Family Constellations explained

In one sentence:

It’s got nothing to do with Astrology; it’s a powerful, life-changing tool to free oneself from ancestral entanglement; shine a light onto the unconscious; find one’s place in this world; and create positive change, healing and peace.

Brief explanation:

Family Constellations (or Systems Constellations) have nothing to do with the stars (although there are facilitators who specialise in Astrological Systems Constellations). The word is a translation from the German ‘Aufstellungen’, which could also be translated as ‘placements’. You place your (family- or work- or other-) system using participants as representatives on a dedicated space in the room. That way you get to see your inner picture of the (family- or work- or other-) situation from an outside point of view, which in itself is very revealing. The representatives then report how they feel in that position and might also feel they would like to move somewhere else. These movements are being felt and are intuitive; they don’t come from a thinking process. During this body-oriented experience a new picture evolves; and it becomes clearer and clearer how the dynamics are driving this particular system. Heartbreaks (broken connections) or emotional trauma may be revealed and can be addressed, and entanglements can be seen and unravelled. Every resolved entanglement causes a huge sense of relief in the space. The final, new picture can be taken in and integrated by the person who’s issue was looked at. People usually leave a constellation with deeper insight into their family dynamics, and a clearer sense of what to do next, because their attitude will have changed and they will have been able to see a bigger picture. As a participant, whether you work on your issue or not, you may take away an sense of new understanding and attitude, which may change your life profoundly and sustainably. Any questions: Please get in touch.

You can look up “Family Constellations” or “Systemic Constellations” on YouTube and will find quite a selection of videos, which demonstrate how they work. Of course every facilitator works with their own set of tools, experience and creativity.

Testimonial by Louise, Counsellor

If you’d like a one-to-one Family Constellation session with me (takes up to 3 hours), please get in touch: Contact

For my upcoming group workshop, please click HERE.

Excerpt from a feedback form for Silvia Siret's facilitation in Petersfield, UK, on 9th October 2022.

In more detail:

Silvia Siret, OxISC, Constellations, Systemic Constellations, Family constellations, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Healing, Growth, Coaching
Family Constellation with wooden figurines

In a family systems constellation, you can place your inner picture of your family in a defined space by using representatives from the participants. You’ll have an opportunity to say which issue you’d like to look at. It can be an illness, a decision that is difficult to take, unfinished business, a conflict within any relationship, or something that’s been accompanying you for a life time and that sucks valuable life energy. In the first conversation it usually shows very clearly what the theme is here and now. Then a decision is being made whether your family of origin or your current family or any other system you’re part of is being placed.

You find representatives for your family amongst the participants, who you place without thinking, in the defined space. Do the persons stand near, maybe too near to one another? Do they look into different directions, alas are turning away from each other? Do they all look at one point or onto the floor? Who stands next to whom?

Now a phenomenon becomes visible, which astounds people again and again and deeply impresses them: As soon as the representatives are in their roles, each of them becomes part of this system. The representatives “take on” the feelings of the persons they are representing. It shows that there are connections, which at this point we can only explain partly. In physics the term “Morphogenetic Field” exists. Us constellation facilitators speak of the “Knowing Field”; and it seems that we all are connected on levels which we still don’t know very well. Anyway, in constellations it shows again and again that the representatives in their roles feel equally like the persons they are standing for. That is often expressed in words, which sometimes are used in the exact same way. (Of course, it might be sayings which are common and nothing special, but sometimes are so specific that we can’t talk of coincidence anymore.)

What is the aim of family systems constellations?

The aspired aim of a family constellation is that every family member finds the place in the system, in which it feels fine, so that at the end of the constellation everybody feels well. (If this isn’t achieved in some rare cases, something in the soul of the person concerned is initiated, so that what has been made visible and sent on its way will work to the better within the family.) On the way to solution usually some more or less important intermediate steps are necessary to take. On one hand it depends on what the representatives feel like, on the other hand the order plays an important role. Bert Hellinger calls it the “Orders of Love”. It means that, in the system, who was here first has priority and needs to be regarded as prior. In this order children come after their parents and are allowed to be small and to take from their parents; the parents are the givers. This sounds like a matter of course, but still it is so, that, when parents can’t cope with their duty because of their own bad fortune, the children can’t help but support their parents and – in extreme cases – take on the parent’s role. Children will fill this vacuum out of deep love towards their parents and in order to be able to survive. This pattern usually sticks with them all their lives. It can lead to dependency from their parents in a childishly loving way, so that they are not free for their own life, their own relationship and family. Or they might turn away from their parents with bitterness and are connected to them in an unhealthy way through this anger.

A second important point are the members of the family, which have been excluded from the system; maybe because they’ve done something bad, or they died early, or they had a difficult destiny. They are being excluded, because remembering them seems to be too hard to bear. But it shows again and again that a family can not abide this. There is something like a “family soul”, which makes sure that no family member is forgotten or excluded. Often a follower acts like the forgotten/excluded member of the family. He or she follows them by behaving like them and will cause difficulties as long as it takes for somebody to become alert, to look at it and to see the missing person and give them back their place in the system with appreciation.

What is so important about this form of rehabilitation?

The important thing is the attitude during the work: All this, all the behaviour happens out of deep attachment-love, which does everything in order to keep affiliation with the system family, and to change things for the better.

Finally this is about finding the point at which love was disconnected. This is the point, at which energy bundles noticeably in a constellation. It is always moving how much love is hiding behind apparent hardness, to feel the sigh of relief within the room when a disrupted family comes together again, when separated partners finally respect each other and then go their separate ways, knowing that they stay parents to their common children forever.

Basically, what also happens during family constellations is that life transitions are being recognised through little rituals; and not lived-through grief and failed farewells are being caught up. When we appreciate and value what the situation is like, development processes and self-healing powers are being initiated, energy is set free, which was bound, and we become free for our own lives.

Why is this method becoming so popular?

In a family constellation it is clearly appreciated that we are not as free and disengaged as we imagine in these times of individualisation and singling. Here it is shown in a healthy way how important some orders and bonds are. When declined bonds are being recognised again and seemingly unconquerable conflicts dissolve, then something in our soul can be healed. This will help our children find peace and our families become a source of strength and love. Only then we are really free for our own lives. What we can solve doesn’t need to be carried by our children.

Systemic constellations are helpful in all questions concerning human cooperation, vocational themes, teams, companies and institutions.

Last but not least, it’s hard to describe a constellation. One should experience the impact on oneself; be it their own constellation or somebody else’s, acting as representative. As a representative one can dive deeply into the spirit of this work and make valuable experiences.

Click here to book your space on my workshop in Oxford on 1 April 2023:

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