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Family Constellations: Healing Ancestral Wounds Within Us

Jul 29, 2014 02:44AM

There is growing evidence that we carry within us not only physical traits, but also the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of our ancestors. Research shows that unresolved traumas from our family systems may be at the root of some of the most persistent challenges we currently face. Every individual is responsible not only to heal oneself, but in doing so, to contribute to healing the whole family system. As members of the family system, we are not separate from the whole any more than one cell is separate from the rest of the body.

Family Constellations (FC) reveals hidden dynamics from our family’s past, and helps us to heal and move forward in our lives. In a Family Constellations Circle, a group of individuals meet with the intention of exploring challenges they currently face in their lives. When they come together, they become a system united by common intention—to heal oneself and to support the healing of others in the group.

The FC process is based on the concept that each individual is an energy field that records and holds information of his/her own past, and that of all the collective systems s/he is part of—family, tribe, community, country, humanity, planet and universe. The family system is the closest to us and has the most direct influence on us. Information needed for healing can be accessed from the energy field through energy processes such as FC. A trained facilitator guides the process.

The person whose issue is being processed, the seeker, briefly shares information about the family’s known trauma history with the facilitator. The seeker then chooses others from the group to represent family members including ancestors and positions them in the circle relative to each other as she or he perceives them. The seeker then observes what happens.

The representatives move and interact according to their impulses, emotions and feelings. In this process, traumas and entanglements from past generations are revealed. Thus, the seeker gains insight into the systemic source of his or her current challenge. The healing begins when the truth is revealed, acknowledged, and when balance and order is restored. The representatives, guided by the facilitator, symbolically restructure the system with unconditional love, ensuring that everyone who belongs to the system is recognized, honored and given a place, and relationships that are out of order are reordered.

Family Constellations was developed by Bert Hellinger, a German psychologist, philosopher and author. Previously a Catholic priest in post World War II Germany, Hellinger was in South Africa as a missionary to the Zulu people in the 1950s and 1960s.  In the 16 years with them, he observed their indigenous healing traditions, noting the significance they gave to ancestral patterns and transgenerational effects on the lives of individuals.

Returning to Germany, Hellinger studied with pioneers in applying systemic theory to psychology. He developed Family Constellations in 1990 from what he had learned, observed and experienced. Working with several thousands of families, Hellinger identified “Orders of Love” that operate in the depths of family systems and in the human soul.  Violation and disrespect of these natural laws due to tragic circumstances and unconscious behavior in past generations affect the lives of later generations.

The FC process is an eloquent expression of the connection that we have as individuals to the collective systems that we are part of at every level. It demonstrates that we are all part of the same field of information and that we can intentionally access this information as needed for our healing and survival.

To learn more information about Family Constellations, visit Dr. Abhayaratna’s website at, the Hellinger Institute DC at or the Systemic Constellation Group at

Dr. Suchinta Abhayaratna, Th.D. is a transpersonal & transformational psychologist and holistic health educator/coach, offering consultations and workshops in-person and online. She developed Creative Holistic Integration (CHI), a subtle energy-based multimodal program emphasizing self-care. She facilitates Family Constellation Circles as part of the CHI program. For more info call 571-422-6734, email [email protected] or visit


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