What is a Constellation?

This page was first compiled for the 2011 US Systemic Constellations Conference. It features the voices of a number of Constellation facilitators and resources.

International Systemic Constellation Association 
Systemic constellations are a way of working with issues within human systems. Constellations are usually done within a group of unrelated people. Members of the group are chosen to represent members or elements of the family or organization that is being addressed. In this process hidden and unexpected dynamics operating within the system are revealed and addressed in a way that aims to find a healthy and respectful place for all members of the system in question.

Wikipedia Entry: Systemic Constellations

The Systemic Family Constellation process was developed by the German-born Bert Hellinger. It is a trans-generational, phenomenological, therapeutic intervention with roots in family systems therapy (Moreno, Satir, Böszörményi-Nagy), existential-phenomenology (Brentano, Husserl, Heidegger), and the ancestor reverence of the South African Zulus. The Systemic Constellation process is sanctioned by family therapy associations in Europe and is being integrated by thousands of licensed practitioners worldwide.

Dan Booth Cohen

Systemic constellations reveal and transform embedded patterns that are otherwise very challenging to understand and change. Intellectually, we may recognize patterns of negative behaviors and destructive relationships, but in practice it can be extremely difficult to free ourselves from the ones that feel most unwanted. Through this process we become aware of the complex web of interconnection reaching into our present from generations past. Experiencing this interconnectedness so directly has an amazingly freeing effect.

Vivian Broughton

Systemic constellations offers us an extraordinary insight into ourselves, confronting us with our interdependence, providing us with a context that reaches back to our roots, showing us that whatever the circumstances of our birth and our childhood, we can never divorce ourselves from our family.

Karen Carnabucci

Imagine a constellation in the sky – a grouping of stars that depicts your ancestors. Each star has an invisible string of energy connecting one to another and to you. In your aliveness on this earth, you are tethered to these people of the past. You have inherited their joys and sorrows, and you may be carrying anger, loss, illness or guilt that burden your life today – even if you do not know how or why. Family Constellation Work helps you connect and correct the past so that you can move forward with inner peace.

Michael Reddy

Systemic Constellations are a method for revealing and re-aligning hidden loyalties in family, business, or other kinds of tightly bonded groups. Essentially, you have taken on, often without being aware of it, “assignments” to function in a certain way in the groups you belong to—especially in your family. Yet often these assignments are in conflict with your personal health or fulfillment. They serve as anchors — unseen sticking points — that prevent positive change. Constellations make these anchors visible. They provide the means to increase not only your personal well-being, but also that of your family or business as a whole.

Peter and Jamy Faust

The Constellation Approach originates from the methodology of systemic therapy which looks at life as a whole versus isolated incidents of pain. By viewing family situations with a wider lens, we gain insights into the deeper reasons things occur.

Bert Hellinger calls this larger field the Family Soul, we’ve named it the Family Energy Field. It serves as the basis for exploring and understanding our relationships as well as eventually constructing solutions to unresolved issues.

The Constellation Approach allows a deep soul-level healing to take place by leading us past societal ideas of morality to a holographic understanding of why events happen in the context of love and loyalty to the family.

Rita Martino

Out of love and loyalty, we often unconsciously carry the traumas and destructive patterns of our ancestors, which may manifest in our daily lives as unresolvable personal problems and relationship issues.

Through the gentle, yet powerful process of Family Constellations, we enter into connection with our ancestors through the energetic ‘Knowing Field.’ Our entanglements within our ancestral family are gently and respectfully uncovered. Family Constellation participants commonly report their experience to be sacred, cathartic, connecting, and profound.

Brigitte Sztab

Family Constellation are a process for revealing the hidden dynamics in a family, so they can be worked with and healed. Release begins with the participant stating his/her issue and choosing members from the workshop group as representatives for certain family members alive or dead. When these are placed in relationship to each other, all involved participants begin to perceive information related to the family member who they are representing. As a result, previously subconscious, often tragic, family ties are made perceptible, and the dynamic that caused the participant’s issue is discovered.