Family Constellations

What are you struggling with? Perhaps it didn’t start with you.

Present day difficulties may have their roots in unresolved traumas suffered by previous generations. Family Constellations are about restoring order in the family system and allowing love to flow.

Perhaps you have struggled a long time with a particular issue or challenge. It may be that something in the life of an ancestor was so difficult or unrecognised that it was unable to be presenced, held and integrated. One way of understanding this is to consider that you have been ‘asked’ by the family system to carry that energy forward so it can be acknowledged and integrated or healed. In love you have done so, even if you were not conscious of this. And now this energy, trauma or challenge can be made conscious, met with compassion and reverence, and released. This work is about care of the family soul, as well as the individual soul, and its affects are trans-generational.

Around 30 years ago Bert Hellinger created what came to be called Family Constellations as a way of working with individuals in the context of their family system. He had worked for many years with the Zulu people of Africa and found in their culture a sense of inner confidence and calm that is less common in European culture. He noticed that connection with ancestors was very important, and this became a central feature of the work he developed.

What is Family Constellation work?

Angelika Chisholm, one of my teachers, describes it like this:

Each of us belongs to a family system extending over several generations. When the family system is balanced, the individuals within it can receive the generational flow of love from those who came before them, and they can pass it on to those who follow. However, families can only function harmoniously in this way when each family member belonging to the system has an equally valued and respected place within it.

Disturbances to the natural flow of love within a family can result from various situations and events, for example:

  • the untimely loss of a parent or child
  • disrespect for, or exclusion of, a family member
  • interrupted bonding between parent and child
  • adoptions
  • miscarriages, stillbirths and abortions
  • serious illness of a family member
  • unresolved feelings towards former partners
  • war experiences
  • the presence of victims and perpetrators of crime and injustice
  • family secrets
  • (and I would add colonialism)

The deep residual impact of these difficult fates is often felt generations later, even when the particular family member is forgotten or long deceased. The unresolved issues are passed on by a balancing mechanism (the family soul) to an innocent and unknowing member of a future generation, often a child or grandchild.

When an individual is “tied up” in the fate or business of another member of the extended family, we describe it as being entangled. When entanglement occurs, it results in difficulties and suffering which may affect many generations.

These difficulties show up in a variety of ways, such as loneliness, depression, alcohol and drug dependency, suicide, mental or physical illness, recurring accidents, constricting and recurring family patterns, relationship difficulties with parents, partners or children, and inability to achieve true potential.

In Family Constellation work the focus is on revealing those unconscious and trans-generational patterns of entanglement and then seeking to find a new solution. Relationships can then be re-aligned, allowing healing forces to flow freely. The process is often profoundly touching and seems to work at the very soul of all present.

How do we work?

Family Constellations is essentially a group therapeutic method that aims to find the hidden dynamics behind our issues and bring a new perspective. We work in a group workshop setting.

However, we can also work one-to-one; there are many powerful ways of working individually that give us access to the same information, allowing a movement towards a new relationship with our family system, and a fresh way of seeing and doing life.


Family Constellations workshops: Please contact me if you would like to arrange a workshop.

One-to-one work: see Care of the Soul

Contact mefor an introductory chat, to book a session or to enquire about Family Constellations workshops coming up.

021 0832 4224 © margaret mccallum 2020