Family & Systems Constellations with Amanda Gifford.

The constellation process uses images and the body experience rather than words or narrative. The first image that presents at the beginning of a client’s process is that of their internal picture of their current family system. From this image the facilitator can offer a working hypothesis of the family dynamic. This is confirmed or added to by the feedback from the representatives.

“Absolutely intense experience. So many wounded individuals in the world carrying the sins of our mothers and fathers and working through the layers of those who came before us, those we have chosen to experience in this now. This constellation was such an expansion of the self. It was the first time I felt the collective of human hurts and misunderstandings personally. We truly are not alone. The threads that connect us are strong. I had a moment to reflect on the relationships I have with my family and not take things so personally. sometimes, it really is not about me and it truly is a good thing. Thank you Amanda.” Mpho July 15th 2017

Workshop with Amanda Gifford, MA Psychology, Drama Therapist, HPCSA Registered, Family Constellations facilitator.

Can claim on some Medical Aids.

The constellation process uses images and the body experience rather than words or narrative. The first image that presents at the beginning of a client’s process is that of their internal picture of their current family system. From this image the facilitator can offer a working hypothesis of the family dynamic. This is confirmed or added to by the feedback from the representatives.

Healing the genetic lineage.
Healing anger.
Healing trauma.

Family Constellations

Family Constellations, also known as Systemic Constellations and Systemic Family Constellations, is an alternative therapeutic method which draws on elements of family systems therapy, existential phenomenology and Zulu attitudes to family.[1] In a single session, a Family Constellation attempts to reveal a supposedly unrecognized systemic dynamic that spans multiple generations in a given family and to resolve the deleterious effects of that dynamic by encouraging the subject to encounter representatives of the past and accept the factual reality of the past.

Family Constellations diverges significantly from conventional forms of cognitivebehaviour and psychodynamic psychotherapy. The method has been described by physicists as quantum quackery, and its founder Bert Hellinger incorporates the pseudoscientific idea of morphic resonance into his explanation of it. Positive outcomes from the therapy have been attributed to conventional explanations such as suggestion and empathy.[2][3][4]

Practitioners claim that present-day problems and difficulties may be influenced by traumas suffered in previous generations of the family, even if those affected now are unaware of the original event in the past. Hellinger referred to the relation between present and past problems that are not caused by direct personal experience as Systemic entanglements, said to occur when unresolved trauma has afflicted a family through an event such as murder, suicide, death of a mother in childbirth, early death of a parent or sibling, war, natural disaster, emigration, or abuse.[5] The psychiatrist Iván Böszörményi-Nagy referred to this phenomenon as Invisible Loyalties.[6]

Conceptual basis

The philosophical orientation of Family Constellations were derived through an integration of existential phenomenology family systems therapy and elements of indigenous spiritual mysticism.

The phenomenological lineage can be traced through philosophers Franz BrentanoEdmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. This perspective stands in contrast to the positivist reductionist orientation of the scientific psychology. Rather than understanding mind, emotion and consciousness in terms of its constituent parts, existential phenomenology opens perception to the full panorama of human experience and seeks to grasp a sense of meaning.[7]

Family Constellations take their form from family systems psychology. Leading figures in this movement whose influence can be recognized include Jacob Moreno, the founder of psychodramaIván Böszörményi-Nagy, the pioneer of transgenerational systemic thinking; Milton Erickson, a pioneer of brief therapy and hypnotherapy; Eric Berne who conceived the concept of life scripts; and Virginia Satir, who developed family sculpture, the precursor of Systemic Constellations.[7] In the past decade, further advancements in the use of the process have been innovated by practitioners throughout the world.

The process draws from indigenous spiritual mysticism to contribute towards releasing tensions, lightening emotional burdens, and resolving real-world problems. Hellinger lived as a Roman Catholic priest in South Africa for 16 years in the 1950s and 1960s. During these years, he became fluent in the Zulu language, participated in Zulu rituals, and gained an appreciation for the Zulu worldview.[7]

Of particular importance is the difference between traditional Zulu attitudes toward parents and ancestors and those typically held by Europeans. Heidegger postulated that to be human is to find oneself thrown into a world with no clear logical, ontological, or moral structure.[8] In Zulu culture, Hellinger found a certitude and equanimity that were the hallmarks of Heidegger’s elusive authentic Self. The traditional Zulu people lived and acted in a religious world in which the ancestors were the central focal point. The ancestors were regarded as positive, constructive, and creative presences.[9]The connection with ancestors is a central feature of the Constellation process.

The term “Family Constellations” was first used by Alfred Adler in a somewhat different context to refer to the phenomenon that each individual belongs to and is bonded in relationship to other members of his or her family system.
The method

Family Constellations

This description is the prototype group Family Constellation as developed by Bert Hellinger in the 1990s.[7] Many practitioners have blended Constellation work with psychological aspects of healing. Others have kept the classic form as taught by Bert Hellinger, such as the Constellation Approach.[10]The Constellation Approach merges concepts of Family Constellations, energy medicine, and consciousness studies to complement the understanding of classic Constellation methodology.

  • A group (workshop) is led by a facilitator. In turn, members of the group can explore an urgent personal issue. Generally, several members will be given an opportunity to set up a Constellation in each session.
  • After a brief interview, the facilitator suggests who will be represented in the Constellation. These are usually a representative for the seeker, one or more family members, and sometimes abstract concepts such as “depression” or a country.
  • The person presenting the issue (seeker or client) asks people from the group to stand in the Constellation as representatives. He or she arranges the representatives according to what feels right in the moment. The seeker then sits down and observes.
  • Several minutes elapse with the representatives standing still and silent in their places. Initially, unlike psychodrama, the representatives do not act, pose, dialogue or role play.
  • Emphasis is placed on perceptive intuition in placing the representatives and in subsequent steps of the procedure. The aim is supposedly to tune into what the psychiatrist Albrecht Mahr describes as the Knowing Field[11] and former biologist Rupert Sheldrake has suggested is morphic resonance.[12] The Knowing Field is claimed to guide participants to perceive and articulate feelings and sensation that mirror those of the real family members they represent; however, representative perception (morphic resonance) is not a concept with any scientific basis. The representatives have little or no factual knowledge about those they represent. Nevertheless, the representatives usually experience feelings or physical sensations that are thought to inform the process.
  • The facilitator may ask each representative to briefly report how they feel being placed in relation to the others. The facilitator, seeker, and group members may believe they perceive an underlying dynamic in the spatial arrangement and feelings held by the representatives that influence the presenting personal issue. Often, configuring multiple generations in a family is thought to reveal that severe traumas continue to unconsciously affect the living long after the original victims or perpetrators have died.
  • A healing resolution for the issue generally is supposedly achieved after re-positioning the representatives and adding key members of the system who have been forgotten or written out of the family history. When every representative feels right in his or her place and the other representatives agree, the facilitator may suggest one or two sentences to be spoken aloud. If the representatives do not feel at peace with their new position or sentences, they can move again or try a different sentence. This is claimed, in an abstract way, to represent a possible resolution of the issues faced by the seeker. Sometimes the process concludes without a full resolution being achieved.
  • When the facilitator feels that the healing resolution has taken hold among the representatives, the seeker is invited to “replace his/her representative in the Constellation”. This supposedly allows the seeker to perceive how it feels to be part of a reconfigured system. When everyone feels comfortable in their place, the Constellation concludes.
  1. ^ Cohen, D. B. (2006). “Family Constellations”: An Innovative Systemic Phenomenological Group Process from Germany”. The Family Journal14(3): 226. doi:10.1177/1066480706287279.
  2. ^ Carroll, Robert T. “Bert Hellinger and family constellations”.
  3. ^ Lebow, Alisa (2008). First Person Jewish. U of Minnesota Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-8166-4354-7.
  4. ^ Witkowski, Tomasz (2015). Psychology Gone Wrong: The Dark Sides of Science and Therapy (illustrated ed.). Universal-Publishers. p. 261. ISBN 978-1-62734-528-6. Extract of page 261
  5. ^ Hellinger, B., Weber, G., & Beaumont, H. (1998). Love’s hidden symmetry: What makes love work in relationships. Phoenix, AZ: Zeig, Tucker and Theisen.
  6. ^ Boszormenyi-Nagy, I., & Spark, G. M. (1973). Invisible loyalties: Reciprocity in intergenerational family therapy. Hagerstown, MD: Harper & Row.
  7. Jump up to:a b c d Cohen, D. B. (2006). “Family Constellations”: An innovative systemic phenomenological group process from Germany. The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, 14, 226-233.
  8. ^ Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and time (J. Macquarrie & E. Robinson, translators). New York: Harper & Row (original work published 1927).
  9. ^ Lawson, E. T. (1985). Religions of Africa. New York: Harper and Row.
  10. ^ “The Constellation Approach”
  11. ^ Mahr, A. (1999). “Das wissende feld: Familienaufstellung als geistig energetisches heilen” [“The knowing field: Family constellations as mental and energetic healing”]. In Geistiges heilen für eine neue zeit [Intellectual cures for a new time]. Heidelberg, Germany: Kösel Verlag.
  12. ^ Sheldrake, R. (1988). The presence of the past: Morphic resonance and the habits of nature. Rochester, VT: Park Street.

Further reading

Transpersonal Therapy

580327_529206137125045_134235400_n (1)

Letting the system move to a flow of love through insight and the multifaceted weave of consciousness. Every persons wisdom in the Constellating adds to the healing and wellbeing.

As the constellation progresses, the hidden dynamics of the system are revealed. Slowly the process moves toward a resolution where the inner image is one where each member of the family has found a good place in the system. This is measured by the bodily ease and comfort that each representative feels. The resolving image is a new inner reality that the client can take with them into their outer world (Hellinger 1998).

Integrating New or Lost or Emerging Aspects of Self

Integrating New or Lost or Emerging Aspects of Self

Interview with Amanda Gifford on Family Constellations 2017 on Eden Radio.

VIDEO BELOW: AMANDA ON Epigenetics, Frequency Thought, HIV, Drama Therapy Morphogenetics, Human Potential and Future Selves

Published on Feb 20, 2013

Amanda Gifford from GeniusLab South Africa, William Brown from Resonance Foundation Hawaii and Jaime Leal-Anya from Super Consciousness Magazine Yelm, WA USA share a mindmeld about epigenetics, thoughts, frequency, focus, health, sound, observer effect and experiential methodologies for health and wellbeing of the system like Drama Therapy and Family & Systems Constellations work that Amanda has been doing in South Africa and much more. Listen to this conversation if you are interested in the research in the study of applied mind, health, DNA, epigenetics, thought, frequency, consciousness and mastering your experience of reality by learning to resonate the frequency you wish to experience. William Brown is a biophysicist and research scientist at the Resonance Project Foundation ( and Hawai’i Insitute for Unified Physics (, where he performs experimentation and theoretical work to better understand the physics of complex systems. He explores all systems of knowledge, from physics and biology to ontology and the nature of consciousness. Although his exploration of understanding is all inclusive, William’s professional background is in cellular and molecular biology. He has worked in numerous laboratory facilities across the United States and has extensive experience in molecular biology research.

This below is an interview with Amanda Gifford on Family Constellations by SuperConsciousness Magazine in Yelm Feb 7th 2013.

Family and Systems Constellations is a therapeutic method developed by Bert Hellinger, German psychotherapist, author and teacher. Although Hellinger’s work transformed considerably in recent years, his early work is known today as “Classical Constellations”, which deals with the trans-generational dynamics of family systems.

Hellinger worked as a missionary in Natal for 16 years, and is currently in his 80’s. In his early work, Hellinger uncovered what he has called the “Orders of Love”, (natural laws, which assist the flow of love within a family system).

Using family constellations, the problematic dynamics that operate in families can become visible and can be experienced by the client from a meta-position or in an embodied way that brings new insights and perspectives.

This work emerged out of indigenous healing systems, psychotherapy, family therapy, group therapy, systems theory and phenomenology. Constellations have also been used in education, health care, prisons and other social services.

When the person is “entangled” in their system, they may experience a range of physical, emotional and mental difficulties and struggle to engage with life and their current context in their full strength. With the constellation, patterns that run over many generations can be revealed, and resources that strengthen the person become evident within the wider family system. During the family constellation, the body, mind and heart of the person can be engaged so that the healing is not merely an intellectual insight, but an experience that can draw on various sources for resources and solutions.

Families and individuals can address issues such as marriage and relationship difficulties, physical and mental illness, addiction, adoption, grief, employment and finances. Organizations can use this process for coaching team members or to focus on restructuring, communication, decision-making, and strategic issues. Constellations may also reveal a new perspective on issues related to inheritance, family businesses, war, crimes and race. Constellations have also been applied to community settings, reconciliation, and environmental and political themes.

In a constellation people representing family members or elements of any system are placed in relationship to each other, making a 3D image of the system available to the facilitator. From this set up, the facilitator and client can develop potential solutions to provide effective intervention in the system. Those who have facilitated the work, as well as those who have experienced it, find both the effect and the process difficult to explain. The outcome of the work is: a greater ability for love to flow between family members, regardless of the family “story”. In the case of Organizations, a greater flow of acknowledgment, productivity and/or profit is observed.

Systemic and Family Constellations can also be done in individual counseling and coaching settings using genograms, floor markers or figurines.

Family and Systems Constellations is not always gentle approach, and can instigate larger healing shifts that can make the symptom or client feel worse in some cases before getting better. It is not a substitute for long term therapy and it is not recommended to attend group workshops when suffering from a depressive episode, psychosis or post traumatic stress. Individual Constellations are a better choice if the client is already feeling overwhelmed or vulnerable.