Dermatology concerns the treatment of all symptoms that manifest through the skin (and the hair and the nails). This intervention therefore is primary geared towards the physical body. However, the therapy states that bodily symptoms are often messengers of deeper, initially invisible physical symptoms. These in their turn can have a specific relationship to imbalances in the energetic and/or mental body.
Dermatology therefore covers a rather broad research area. Some well-known application areas include skin cancer; lymphedema; eczema; psoriasis; warts; pigment deviations; chlamydia; syphilis; varicose veins; hemorrhoids; to name but a few. Even though there’s generally a decent body of knowledge on the diagnosis and treatment of such “superficial” (pardon the pun) symptoms, a more integral look at all such skin manifestations can often lead to deeper insights and follow-up treatments for illness causes that had not yet been noticed so far.
This case illustrates the insight that ‘superficial’ skin symptoms can also relate to the other bodies of the four-body model. For an effective diagnosis, an integral look is required.
A mother consults a family constellations therapist because each of her three daughters (now 16, 14 and 11) suffer from neurodermatitis, without any significant improvement after various therapies. In her family history line, no significant events are known. The constellation starts with an initial set-up of her current family: herself; her partner; and their three daughters. Participants called “representatives” ‘perform’ these roles. At once, the daughters are put aside, as if they are not really part of the family. The mother in question is surprised on the one hand, but recognizes the truth of it on the other hand. The representatives of the daughters start experiencing itches immediately; one of them starts to experience skin pain. The partner relationship between the mother and her husband shows no particular conflict. The daughters are not inclined to move either.
On investigating whether a family member ever died in a fire (due to a memory from a previous constellation), the mother has no recollections. Then all of a sudden, one of the participants, who happens to know the client, notices he is deeply touched by the question about the fire, and asks for the opportunity to explain. It turns out he performs in a music band with the father of the client. Each time they play a particular march, the father always starts to weep silently. The theme of this particular march is the loss of comrades in a firestorm. The client confirms that her father indeed served in Russia, but he never speaks of this. Upon receiving this ‘clue’, the facilitator asks one of the participants to represent the father of the client. The daughters feel immediately attracted to their grandfather; they move to stand at his side at once. The daughters feel better, as does the grandfather.
As soon as three participants enter the constellation as representatives for the fallen comrades, lying on the ground, the grandfather turns away, while the three daughters feel deeply attracted to the dead. The facilitator then helps grandfather to contact the ‘dead’ (he places grandfather between his granddaughters and his fallen comrades). Weeping, he kneels down by them, gently strokes their faces, closes their eyes and finally lies down beside them. The daughters of the client feel immediate relief; only now does it appear to be possible for them to focus on their parents. The client is moved deeply. She always felt that something stood between her and her children, but she had never imagined it might have been her own father. The facilitator invites the client to look her ‘father’ straight in the eyes and say to him “Dear papa, I now see what you carry with you, and I acknowledge it.” The facilitator has grandfather confirm that it is his burden to carry.
After the constellation, the representative of the eldest daughter shares with the group that when grandfather caressed the dead, it felt as if her own skin was gently stroked, and her skin relaxed gradually. Two months later, the client informs the facilitator that grandfather finally broke down during a recent family visit: in an emotional outburst he narrated his experiences in Russia: he and his comrades were surrounded during a withdrawal from a village. He and a few others were able to escape and flee, but most of his comrades perished. From a distance, he had watched the entire village go up in smoke.
(Source: Stephan Hausner.)