In this video Bert Hellinger talks about the ‘Art of Helping’ and the ways of seeing the difference between taking the wrong place and taking the place of greatest strength in our intention to help.

The video is in English with Spanish translation. For those who prefer to read, there is a full transcript below.




Video Transcript:
“Good morning. Now we can start with the work. And in the beginning I would like to say something about the orders of helping. Or perhaps better, the art of helping. Now all people actually are eager to help other people. We can see that if you ask somebody when you have lost your way ‘Where is the right street?’ people just rush to tell you. They like to help you.  And whenever somebody is in a real need and then asks for help, we like to help as far as we can. Now, the greatest helpers of all are of course our parents. Parents want to help their children and children, as a rule, can rely completely on their parents for help. When we help others we feel good. If nobody needs our help, we feel lonely. Mutual helping connects us. Now, this is everyday helping.
Now, when we want to help in a professional way, we have to behave differently and even those who are not professionals can learn much if they know something about good professional help. Good helping presupposes that you respect the person you want to help. And very often if you have some need and you express it and people rush to help you, you feel uneasy very often. Because they are not just helping, they are intruding. The main purpose is not that they help you. They help themselves. They enjoy helping. And make use of you for their satisfaction. There was a famous Saint in France. His name was Vincent… He was founding many institutions to help poor people and one day he told a friend ‘If they want to help you, be careful.’ See, you can observe this. If a person is very ill and close to death, people worry about that person. And that dying person has to worry about those who worry about him. They help because they cannot face his illness and his close death. Then they cover up their fear by helping.

Now, many professional helpers help too much. In a way some helpers behave as if they could change the destiny of a person. And in this way they behave actually like children. Children, small children especially, want to do everything to save their mother and their father. We can see that in family constellations. They want to take over from their mother and their father a destiny. And sometimes they say ‘It’s better that I am ill than you, my dear mother.’ Or they even say ‘It’s better that I die than you, my dear mother.’ But their attempts to help to save their parents always fail. And that is an experience that is very painful but they do not give up. When they have grown up they want to help other people, just as they wanted to help their parents as a child. So they are on the look out for people who would need their help and then they rush in like children. And then develops a very strange relationship between the helper and the person he wants to help. Now, if we look at this, who of the two, the client and the helper, is in charge? Who behaves like a child and who must behave like a mother or a father? The helper behaves like a child and this relationship, therapeutic relationship, must fail. How ineffective this kind of helping can be, you can just see when you check how long does a therapy take. Some people go to therapy for 30 years. And what is the result? They have wasted their life. Helping in such a way is irresponsible. Therefore when we want to have the strength to help, we must first give up to help our parents. We look at our father and our mother and say ‘You are great and I am small’ ‘I honour you as great and I remain the child.’ In this way the child can separate from the parents and when it grows up and has to help other people, it no longer has to behave like a child. And the helper says to the client ‘You are big and I am small.’ He can say this, if he does not only look at the client but looks beyond the client to his or her parents and respects them.

Now when we are talking about the orders of love, we can see that there is a certain hierarchy in a system. In a system, in a family system, the parents come first and the child comes second, because the parents were there first and the children came later. That is the hierarchy according to the time of entering a system. Now if a client comes to us and asks for help, we enter this system. The therapist and helper becomes part of this system. Now, if we look at the system according to the orders of love. Who comes first? The parents, of course. And who comes second? The client. And who comes last? The helper. Now, many helpers behave quite in the opposite way. They think they are great and they behave in a superior way and then the order for them is ‘First come I, as a therapist. Then you, as a client. And in the last place, the parents.’ So the whole system is turned upside down and this helping must fail.  Now, much of the learning we do here consists of perceiving when we take up the wrong place when we help and to find the place where we have the greatest strength to help.”