Family Constellations

family constellations

Family & Sytems Constellations Sessions  with Amanda Gifford


Individual and Group Sessions

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.