by Tim Hallbom and Kris Hallbom
Twenty NLP practitioners met in Vail, Colorado with the intention of exploring the psycho-spiritual motifs that exist in the consciousness of people and the systems in which they live. Using ideas inspired by family systems innovators Bert Hellinger and Virginia Satir, Chaos Theory, Systemic Thinking and Morphogenetic Fields; the group worked with patterns resident in family and organizational systems.
We started off by investigating why people attract certain kinds of imprint experiences. Everyone has some kind of issue in his or her life that seems to be an ongoing theme. It is common for a person to have a cluster of imprints that play a part in this ongoing theme or motif. For example, some people have themes around the fear of being abandoned. These people will unconsciously attract experiences of abandonment in their personal and working relationships. Other people have ongoing issues around love, trust, self esteem, patience, and so on. If you look at a person’s family pattern or family history, it is common to find that this ongoing theme has existed within the family for generations.
How is it that we become attractors for these kind of experiences? Could it be that there are motifs or patterned themes behind various imprints? To explore these questions, we delved into the family systems work of Bert Hellinger.
Hellinger typically works with a large group of people. His method is to have the client choose people from the audience to role play the client himself. Each person acts as a surrogate for the family member that he or she was chosen to portray. Hellinger then has the client place the surrogate family members in spatial relationship to the client. By creating a spatial sorting of the client’s family or origin, the unconscious dysfunctional themes that exist in the family system became incredibly apparent.
It’s as if the process of spatially sorting the family opens a gateway into the unconscious family mind of the client. Each one of the surrogate family members is like an antenna tapping into the larger unconscious mind of the client’s family system. The surrogates are able to retrieve information that they normally wouldn’t have access to because they are tapping into something outside of themselves.
For example, in work that we did (inspired by Hellinger), one of the clients (this example is a composite sketch for the purpose of illustration) placed his mother, father, brother and sister directly behind him, with each family member standing the same distance away. The client reported that he had always felt compelled to do well, look good, and hold the family together. He felt a huge responsibility, as if the world were weighing down on his shoulders. The client also had a stillborn brother, who would have been his older brother. He had a deep sense of his brother being on his shoulder, although he had never realized it before. The client then realized that he was unconsciously playing out his stillborn brother’s destiny.
The client also realized he shouldn’t have been the one to have to hold the family together, that it should have been his brother’s job. The people playing his mother and father, who were placed way behind the client, felt as though they were, “out of touch” with the client. The people playing his brother and sister said they felt compelled to keep secrets.
After each role-player expressed his or her feelings and they were acknowledged by the client and by each other, they moved to a more resourceful spatial arrangement. The client palced his parents out in front of him with all of his siblings facing towards them. The siblings were placed in the order of their births beginning with the person role playing the stillborn; who, by the way, felt very good to be acknowledged by the parents and the other children. The client told the stillborn that he would no longer live his life for him and felt very much liberated after doing so. After the process, the client said that he felt a deep sense of peace and connection within himself and his family.
It is our understanding that there is a strong bond connecting people in natural family systems that can not be broken. Even if a family member disowns his or her family, or is kicked out of the system, that person is still unconsciously bonded to the family system and is part of the larger family mind. The same applies to stillborn children, or babies who were miscarried. They are still bonded to the family system.
When a family forgets about these family members and doesn’t include them in the system, or when a family member is disowned, then the family system will try unconsciously to balance the system and make up for the loss. It is common for many dysfunctional patterns to emerge as a result of this natural equalization process. In the case of the client with the stillborn child on his shoulder, he made up for the loss unconsciously by trying to live out the stillborn child’s destiny.
The only way a family system can be truly balanced is to consciously acknowledge the gaps that are creating the dysfunctional patterns and themes within the system; and then fill in those gaps with the appropriate information. By doing so, the system will integrate the new information and regain its balance, thus releasing the attractors for the negative imprint experiences that were unconsciously drawn in as part of the process of equalization. In the case of the previously mentioned client, it was important for the system as a whole to reintroduce the stillborn child back into the system and then to have the client acknowledge that he would no longer live his life for him.
Interestingly, the word “form” is a part of the word “information.” The act of bringing new information into the family system or field heals the form within the field. This is why it is so important to reeducate the family system with the new information, because then it can begin to evolve into a form within its field of existence that is more resourceful for all of the parts that exist within the whole As the field learns to operate in a way that is more resourceful, the whole system will begin to attract experiences that are reflective of its higher learnings. If the field and the system within the field are balanced and equalized, then attractors ofore positive experiences will begin to spontaneously emerge and new themese and motifs will begin to form.
Because we live in a holographic universe, it is only natural that by doing this process, the client would be able to create healing throughout the family field by introducing new information into its system. The client is an integral part of the larger family mind. If he can tune into that larger family mind, then he can essentially heal it. With the help of the surrogates, the client is able to tap into the field that represents his family with ease. He is then able to give new information through the help of the surrogate parts of the whole system and the family field.
The members of the Vail group were able to discover the psycho-spiritual motifs of the family unconscious mind in a very profound way. The people who role played the client’s family members in every group were able to deliver information about the client’s family system with amazing accuracy. In ever case, the client reported that the attitudes and language were incredibly accurate for each of the role played family members. It became evident that the surrogate family members who were role playing the client’s family members experienced the exact same thoughts and feeling as the real family members.
This leads us to a preliminary assumption that there is a family system unconscious that acts like a morphogenic field that can be tapped into with the appropriate positive intent and interpersonal skill. Family themes, story lines, and motifs that had been hidden from the conscious awareness of the clients in every case were remarkably exposed.
The person with the chronic hip pain reported that the pain was gone and he felt different at the time. The person with the issues around the divorce at first felt very unsettled with the work, but later felt a profound sense of clarity about what unconscious processes in the family system led to the divorce. He said it brought him a great sense of peace once these themes had been discovered and acknowledged. The person with the health condition reported a clarity of insight, but couldn’t determine whether anything had changd. She said that time would tell.
Later, the same methods and processes were applied to business organizations. Again, this resulted in gathering important information about the ways in which the system was functional and dysfunctional.
To begin to play with these ideas, you can use a method developed by Lucas Derks, an NLP trainer at the IEP Institute in Holland. He has you imagine yourself in relationship to all the people in the world, near and far, and check your submodalities of location for different peoples. Notice where the people of Africa, China, the USA, and your own city or town are in terms of submodalities. Then place people you love or are close to in your mind’s eye. You will begin to get an idea of how you have unconsciously arranged them. Test what happens by moving different people. Do this with ecology in mind (you can always put them back). Try shifting the direction they face or your elevation in relation to them. Using submodalities like this is one of the ways the Vail group future paced the systemic processes they were developing. Lucas Derks is publishing a book on this internal social panorama. Look for it. The manuscript has excellent ideas.
Much of the program was recorded, and we intend to produce written material describing some of the processes used. Look for announcements in future issues of Anchor Point.
Those participating were: David Paul, Tim Hallbom, Kris Johnson Hallbom, Lynda Fudold, Jolene Houtz, Rene Norcross, Mike Haley, Jonathon Rice, Andrea Stahsworth Rice, Louis Modling, Al Sargent, Marilyn Sargent, Ross Gigliotti, Sally Chamberlaine, Bill Weber, Cynthia Becker, Jay Arthur, Don Blackerby, Ron Wilkins and Gail Border.
Kristine Hallbom is the co-founder of the NLP Institute of California and is a principle author and developer of the the WealthyMind™ Program. Recognized for her ability to translate complex ideas into practical skills, and for her warm, approachable style, Kris has trained and coached clients throughout Europe, South America, Australia, and the United States. She is a long time student of NLP and Systemic Thinking, and holds a degree in Psychology and Languages.
Tim Hallbom is an internationally recognized NLP trainer, author and developer. He is co-founder of the NLP Institute and WealthyMind™ Program. He is best known for helping people to make transformative personal changes, and for his work in identifying and changing unconscious beliefs. Tim is co-author of the best selling book, Beliefs: Pathways to Health and Well-Being and a co-author of NLP: The New Technology of Achievement, which has been listed as one of the 50 best self help books of all time.