Family Constellations: A Practical Guide to Uncovering the Origins of Family Conflict by Joy Manne PH.D.
Joy Manne’s Family Constellations is an influential guide and empowering explanation to the Bert Hellinger’s Family Constellations method. As I first began this book, I must admit that I have never heard or read of this therapeutic tool. I found the process of Bert Hellinger’s Family Constellations method most baffling and yet I felt a strong pull toward the energy of this book.
"A person's greatness is that which makes him/her equal to others"
Joy Manne uses a respectful, nonjudgmental tone with her writing. As I started reading, I experienced a welcoming invitation that had been presented to me as a reader. One must have an open mind before reading this book if you have never heard of this process. Understanding how the “altruistic and generous acts of our parents and ancestors bring benefit, while their harmful acts damage the energy field” can be overwhelming. I found myself having my own personal family history surface several times while reading this book. Moreover, I sensed a warmth and understanding of the complexities of the family unit as a whole. Joy Manne is very affirmative with the process of the slow and carefully chosen truth statements that one can achieve from the family constellation technique.
I also highly respect the author for some of the distractions and negativity that can appear during a session. For example, in some groups, all participants pay the same fee and this may bring forth a competitive nature as one wishes to be “client.” Culturally, this might become an issue among many Americans. The topics of incest, hatred, forgiveness, and homosexuality could be misinterpreted. Joy Manne’s explanation is sensitive and thoughtful with each of these clarifications. Furthermore, I admire how the author expresses that the highest of ethics must be placed among those who facilitate a constellation to be aware of those who may not be stable. This can be solved with the client’s therapist or psychiatrist.
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This process I found could be easily misinterpreted. Yet, Joy Manne is able to address each of these issues with clarity and on each of the three levels of consciousness. This method is one of respect, understanding, honor, and gratitude. My only disappointment was that the book was short. I wanted more and was ready to observe the next step of Family Constellation. I would like to continue with this process and go to a workshop as an observer or representative. I also feel that this guide would be very useful to read accompanied with Bert Hellinger’s book, “Love's Hidden Symmetry: What Makes Love Work in Relationships.” I highly recommend Family Constellations: A Practical Guide to Uncovering the Origins of Family Conflict by Joy Manne PH.D.