Families Shape Us, Limit Us, Love Us

In my studies for the class I am teaching on Counseling Theory, I had to do some reading about family therapy.  It has been awhile since I studied this topic and it reminded me of the power of families in our lives.  As a therapist of course I was well aware of the impact of their families on my clients but it was good to review what to pay attention to because there is so much from our childhood that shapes our experience today.

In the class last night, I wanted to give my students the feeling of the dynamic of the family and how powerful family therapy can be.  To give them the experience I used a dynamic technique called Family Sculpture.  This technique has a person introducing a moment/slice/scene in their family when they were growing up that had a great impact on them.  They then choose to have people play the family members.  What happens every time is that when they share the specifics of that scene everyone involved, and also watching, get a feeling for the emotional dynamic of what was going on.  The participants feel what it feels like to be in the roles and are moved by them.  The storyteller is sometimes so moved that tears flow and a healing shift takes place. 

The family stories were so powerful that we were all moved deeply.  There is so much substance to explore in all of us around the families we grew up in.  There can be deep pain or sorrow, unfinished business, love and joy that are waiting to be expressed.  Our families have imprinted upon us their influences sometimes passing on across generations: dysfunction, fear and false beliefs all of which keep us from being whole and healthy. 

What old past family traditions of dysfunction, fear and beliefs are you being limited by?  Are you passing them onto your family or are you breaking the cycle?  If you feel and are aware of what the unhealthy traditions you carry with you are, are you ready to let them go and be you instead of the influences in you? What was the quality of love and compassion that your family passed on to you?  Was the love encouraging and expansive or possessive and entangled?

Just a reminder – you are not your past unless you bring it with you in the now.