By Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP
Imagine a constellation in the sky -- a grouping of stars that depicts you and your ancestors.
These ancestors have imbued you with strengths to face the struggles of your daily life. And ironically, some of your struggles may actually belong to these ancestors, not to you. You are “carrying” the struggles because they have been passed to you as a curious inheritance.
New studies that focus on epigenetics – the study of biological mechanisms that will switch genes on and off – are suggesting that we inherit experiences of our ancestors just as much as physical characteristics like eye color and nose shape.
However, these inherited traumatic experiences can be healed with Family Constellations, an unusual experiential approach that defies typical therapeutic categories. The Family Constellations approach is not talk psychotherapy, nor is it a true creative arts therapy. It has similarities to psychodrama although it most closely resembles sociometry, the sister method to psychodrama, as developed by Dr. J.L. Moreno.
(By Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP
Stephan Hausner is the author of an amazing book Even If It Costs Me My Life: Systemic Constellations and Serious Illness.
As a master facilitator and teacher of Family and Systemic Constellations, Hausner has become internationally renowned for specializing in illness and health, particularly working with illnesses that seem resistant to conventional medical treatment.
I haven’t yet had the chance to study with Stephan, although I have read his book (twice!) and include it on my reading list for my trainees. And now I’m in the middle of watching a wonderful-wow five-part documentary produced by Ali Mezey about his profound work.
In the documentary series, Stephan shows how transgenerational trauma influences illness and how hidden loyalties and entanglements to the ancestral system hinder physical healing. It is designed for people who want greater insight about their own illness or the illnesses of people in their lives. It is also an excellent resource for professionals of all kinds who want to work more effectively with people who are ill.
By Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP
Today I would like to tell you a little story about a family of mice. It isn't a pretty story, but I promise that it will be meaningful in your own life, or in the lives of people you know.
Once upon a time, there was a group of male mice living in a science laboratory that were exposed to a beautiful aroma.
It was a pleasing aroma, a smell like a combination of cherries and almonds, that made your eyes dreamy, your body happy and your brain swoon. Then the mice, under the influence of this beautiful aroma, were traumatized with electric shocks.
These mice eventually reproduced to birth the next generation of mice. And, as it happens, this second generation of mice birthed a third generation, which I’ll call the “grandchildren mice.”
Now these grandchildren mice were living happily in the laboratory, without a care in the world, when the scientist allowed them to sniff that lovely aroma of a scent like cherries and almonds.
By Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP
A man wrote to Dear Abby, the syndicated advice column, to voice his distress about his wife’s hoarding behavior. The letter was titled Key to Wife's Hoarding May Be in Her Genes. “Abby,” the name used by columnist Jeanne Phillips, offered her answer.
I offer my view here too – it’s so important that people know about their options!
Here's the letter:
DEAR ABBY: My wife and I and our 13-year-old son live in a nice home we have been remodeling for the last eight years. The problem is, my wife has a hard time getting rid of anything, and she constantly brings home "new projects" that take up space but never get done. At one point, we hired a professional organizer because we had reached the point of having "goat trails" as the only means of navigating our way around the house. We also have a barn that is chockablock full.
I have heard that the root cause may be due to an anomaly on a chromosome. How should I approach my wife about getting some genetic testing done? Her mom is also a professional pack rat. The clutter is taking its toll on our relationship -- we are in marriage counseling -- and on our family. We have so much stuff I can't breathe. -- SUFFOCATING IN MONTANA
Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP, is an author, trainer and psychotherapist who promotes, practices and teaches experiential methods including psychodrama, Family and Systemic Constellations, mindfulness and Tarot imagery.
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