Many problems in life arise from a lack of decision-making. Not making a decision is also a decision. However, “sitting on the fence” for too long is unsafe.
The tetralemma constellation helps to integrate the non-chosen with chosen. It is strongly process-oriented.
Discovering it in the training course “Transverbal Language and Systemic Structural Constellations” by Matthias Varga von Kibéd & Insa Sparrer, I happily apply it in my work with clients, observing how quickly it helps them reach a decision.
Tetralemma Constellation has its own structure, grammar, and language. It consists of five positions. Two of them are familiar to a person who is at an impasse and doesn’t know what to choose: either “the One” side or “the Other”, which are the first two positions.
During the constellation process, we move towards the fourth position, clarifying, eliminating, and healing the story that keeps the person in the “either A or B” state.
Afterward, there’s an opportunity to occupy the next position, “Both “the One” side and “The Other” ……..and something bigger.
The fifth position, I sometimes don’t even set separately, but it finds its place in the client’s life, like a miracle that also has its place.
Here are two examples from my practice.
Case 1: A woman approached me for an individual constellation session. Due to severe anxiety and fears, she couldn’t decide whether to stay in her old job or take on a new position.
After asking a few clarifying questions, I suggested that we do The Tetralemma Constellation. The client agreed.
In setting up two options in the field, as the client had discussed. I also tested the level (whether it was her personal life or a systemic history) at which her anxiety and fear were related to making the choice.
In this case, it was her personal life. At this point, I became interested in when and where everything old in the client’s life had collapsed, and the new had not only been new but had also come with new responsibilities.
It turned out that her first experience of this occurred in childhood when her younger sister was born. Her previous paradise had crumbled, parental attention was shifted more to her sister, and the client had to navigate the role of an older sister and her new responsibilities on her own. “My life was never the same again,” the woman said with sadness.
Such painful changes in her childhood had planted a fear of change in her. In her adult life, making choices between old and new was difficult for her. Going through major changes followed the same pattern. The old had to crumble, and in the new, she was alone, with a greater volume of new responsibilities and obligations.
So, when we worked through her personal history (the 4th position), the client was able to adopt a new position for herself in the Tetralemma: Both the old job and the new one with the new responsibilities… and something bigger
This was not just a new position; it brought about new feelings and sensations. It set in motion a movement towards something positive, with both the old job and the new one behind her.
Case 2: A woman sought individual constellation work. Her request was about the impossibility of choosing between returning to the familiar old city or staying in the new one with all things new.
In her case, after a brief diagnosis and setting up the initial two positions of the Tetralemma Constellations a systemic family history became apparent.
Upon her parents’ divorce, the mother couldn’t cope with the new reality and passed away a few months later. The father married his lover.
The constellation always reveals who doesn’t belong, who “pushed out” the old to embrace the new, and who has to “fix” everything again, experiencing the ancestors’ history not in romantic relationships but in the choice between the old and the new.
When the two stories of choosing cities and the family history of divorce and its aftermath separated, the woman felt much lighter and was able to take the third position of the Tetralemma: in the old familiar city and in the new… and something greater.
A few months later, I received a message from her that she was now living in a completely different country, which she hadn’t even considered before the constellation work.
More and more often, I notice in my work with clients that when the question of choosing between the old and the new arises in their lives, and it becomes anxious and frightening, it can be helpful to examine where such an experience has already occurred in their life.
It’s a significant event, a transition, either in their own life or in the lives of their ancestors. How was the experience of the transition lived out? What was the cost of such a transition? What decisions and promises did the person make to themselves and still fulfill in their life?
The Tetralemma constellation work helps prevent getting lost in thoughts and stories. It offers a clear structure with positions where I always find different meanings and directions for the work.
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