Ortho-Bionomy is based on the Osteopathic Technique of “Strain and Counterstrain.” In 1954, Lawrence Hugh Jones, DO, FAAO (1912–1996), made an observation that led to the development of his Strain and Counterstrain Technique. A graduate of the College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons in California in 1936, Dr. Jones was running a successful practice in Oregon when he attempted to treat a patient who had been suffering with back pain for two-and-a- half-months.
After six weeks of treatment, the patient had not improved. The patient was unable to sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time. Dr. Jones spent one visit only attempting to find a comfortable position for the patient. He passively put the patient in a variety of positions until he "achieved a position of surprising amount of comfort, the only benefit he had received in four month's treatment." Afterwards, Jones began to experiment with this discovery.
He initially called this approach to pain “Spontaneous Release by Positioning.” His paper that describes his new approach was published in The DO, January 1964, and made a large impression on the Osteopathic community. Later, he began to call his work "Strain and Counterstrain." This form of therapy is now known generically as "Positional Release."
In most cases, the position created is the original position of injury or an abnormal bony relationship. As in Ortho-Bionomy, the basic premise behind this technique is that shortening a muscle in spasm "turns off" that muscle and allows it to "reset" itself to a more normal state. The theory behind this method is based on resetting a malfunctioning proprioceptor, specifically the spindle cell.
Family Constellations are a unique healing process that reveals the hidden dynamics in family systems. Since I began working with Family Constellations in 2002, I have had the opportunity to experience how the constellation process helps heal parental and ancestral entanglements that may be in the way of our true potential. My interest in facilitating is not just to help clients find a healthy and resourced place in their family system but to support them to manifest a whole and satisfying life.
Family Constellations, as a field of healing therapy, continues to evolve, but many of the core ideas developed by Bert Hellinger continue to remain the cornerstones of the work. Hellinger’s observations of natural laws operating in family systems continue to be helpful to understanding the issues presented by clients. His powerful insight that each family system requires that all members be connected and remembered in a particular way remains true.
If someone in the system is not remembered correctly then younger members, out of love or the need to belong, can become "entangled" with their ancestors, particularly with those who have been excluded, forgotten or shunned or have experienced a difficult fate. In almost all Family Constellations these unconscious entanglements are behind the challenges experienced by our clients.
When we can uncover and resolve these hidden and unexpected dynamics operating within the family system, we can find a healthy and respectful place for all members of the family system that release the client’s burden and suffering. This also provides the client with a new image of their healthy place in the family system.
Being a representative in Family Constellations has remained one of the most profound experiences of my life. I originally came to a constellations workshop for my own healing but the opportunity to be a representative gave me such amazing insight into human nature, my own inner life and my place in my own family system. Taking essential qualities of who or what I was representing, sensing thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations in my body and knowing what is true even with no prior knowledge of what has occurred historically has been an exhilarating and powerful experience each time.
One of the greatest gifts from Family Constellations is that they provide us with a renewed sense of who we are and how to move into our lives with dignity and grace. At the center of the process is an experience of genuine truth which can become a “felt sense” over time. When we connect this inner sense of truth with the world we inhabit, we can discern falsehood from truth and use that to navigate our lives, evolve into our best selves and create a good life.