Family constellation: how it works in a group or individual

The family constellation is a method that aims to resolve conflicts or problems in a person’s life. In groups or individually, the main point is the understanding that family history and past actions of relatives can interfere with the present life.

As a result, many difficulties, fears, fears, mental and even physical problems can result from poorly resolved facts or actions taken by a distant member – and even a deceased one.

The method is simple, with each session designed to solve a problem. Thus, the family constellation can reorganize the ways in which the person deals with his life and his difficulties.

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What is family constellation?

The family constellation aims to work on people’s mental and physical problems, such as social difficulties, illnesses, traumas and fears.

For this, it has as a starting point the family relationships, including ancestors and deceased people. This is because, the approach defends that the origin of the problems is in the relations of the past.

This practice is based on the idea that people carry “memories” of the lives of their family members and tend to repeat the experiences of past generations. These memories are not conscious, but they influence a person’s actions.

This is due to a phenomenon called the morphogenetic field, a hypothesis little accepted in the scientific community that concerns a kind of collective memory of all things.

In these fields, you will find information on patterns of form and behavior of each thing that is organized independently. Each animal species, crystals and even galaxies have their own morphogenetic field.

This information is passed on to all individuals within the field of a kind regardless of physical or temporal distance. Thus, individuals living in the moment can capture information from past generations even without having had any contact with them.

The same thing happens with families: patterns of behavior are passed on from generation to generation through the family’s morphogenetic field.

Following this logic, many of a person’s current problems may actually be the problems of his or her ancestors.

The family constellation method was developed by Bert Hellinger, a German philosopher who observed in the Zulu tribe in South Africa, a new way of solving problems among people.

To complement his theory, Hellinger postulated 3 laws of love that, when broken, are responsible for the imbalances of the family morphogenetic field. Are they:

  • Law of belonging: everyone has the right to belong to a family or clan. When, in past generations, a family member is excluded (for whatever reason), this can manifest itself in the current family system;
  • Law of hierarchy: every individual occupies a specific space in the family and cannot occupy the space of other members. A son cannot take the place of a father, for example;
  • Law of balance: there must be a balance between giving and receiving within the family. This imbalance generates feelings of guilt, dependence and devaluation.

It is worth remembering that the family constellation lacks scientific evidence and, therefore, is not a practice recognized by the Federal Council of Psychology (CFP), nor by the Federal Council of Medicine (CFM).

Even so, the practice is offered by the Unified Health System (SUS) as part of the National Policy on Integrative and Complementary Practices.

It is also used in the Judiciary, helping to reconcile family lawsuits, such as child custody, parental alienation, alimony, among others.

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What is it for: what is the purpose of constellation therapy?

The purpose of the family constellation is to get in touch with the morphogenetic field of the client’s family and identify the imbalance that is being transmitted by the field, in order to finally be able to resolve the main complaint.

A couple who are separating, for example, may discover through the family constellation that the separation of couples has been in the wife’s family for many generations and she was just repeating the pattern unnecessarily.

Family constellation therapy aims to break this pattern, so that the past has no influence on current and future generations.

The work of the family constellation is fast and takes place in just one session, as it seeks to solve only one problem at a time. If there are other problems to be solved, the client should seek the therapist for a new session.

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How does the session work?

The session is usually done in a group, but it can also be done individually with the help of pieces of paper, dolls or other objects as representatives of the client’s family members.

The therapist, also called a constellator, interrogates to find out more about the client’s life and the problem he wants to solve.

Then, the therapist chooses some family members with whom the work will be done and the client chooses people from the group, preferably unknown, to represent these family members.

Each representative is positioned in the room, composing a formation that portrays the client’s relationships.

It is important that everyone can be observed, as their movements, looks and body posture will reveal to the therapist how the session should be conducted.

The training carried out by the client is called the family constellation. From it, it is possible to get in touch with the family’s morphogenetic field, making the representatives assume feelings, perceptions and impulses of the represented members.

From there, representatives can act alone according to these impulses or the therapist can make interventions to help resolve possible impasses.

Letting themselves be guided by this information obtained through the morphogenetic field, dialogues occur that promote balance and the resolution of problems within the family.

In addition to bringing more understanding to the client about his problem, it is expected that the morphogenetic field will be affected by these conversations and movements of representatives.

This brings balance to the family, even if the represented members did not actually participate in the session.

After the client feels that the problem is resolved, the representatives leave their roles and the session ends.

It is not recommended to comment on the work with family members or other people, but sometimes there may be a discussion round to share what has been worked on within the session group itself.

Individual session: how does it work?

The procedure is very similar, in which family members are represented, aiming to resolve conflicts in the client’s life.

However, instead of people taking on the role of family members, dolls or pieces of paper are used on the floor. In the latter, the client assumes representation and participates more actively.

In order to choose the dolls, the client is asked to imagine and relive the conflict situations in his mind. Perceiving emotions and feelings, the therapist captures tensions and releases flows.


Different practices help, with different approaches, in solving problems, conflicts and difficulties.

Many techniques and methods are used to improve social, family, personal and professional relationships, working on aspects of each person’s life.

The family constellation is one of them. Through centrality in the family, the method is dedicated to releasing energy flows accumulated by the practices and actions of close or distant relatives.

With the help of a mediating therapist, the sessions are focused on each problem brought by the client, seeking to solve it through dialogue and understanding of the past.

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