Family Constellations

"During a family constellation, the hidden tensions, conflicts, and influential relationships existing within a family system become visible.  The facilitating therapist works with these dynamics, and often, solutions can be found.  Family constellations are surprising in form, process, and effect." (Bertold Ulsamer, 1999)

Understand family dynamics to help change current patterns.

See your family's dynamics without bias, stories, or judgement.

Learn internal work and ritual to enable personal and family change.

All families (or any group) have their own "group consciousness."  It is the norms, values, and rules that each member unconsciously acknowledge and follow.  This conscious is helpful, but can also be unhelpful at times.  We may receive unconscious messages such as:


  • "Do not talk about your feelings, we always keep a smile on our faces."

  • "Don't talk about your sister that died young, it will upset the family."

  • "Never speak of that accident that is a family secret we do not discuss."

These rules might help us keep the peace in our family, but they can create difficult patterns later on. 


  • The young adult that is full of anxiety insists on perfection in everything she does, and has panic attacks every time something is less than perfect.

  • The young man that has intense sadness but does not understand where it comes from.  He has always felt like there was something missing from his life and nothing he does fills the void.

  • An older man with a drinking problem, just like his father, who cannot seem to get sober.  He knows that he drinks to deal with guilt and pain, but it is a guilt he does not understand.


There are also roles that get established, such as being the "smart one," the "lazy one," the "troublemaker," that are very hard to unlearn, especially when we return to our family of origin for visits.  For example, this is often why holidays are typically difficult! We want to change, but the family group expects us to stay the same and follow the same rules.


With the family constellations model, we look for ways to alter these ideas and find ways to make new patterns for ourselves.

Testimonies from the Inner Arts Institute in Cambridge, MA
Interview about the Family Constellation Work with Bert Hellinger

As humans, we create stories to understand or process things.  Sometimes when we only know the reality that we know, or that we perceive, we can miss or misjudge events or relationships. By looking at a family system without knowledge of these stories or experiences, group members can show dynamics in a system that might be missed due to perception or perspective.


For example, just as a person tends to hold in emotion or "stuff their unpleasant or painful feelings down," similar issues can happen in a family.  There are painful events, losses, secrets, or family changes that can create unconscious rifts or issues in the family system.  Perhaps there was an uncle that was killed and never discussed, but there was an underlying grief no one understood.  Perhaps there was a father that went to war and returned unable to talk about the horrors he experienced, so his children always thought he was just distant and emotionally unavailable.


By looking at a family system in this group format, we can see the dynamics of a family system without the stories or blame that get attached.  A father might be cold and distant, but the seeing how his heart was left on the battlefield with his fallen comrades gives us some information on why this might be so.


The group can give light to these situations and can also open up spaces for the energetic healing to occur.

This work can be done in private sessions, in group workshops, and internally.  There are many different facilitators that use these techniques in many different ways.  The beauty of the work, and how it differs greatly from family therapy, is that no other family member needs to be present.  Because the work is done energetically, anyone can do the work to benefit their family system.  It is hard to explain all the benefits of this work without seeing it first hand, but some highlighted ones are:


  • See the hidden dynamics that you might have always felt existed, but never understood

  • Ability to see people's actions without judgement

  • Ability to process strong, often uncomfortable, emotions easier

  • Ability to understand the complexity of families and the simplicity of the love that is present

  • Understanding the importance of working through emotions and difficult situations


With these new understandings, one can also develop new tools and rituals to help facilitate the internal process within oneself. Participants can learn:


  • How to honor loved ones

  • How to carry loved ones in their hearts

  • How to make space for those who were lost or forgotten

  • How to honor the fate of others

  • How to see the larger picture in regards to their family system

  • How to accept the things that cannot be changed

  • How to change the patterns and roles that you wish to change

"This sounds interesting, but I still do not understand what it is..."


Yes, we understand!  This process is historically very hard to explain, but very easy to understand once you witness it.  We invite you to observe the process, check out these videos, and explore if it is right for you!