Bert Hellinger, a German philosopher, theologian, pedagogue and psychoanalyst developed this method in the 1980's which soon became widely known and applied by his followers.
Hellinger's work offers a chance to make the entanglement of a person within the family visible. You can set up your family by choosing representatives for your family members from the participants of the group. You move them to positions in the room where your body leads you to. This gives you a picture of your family situation. You suddenly realise the form of relationships between the different members of your family. You might feel deep connections running through several generations. It might show that somebody is missing. Taboos appear. Never mentioned relatives want to be acknowledged. Dead members can have a great impact on the system.
The representatives feel sadness, pressure, begin to sweat or to speak like the one they're representing. There is no scientific explanation yet for this phenomenon. Experiments show that this "representing perception" is inherent to the system because everyone will feel the same standing in a certain position. Probably a field of energy develops, a morphic field which according to the biologist Rupert Sheldrake has a memory, can resonate with other fields and also has the ability to learn and develop.
Hellinger offers several possibilities to solve the tensions in the family system and develop a new and more harmonious order.
He claims that we have to accept our family, connect with it but untie the entanglements to be free to live our personal life and go our own way.