) as a we process.
In the following I would like to give an overview of the principles and CHARACTERISTICS of the Greek School, on the one hand regarding the framework conditions
- We are in resonance with the source Bert Hellinger and recognize him as the father of the family constellation in general, Stavropoulos as the father of the Greek school and myth constellation.
- This corresponds to a traditional master-student relationship. This is based on a principle of equality, which gives us strength and power. The dynamics of power-advisor versus dependency-client are dealt with by keeping the common goal in view – striving for. And it is complemented by the fact that all those involved are geared towards a common goal.
- Constellation is practiced as therapy in the sense of methexis and catharsis, ie. the personal constellation is no longer in the foreground.
- For this reason, in the Greek School there is no difference between the concerns of the bringer, the representative and the audience, everyone has the same seat and therefore everyone pays the same price.
- There is therefore no pre-planned personal constellation, as the primary topic is revealed by the group response. There is usually a topic or a myth that is set for the day, but there is no pre-planned personal constellation and the topic can then be very different from what was announced, as the primary topic is revealed by the group response.
- Personal topics are also revised in the role of “spectator or representative” of an archetype as well as personal constellations.
- There is a general principle of freedom in relation to time, space and events, a principle of inclusion, which balances the practice of exclusion that is practiced in everyday life, which indeed triggers / conditionally creates entanglements, i.e. in detail.
- Everyone can participate in a constellation, whether children, the elderly, the sick or animals, no one is excluded. A mother can always be there with her baby, everyone has a place.
- Free movement always. It is suggested to sit, but if someone wants to lie or stand, he is not only tolerated but also perceived as an element in the procedure. According to the group response, this is currently his process and this is included. *
* Footnote I owe this great wealth of experienced and current understanding and role as a constellator only because Dimitris let me sleep through a large part of the training. Yes, there was this phase in me where I only slept through the night the sleep was unavoidable and deep. Urgent when did classmates rebel and complain to Dimitris what makes her sleep, only she can go out or not come at all. But Dimitris said: “So, she can be with us at this moment.”
- Everyone comes and goes when they want. The one who comes late is often the missing element or the other force of the “apomichanis theos” ie. the “Deus ex machina” for the list that is currently running.
- Cell phones are left on or turned off in freedom – a phone call also says somethin
- Of course we also prefer calm because it makes the resonance process clearer, but we also allow restlessness.
- We allow many setups or movements of the setup at the same time in the room.
- We also address several issues at the same time: do we have, for example two mothers and two daughters with problems we can work with Klitemnestra and Elektra or Demeter and Persephone or if there are several couples with the myth we can address both issues.
- We do the Hellinger Mini constellations with 4 archetypes or movements. For example, for a new beginning in our life, I did the four phases of the goddess of the moon Selene.
- We are persistent or generous therapists – we give ourselves the time it takes – constellations have already taken 4 hours and more.
- Even if the principle of freedom prevails, if someone wants to go, he is addressed according to his reasons – this follows the principle that walking can represent a symbol of an exclusion that is relevant in / for the current constellation, which is why walking explores and thus is involved
- Conversely, it can also be the case that the constellation / seminar ends much earlier than assumed and then everything ends. (i.e. not the time but the result counts)
- we also work subsequently with the implementation of the solution (more on this in the chapter Family Constellation in Everyday Life Practice)
This last point in particular is very important to me in my work and I am also one of the people who was significantly involved in its development. The so-called “victim” plays a decisive role in the implementation work.
Dr. Dimitris Stavropoulos offers a 2-year training course to become a “Systemic Constellator”. This training is recognized by the DGfS. Dr. Stavropoulos is a recognized system operator.
The detailed course content can be found here.