Family Hand’me Downs – A look at Family Constellations

We’re all familiar with the treasured items that get passed down through a family from generation to generation. Maybe it’s a piece of antique furniture, or a cherished piece of jewelry. It becomes a part of our lives and pays homage to our roots.

The same applies to the non-physical; perhaps better known as familial patterns. They, too, become a part of our lives but may not be so treasured.

Bert Hellinger, a German psychotherapist and founder of Family Constellations, speaks about the “orders of love” within the family unit. This order transcends all generations, and the influence of traumatic events such as death, divorce, war, miscarriage, adoption, illness, etc. can be felt by multi-generations of family members. Out of love and loyalty, we can unconsciously carry these traumas and destructive patterns of our ancestors, which then manifest in our daily lives as ill health, addiction, depression, relationship issues, financial difficulties, etc.

What are you struggling with in your life? And what if that baggage you’re carrying isn’t yours?

Family Constellations have nothing to do with astrology (a question I am frequently asked). Family Constellations is a gentle and deeply insightful experiential process for individuals seeking to gain a greater understanding of their situation and build a solid foundation for a new direction in life.

What does a Constellation look like?

First, I should clarify that no one aside from you and the Facilitator are privy to your family history. All personal details are kept strictly confidential.

Here’s what it looks like – the participant chooses from the other workshop participants a representative for each family member and places them in relationship to each other according to his/her inner picture of the family system. Guided by the facilitator, representatives are invited to intuitively move and interact with other ‘family members’, often bringing to light unconscious dynamics within the family unit. With this new understanding, appreciation and/or detachment processes are offered allowing for a shift in energy and a restructuring of the ‘orders of love’ and a more balanced dynamic for all members of the family.

How is this interaction possible without others knowing your family history?

Dr Rupert Sheldrake talks about the morphic field; a field of conscious energy that connects all living beings. During the Constellation process we tap directly into that field through simple intention. As each representative stands in place they are able to tap into the emotions, feelings, and memories of those they represent. Sound a little out there? Perhaps. But, I, myself have been participating in this work for five years now and I can assure you it is as profound as it is mind-boggling.

I still remember in June of 2008, arriving in France for a week long Family Constellation Retreat. I had signed up without knowing the faintest thing about this work. Have you ever been inexplicably drawn to something unfamiliar? I pay close attention when this happens – it feels like my soul is whispering to me and although I may not understand ‘why’ at the time, I’ve learned to just trust.

Nine of us gathered that week from all corners of the world – Canada, England, New Zealand and Egypt. Even the vast cultural differences we’re no match for our shared humanity, and that week we spent together sharing in each other’s Constellations re-affirmed for me that regardless of our culture, our belief system, our personal story – when you peel away all the peripheral details, we are all one.

We are all one, looking to be loved and accepted. It’s that simple.

I was so nervous on that first day as I stepped up to represent a family member in one of the other participant’s Constellation. My ego mind was frantic – “what if I get it wrong?” “What if I think or feel nothing?” “Am I just making this stuff up?”. How can I possibly know what a complete stranger was thinking or feeling? Then I heard the reassuring voice of the facilitator “Just settle into your body and know that whatever arises is the right thing. You cannot get this wrong”.  Trust.

As time went on my trust in the process grew and I began to feel more comfortable in my role as representative, and I was amazed at the consistently confirmed accuracy of each Constellation.

Then it came time for my Constellation. I chose participants to represent each member of my family and placed them around the room as per my inner picture of our family system. I then took a seat on the side-lines and watched in absolute awe as this group of strangers lovingly and compassionately played out my family dynamic.

So what’s the purpose of a Constellation?

To restore the “orders of love” within the family unit. Through creating deeper awareness and mindfully experiencing appreciation or detachment processes, we are able to create a conscious shift in energy and restore the natural flow of love within the family. You will leave with a much deeper understanding of your soul’s journey within the family dynamic you chose to be a part of.

Do other members of my family have to be present?

No, like a pebble tossed into the water, the energy shifts created during the Constellation process will ripple out far and wide touching every member of your ancestral lineage.

Join us on March 28 – 30th as we welcome Mike Berold, from France, for another insightful and deeply healing weekend of Family Constellations.

Questions? Please feel free to email me at or call me at 604-807-2255.

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Wisteria Acres Wellness & Retreats
Phone: 604-807-2255 | Email: | Langley, BC, V1M 2R3