Family Constellations-How to recover from a visit with the family after the holidays

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The holidays, the time of year where we eagerly travel to see our loved ones. Some people travel only a few miles. Some individuals travel several thousand miles. We seek the company of those who we belong to. People we shared our journey from childhood to adulthood. There are moments these same loved ones can say something simple and trigger a whole host of emotions-irritation, anger, frustration, exasperation, sadness…to list a few. You thought you were playing a simple game of scrabble. Then something else happened.

How do you recover from this? You arrive home. Back in your sanctuary and the feelings linger. Maybe you find the more you think about it the more the feelings grow. What you really seek is to let it go, for peace and calm.

Here is a simple exercise to gain a new point of view.

Three Chair Perspective. You will need three chairs, space to set them up about a few feet apart. Set two chairs facing one another. Set the third chair a few feet out to the side, distance directly in the middle of chair 1 and chair 2.

It should look like the below diagram.

Use this Chair picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 1st Chair-This is your point of view.
The 2nd Chair-This is the point of view of your family member that you are having the strong emotions with.
The 3rd Chair-The meta position. The objective 3rd party that can see both sides of the story.

1st Chair
Sit in the first chair and experience the situation through your own perspective. What are you experiencing? Feeling, thinking, hearing? What is your body posture like? Can you look over at the 2nd chair? As you look across to the second chair, in your mind’s eye, see the family member you are having the strong emotion about.

Now step out of the 1st chair. Leave your perspective in the chair 1 and walk over and sit in the 2nd chair.

2nd Chair
As you sit in the 2nd chair, step into the point of view of your family member. In your mind’s eye see yourself (Chair 1) sitting across from Chair 2. What is it like for this family member to look at you? What are they feeling? What are they seeing? You can speak out loud as if you were this family member.

Now step out of the 2nd chair. Leave the family member perspective behind and sit in the 3rd chair.

3rd Chair
As you sit in this chair-observe both “people” in the other chairs. Notice how these individuals relate to one another and to the situation. What can you see that the other two people cannot? What would you want the two of them to know?

Now step out of the 3rd chair. Go sit in the Chair 1.
What is your perspective now? Has your point of view changed?

This exercise is a fantastic way to see a new perspective, to say words that need to be said and to fix disagreements you may have experienced. Notice that the feelings change when you see things from a different point of view.

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