Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Ancestor Syndrome and the Hidden Links in Our Family Tree

Drawing on decades of experience as a psychodramatist and analyst, Anne Ancelin Schützenberger, in her book The Ancestor Syndrome, explains and provides dramatic clinical examples of her transgenerational approach to psychotherapy. She shows how, as mere links in a family chain of generations, we may have no choice in having the events and traumas first experienced by our ancestors visited upon us again in our own lifetime as it once was in theirs. But, as she says, we do have a choice once we realize it.
Her book includes fascinating case studies to illustrate how her clients have conquered seemingly irrational fears, psychological and even physical difficulties by discovering and understanding the parallels between their own life and the lives of their forebearers. Mysteries as to why things happen can now be solved. Inherited ‘bad luck’ can now be changed. Family curses can now be removed. Ancient guilts and sins of the forebearers can now be resolved.
The theory of ancestral "invisible loyalty" owed to previous generations may indeed predispose us to unwittingly re-enact their suffering and unfinished business in our own life events .Professor Anne Ancelin Schützenberger has spent 50 years of her life researching this phenomena and developing a psychodrama approach to ending this transgenerational karma.
Her solutions and propositions will be discussed and demonstrated in the light of her ongoing research into repetitive patterns which she will present in New Orleans May 25-26.
I met 81 yr old Anne Ancelin Schützenberger in 1999 at the World Conference of Psychotherapy in Vienna where we both were presenting. I went to her presentation on The Anniversary Syndrome there because I was curious since it was right on point with the counseling I was already doing with couples. Within ten minutes, I was overwhelmed with the amazing wealth of information about reoccurring dates, accidents, illnesses, and traumas that Prof. Schützenberger has gathered over her long illustrious career as a psychodramatist.
In her book, The Ancestor Syndrome, she explains how the anniversary date of a certain significant event or terrible tragedy in the past is often stored in unconscious memory and acted out by following generations. Anniversary reactions appear not only as dramatic coincidences in dates and behaviors, but also in health problems, similar accidents, and the exact ages and dates of death that seem to repeat generation after generation without any plausible explanation. It hit home. My mother’s mother had died May 25, 1959, and my mother died May 25, 1983. It was then and only then that I found out from my Aunt Irma that my great-grandmother had also died on a May 25th many years ago. "Never two without three," my mother had said a thousand times throughout her life. And mine. A family belief system, for sure. Writing this, my assistant Bobby Hoerner reminds me that I have scheduled Prof. Schützenberger to do her Ancestor Syndrome Workshop for me in New Orleans on May 25th. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
In April 2000, I went to Paris with six of my students to study with this incredible woman. I learned the depth to which the hidden links in our family tree affect all of us and became even more certain of the value of using her thorough transgenerational approach in my own counseling with clients. "History repeats itself," Clarence Darrow is quoted as saying, "....and that's what's the matter with history." Anne Schützenberger has worked with many many clients over the years to resolve their unconscious directives and legacy from past generations.
Often the roots of current traumas can be explained by an easy but methodical tracing of our family trees, uncovering important similar events that have been interred into our genetic structures, events which pop-up generations later. Trouble comes from unknowingly reliving similar unfinished situations and emotional baggage inherited from our ancestors. The cycle ends when we recognize that the recurring family issues being presented generation after generation are begging for completion.....and once re-solved, can actually fade away and stop. Anne Schützenberger specializes in the resolution of such transgenerational issues and has sent many an illness or negative pattern into remission!
Her workshops explore life, accidents, illnesses and death by working with past unresolved traumas and conflicts that show up in families at certain dates and ages as curses or coincidences. Psychodrama vignettes will be directed with group members toward unearthing, illustrating and resolving these hidden family traumas, closing incomplete situations, saying good-bye and mourning an ancestor's losses. As mere links in a chain of generations, we may have no choice in which problems our ancestors have visited upon us in our own lifetime, but Madame Schützenberger can help you clear their negative karma once and for all.
Her book lists fascinating case studies illustrating how her clients have conquered seemingly irrational fears, psychological and even physical difficulties by discovering and understanding the parallels between their own life and the lives of their forbearers. Most family problems have been around a lot longer than anyone ever realized. The workshop offers a unique opportunity to end the cycle.
I know that in-depth parental histories solve most mysteries and had written about that in my book, Why We Pick The Mates We Do. Now I was beginning to understand that most of these relationship problems had been around a lot longer than I ever realized. It wasn’t just their parental couple, it was an imprinted ancestral couple pattern. Generation after generation, inherited emotional and behavioral imprints had been demonstrated and learned by example, but others were kept secret and never revealed. Amazingly, they were still showing up in successive generations. I realized these issues were begging for closure. Often locked in unconscious memory, it became A-Parent that these imprinted set of instructions were the answers that explained most inherited negative feelings, irrational behaviors and repetitive traumatic events. I believe it is of the utmost importance to resolve our ancestors’ unresolved legacy before we can truly evolve ourselves.
The Ancestor Syndrome explains life and death issues through the "family tree" and the manner in which memories of past-unresolved traumas and conflicts are passed on to future generations. In her workshops, Psychodrama vignettes will be directed by Prof. Schützenberger with group members and aimed toward unearthing, illustrating, and resolving hidden family traumas, closing incomplete situations, saying good-bye and mourning an ancestor's losses. Efforts are made to understand these phenomena in the larger context of one's family psychological and economical history, "psychohistory", hidden family loyalties, calamitous events, such as war, unbearable trauma, unjust death, family secrets, and the Anniversary Syndrome. This workshop will be experiential with theory.Every individual's life is a novel. You and I, we live as part of an invisible web, a web we also help to weave. Yet if we open up our perception and develop what Theodore Reich referred to as our third ear... and eastern philosophies refer to as our third eye - then we can grasp and better understand the repetitions and coincidences in our family history, and our individual lives can become clearer. We can become more aware of who we are, of who we could be... how we can escape the invisible binds and blocks in our family's history, and the triangular alliances established in our family structure, from the unnecessary and all too frequent repetitions of difficult situations that make no sense from the one dimensional view. This is her first visit to New Orleans. I am honored to present this very special human being, the pioneer in transgenerational therapy.
Fausto Intilla - www.oloscience.com

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