Family Constellation – How does it work?

Constellation work simply means putting a problem into a picture. This picture can be placed with people in a room, using objects as replacements for people or with drawings on paper. Constellations can be done as a group session or in an individual one-on-one setting.

How does a session work?

Let’s take the following case as an example: “Someone (the client) got a job offer in Germany but can’t decide to leave Egypt. A decision needs to be taken”.

The following could be placed: the person, Germany, Egypt, their work and their family.

Throughout the placing, using people or objects, a first reflection happens. It starts in silence, without talking, after a while, when everybody has taken a position, the facilitator asks  various questions and asks them to do different movements.

In this example if the client chose a place close to “Egypt”, the facilitator would then ask them if they could move closer to Germany, they would then be asked about their feels there. 

The process will reveal if the client wants to stay in Egypt, and the reasons behind it, examples could be: responsibility or fear from the new circumstances that the move would bring.

Like in any kind of role play, different scenarios can be placed. The process of going through these different situations gives the client an idea about their inner and hidden dynamics.


Another example:

“A young beautiful girl was already engaged twice and now number three is waiting. But she is afraid; she feels that she always falls in love with the wrong person”.

In this case, the family would be placed in order to see how the dynamics of marriage are working in her system; with a focus on the wife–husband relationship. Relevant questions in this case are not necessarily how the parents are with each other, but rather, it is important to know about any substantial destinies that happened in the family. Maybe her mother was engaged before, but her loved one died in an accident before the marriage was performed. This, on a subconscious level, is quite shocking and is then carried by each member of the family in one way or another.

Although this may not seem logical at first sight, as the mother later married someone else she loved, and the girl is the offspring from this marriage, but feelings like fear, sorrow, grief and loss are strong elements, especially if they are denied or not appropriately processed. In her subconscious mind, the young girl might see that something bad will happen, so better not to get happy in the first place. Her relationships become a self-fulfilling prophecy of unhappiness.

The Covered Method

A unique aspect in constellation work is hidden work. In the above stated examples of constellations, people will be placed in a room, and the facilitator chooses people from the group to represent the family members. The client will sit outside the picture to observe the process.



The client’s privacy is ensured by a pre-talk that takes place prior to the constellation. At this point everything is discussed and the client is free to choose what is or isn’t shared with the whole group. The people who have been chosen to represent the family members will not know who or what they represent. They can be a person, a feeling, a country or the idea of love, life or death. By not knowing, they can feel free in their actions and reactions.

The facilitator will ask the representatives to move according to their impulses, without any words. Many things can happen at this point: one may want to lay down, another may choose to stay beside the wall, a third may move closer to another representative etc… Sometimes the movement looks like a film run and the client can see all aspects of the issue.

A phenomenon can be noticed: the people have the feelings and impulses of the family member they represent, although they don’t know them personally. The group members are strangers to each other. How can this be explained? The best answer is provided by the book of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: The Knowing Field.

After a certain amount of time, the length of which differs from one constellation to the next, everyone will find their place. According to all these observed reactions, the facilitator will ask everyone about their feelings. The answers give the facilitator a feeling for the direction of the healthful energy, which he/she will go with to find the further required steps. This can be by placing the people differently or saying certain sentences in order to find the best solution to resolve the issue.


A constellation is always about bringing subconscious or even completely unconscious circumstances into light. It is about finding out where a connection is hindering us and how the energy of the free can take over a situation to find a solution. Sometimes we feel like puppets being pushed into things we don’t want, and the placing of a picture which we have inside us is the first step towards a solution.

The process allows us to look at different possibilities from the “outside,” which triggers reactions in the client like: “oh! I would have never thought of this possibility;” or the opposite: “I always felt that this was the right thing to do, but I never trusted my own instincts”; or, “it’s strange, that I didn’t see it myself; and somebody else may think: I actually knew it already.” All these different insights can lead to change.

Constellation work is done on subconscious and unconscious levels, which stimulates the emotional and spiritual development of not only one person, but due to that development and the changes that take place,  it also has an effect on the whole family or the family members concerned; this is why there is no need for other family members to attend.

Peculiar surprises have happened after constellation work. in one instance a father suddenly called his daughter, who just had a constellation. This call was the first after years of no contact. In another instance someone went home to find the family asking: what happened? you look so different and somehow, we have the feeling you are more present to us.

Another example is that of a wife who went home after her constellation and threw herself into the arms of her husband, who she didn’t even like to look at during her constellation. And now they can talk after months of no communication.