What is a constellation?What is a constellation?

What is a constellation?

A complex question where I will start with, what it is not.

It is not a form of Counselling.

Counselling is primarily a field of its own, comprising of many styles of talk-therapies. This includes Rogerian, expressive and art therapies, emotionally-focused, cognitive behavioural, solution-focused and somatically-based therapies. There is very little talk and normally no counselling in a constellation process.

It is not a form of Expressive therapy such as art, sand-play, voice dialogue, music or movement-dance therapy.

It is not a form of traditional psychotherapy. There are a wide range of psychotherapies from psychoanalysis, psychodynamic, a range of humanistic (e.g. Gestalt, Existential, Transactional analysis and many more), Psychotherapy is a long-term process. Often years, of exploring thoughts, feelings, behaviours and perceptions and frequently unpacking life events in order to process and gain awareness.

It is not traditional family therapy or family systems therapy.

It is not Psychodrama.

‘Psychodrama was defined as a therapy that utilizes theatrical principles as clients act out their problems,’ orPrimal therapy to Virginia Satir’s Sculpting.

All of the above stand alone in their own value and efficacy and have a place for portions of the population.


It is not Shamanism, although it contains elements of this.

It is not Energy Healing, although the process is energetic and much healing may take place through the process on all levels.

What is a constellation?

Systemic Family Constellations is a modality developed by Bert Hellinger that comes out of the appreciation that human beings flourish when they feel the love and connection from their family system and can stand with pride in their rightful place. This allows them to come out of anger, disappointment and judgement of their parents or ancestors and systemic trauma and go into a state of gratitude for the life they have received, so that they can receive the love and life-force that is their birth-right and move on in their lives with more clarity and purpose.

The Constellation process may not be for everyone, as it requires maturity, responsibility and humbleness and the readiness to look at yourself, not only from what happens in your own head and heart, but also from the perspective of significant others. Parents, partners, children or siblings, where a different view may arise from the bigger picture of the family system. Poor attachment bonding may be reformed more healthily in a constellation in a deep, brief process.

Family Constellations Facilitators

The Constellation process requires much growth and professional development in those who wish to become constellation practitioners and also in those who seek personal constellations help or therapy. A constellation doesn’t always deliver what we want. Often there is fate, destiny or other people’s choices that are outside our personal control to consider and we may be left with the next step in our growth, acceptance.

In those who are attracted to this field, therapists, potential therapists and clients, they have frequently experienced many other ways of working before they arrive at systemic family constellations. They have often realised that what they have been doing has taken them so far, but has not been sufficient to bring about a healthy sense of self, acceptance and worth, good boundaries and better relationships. People who are attracted to this field frequently have life experience, maturity (regardless of age) and a genuine humbleness in being willing and able to look at their own situation, feelings, behaviours and patterns in a new way, that may shine a new light on what is present.

In training, this is important, so that practitioners having gone through the process in the course, can enter a stronger more loving space with themselves and their own family connections. For practitioners, in having resolved or become more in touch with their own healing process in constellation training, where what was previously unconscious is now conscious, they are less likely to be triggered by client’s issues and dynamics. They can safely hold a space for constellations to unfold in their own unique way for individuals within a structured field of knowledge and process, anchored by a clear intention in the name of love.


For clients they can resolve deep issues of disconnection, feeling, behaviour patterns and relationships in a safe, non-judgemental space where they won’t be labelled or analysed. The systemic field holds the value of trust and faith in human resilience and the ability to arrive at new perspectives during the self-healing process of a constellation and for this to continue as long as is necessary in the psyche and the field of the client and their system, until it has settled. For this reason, the process is deep, brief and solution-focused. The need to see the client repeatedly over a series of weeks or months is unnecessary for the most part.

This means a systemic practitioner is a brief therapist where new clients are constantly entering, as others leave after only a few sessions as they move on in their lives.

For the practitioner this is done in the name of love and respect for the system of the client and in following the clear intention the client.

The knowing Field

In essence a family constellation opens up the field of a human being in the context of their immediate family and ancestors to explore their question, intention or issue in order to find their best solution. The Family Constellation field knows that we all come out of tribes, cultures and landscapes and this is not only problematic but also a great source of strength and resilience. It assists us to connect to our unique lineage of ancestors and indigenous roots from any point on the globe, in allowing us to look out into the world and through the eyes of all that we are, with a new perspective.

A Family Constellation process is:

  • Safe
  • Quick
  • Does not re-traumatise
  • Gentle

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