Bert at a workshop in Israel in 2001
|A short autobiography
Bert Hellinger has been a family therapist for more than 35 years.
By now, Bert runs mostly international workshops. He is booked out over the year, from Sweden to Russia, from Taiwan to Japan and Korea, from the US to Chile and Argentina, from Israel to Morocco.
Bert was born in 1925 in Germany.
The catholic faith of his family helped him to get through the Nazi regime and the war without taking in the Nazi ideology. Only 17 years old, he was recruited and experienced the realities of war. Soon he became a prisoner of war in a camp in Belgium.
At age 20 when he was released from captivity, he entered a catholic order, realizing his childhood dream. Years of spiritual training and discipline followed.
Then he went to Africa as a missionary of his order and lived amongst the Zulus directing schools and acting as parish priest. The time with the Zulus meant a lot to him, he learned so much from them and felt at home there. During that time, he participated in the interracial, ecumenical training in group dynamics run by Anglican clergy.
After 16 years he began to feel that his life's direction had outgrown membership in a religious order and he left in a very amicable way.
He returned to Germany and entered the field of psychotherapy.
First, he trained in psychoanalysis, and then he added quite a few other approaches to it, as he felt the need to explore different problem areas in search for good solutions. Another important training was in Primal Therapy. He studied group dynamics, explored the ways of tribal cultures, Gestalt therapy, NLP, Milton Erickson's work, holding therapy, many forms of family therapy and other modalities.
Bert sees many things immediately in people, for instance when a person is caught in an unexpressed primal feeling, and this plays an important role in his capacity to help people.
Half jokingly, he says, in reality he is a philosopher, and he just applies it somewhat in this work. His approach to truth and what helps people is really based on philosophy, on the ancient Greeks, starting from Heraklit to Plato and Socrates and Aristotle, to Meister Eckhart in the middle ages, and the proponents of phenomenology.
A deep spirituality that is comfortable for all people regardless of their background, that can bring all people closer together in a great love for everything as it is and for the source of everything and everyone.
By now, 2008 most of his work has moved clearly into the spiritual realm, still including his earlier approaches. When he is not holding seminars all over the earth he writes prolifically. He has been writing a number of books about what he has been "pondering upon. " Another series are books that have been dictated to him, one text at a time until he is told that this lot is complete. Mid 2008 there are 5 of these wonderful spiritual books that take us on the mystic path, a path of deep transformation. Evolution certainly does not stand still for him.
His energy to keep going, day after day, to meet huge numbers of new people, and always respond to them with such perfect clarity and kindness, is simple amazing. For me what he is, is more awesome that what he does, at least as far as what can be seen easily.
|Bert's approach to healing
Philosophically, he has remained committed to the ancient philosopher's approach to truth via the method of "phenomenology". This means we expose ourselves to what can be experienced right now, as opposed to repeating what one was told or trying to confirm a theory one already holds.
In a constellation in progress, Bert perceives issues and then says things as they present themselves to him at that moment. He is willing to be shown something different the next day.
The aspects of his work that look like "theory" are more in the nature of empirical findings: "So far experience has shown this:..."
He does not expand into explanations for things. He says that would be speculation. He tries to find what works, helping people to live and love better. This he does by being attentive to the spirit, and returning things back into the care of the spirit.
Concerning his religious attitude, he has given up naming or defining anything. Names he uses are just pointers to something we can feel and experience, but never understand, like "Great Love", "movements of the spirit".
For those familiar with the Tao, one can see the affinity. Citing Lao-Tse, he says: "An old friend of mine - he died a long time ago -, said:"..
The truths that he perceives and shares with people are about love.
Returning from entangled love to flowing love, moving from blind love to seeing love, from limited love to greater love, from stagnation to flow, from separation to unity, from opposition to oneness.
Where he goes, he acts in the service of reconciliation, within families, between tribes and ethnic groups, between warring nations, fate, and the source of all.
The "Orders of Love" that he found open hearts on all continents. The "Movements of the Spirit" bring about reconciliation all by themselves, the space of the "Great Love" is the great field in which miracles happen easily.
|Now, in his eighties, Bert gives ample evidence
that therapy is only a narrow part of his contribution. The tools of the trade
having become a natural repertoire for many, he speaks about his work in
increasing simplicity, of depth and breadth.
At the end of 2004 he started what many of us have been waiting for : He offered a retreat called "Going with the love of God".
Since then at the latest, the spiritual dimension of his work that some of us have always sensed and waited for to come out clearly, figures prominently.
For more information about what he is doing now, look up : "movements of the soul of spirit," in the navigation bar at the top.