What Exactly Is Family Constellation Work?

Why Is This This Method So Powerful?

Family Constellations, Family Constellation Work, Systemic Constellations or Constellation Work are all terms for the same body of work. It is a therapeutic healing modality that originated with German psychotherapist Bert Hellinger in the early 1970's. For many years, Bert Hellinger was a Catholic priest and missionary to the Zulu in Africa. Eventually, Bert left the priesthood and married. He studied various innovative therapies in Europe and the USA and from there, developed his own, original group therapy he calls Family Constellations.

Working with thousands of individuals and families, Bert Hellinger became aware that people are linked to an invisible field he calls the Knowing Field. This Knowing Field can be accessed to provide information that is hidden and unknown. This revealed information can become a catalyst that can induce healing not only for the individual client but his or her entire family system.

Constellation Work is either facilitated in a group or one-on-one setting and addresses the root cause of our many life’s problem. In traditional therapy or coaching, it is possible to discuss issues that trouble a person and never get to the source of why we feel, think and act in ways that cause us suffering.

For instance, a woman’s depression may be linked with a child she aborted when she was a teenager.

A man's rage might have to do with a murder in the family dating back several generations.

A woman experiencing continual betrayal in her life may be tied to a handicapped ancestor who was placed in an institution a century ago and never saw his family again.

A boy who’s continually getting in trouble with the law may be expressing loyalty to his grandfather who was known to be a criminal.

A girl’s anger with her dad might be connected to her father’s first wife who’s still angry with him.

A woman’s anorexia could be tied to a hidden wish to die to follow her twin into death who had died at birth.

Can you see how regular therapy or coaching, although immensely helpful in many ways, cannot address such obscure entanglements? Some other kind of system of detection is needed to access the sphere of collective memory. Sadly thus far, our modern-day scientific community has refused to give credence to phenomena like the Knowing Field. Eventually, in the future, I am certain, science will devise instruments that will detect forces that can't be quantified as of yet.

Our current understanding how life works is very restricted. Our belief that solid matter alone exists is all too prevalent still. Nevertheless, something like a higher intelligence or collective memory bank exists in the form of a greater wisdom or consciousness. Everything that has ever been experienced on this planet by all life forms is recorded within this collective memory. Nothing is ever forgotten. Everything that has happened in history is meticulously remembered by this memory. The present is and the future will be based on what has been experienced in the past. This is evident all throughout nature. Rupert Sheldrake, an innovative, modern-day scientist who is studying this phenomenon in nature and with animals calls this invisible memory sphere the Morphic Field.

Bert Hellinger realized when people do not resolve difficult life events or trauma in their lives, the effects can be unconsciously passed on to future generations. Innocent children may unknowingly live out the exact same fate or attempt to resolve tragedies that don’t belong to them via difficulties in their own lives. When the original trauma and the people involved have been identified, the unresolved suffering can be brought to a peaceful close. In this way, particular challenges that have remained within a family lineage for many generations can be released.

Constellation Work allows us to tap into the mystery of our unknown family histories to gain information that can generate true healing and lasting change. Family members that are currently living as well as future generations will thus be freed from having to carry forward particular troublesome family legacies. ​Indigenous and traditional cultures adhere to this wisdom. Their worldview and life philosophy is based on the understanding that their actions and ways of life affect their offspring. Our Western culture has forgotten this age-old wisdom.

About 70% of all problems worked on in psychotherapy stem from family entanglements and can only be solved by looking at the entire family system." --- Bert Hellinger

The following life events can generate entanglements that can span over many generations when not properly resolved:

Child loss due to stillbirth, illness, death of twin in utero, miscarriage, abortion
Premature death of parents, siblings or someone beloved
Any kind of childhood trauma – especially early separation from mother that results in non-bonding, adoption
Physical assault, sexual molestation, rape, murder
Serious illness, injury, injustice, handicap, mental illness
Not being able to be with the person one loves
Leaving one’s home country
Involvement in war, disaster or crimes
Betrayal, loss of one’s fortune
Any kind of serious trauma experienced in childhood or adulthood

Expressing my gratitude

I am immensely grateful to Bert Hellinger, Heinz Stark and Gabrielle Borkan for all that they taught me and all that I learned from them. I would not be able to do the work I am doing today without having profited from their expertise, wisdom, guidance, support, love and care. I am deeply indebted to them and offer my heartfelt thank you to them!

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