In this context, "Mental skills" does not mean "intelligence". It has more to do with letting a situation impact your entire being, including your mind, and waiting until an idea or an understanding surfaces. Mental skills play a role in:
- recognizing the patterns of systemic dynamics
- grasping what is missing or what is needed
- asking focusing questions that clarify the issue
- finding the words that need to be spoken to break an impasse
- who is not mentioned by the client, who is excluded?
When you look at a constellation and you don't understand what is going on, you just ask in your mind: "What has happened here". And then you wait, while you look at the constellation. And then suddenly you know, for example: "A child has died."
When one of the trainers for the first time heard Bert Hellinger talk about this way of waiting for something to appear in your mind, he thought: "Bert Hellinger is special. That is not something I can do."
However, most of us do not know what the limits of our mental abilities are. We often have a too small idea of what we are capable off. I began experimenting with it and soon enough things began too happen in this way.
Actually, you simply need to trust that your mind can pick up this information from the field of the family in exactly the same way representatives can pick up information from that field. So, like a representative, you move into the field of the client's family when you ask this question in your mind. And then you get at least a feeling, a sense of the answer. But often you suddenly know. Bert Hellinger calls this moving into the field of the client: "You expose yourself to the client". I call it "moving into the field of the client," because you step into the field like a representative, noticing how the field affects you, however, without representing a particular family member.
When a constellation seems to be stuck, something may be missing or is needed. In the same way again, you ask yourself: "What is missing here?" Through this inner question you tune your mind to what has been excluded in the family. Even if no answer pops up in your own mind, it might now be felt by one of the representatives. So you also look at the representatives, whether you see any subtle change.
Sometimes, during the interview with the client before the constellation, you feel that there is a deeper issue, than the issue that is presented by the client. How do you then ask a question that goes to the core of the issue? Also here you move into the field of the client. And then you feel what it is actually about. Then it is not difficult to ask a question that goes to the core.
A very important ingredient of family constellations are words that need to be spoken. The right words will open up a person, and suddenly things can move. You find such words in the same way: you ask yourself: "Which words could heal the pain here? Which words could reach the person that is represented? Which words could open the heart of the victim or of the perpetrator?" The words will come to you.
We are often focussed on what people tell us. We need to ask: "What is the client not telling? Who is not being mentioned by the client?" Sometimes it is obvious: the client tells a lot about the difficult relationship with the mother, and the father is not mentioned at all. Often that is where the greater pain is. What is missing may be more important than what is said.