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Why Family Constellations?

As some of you know, I’ve been studying a modality called Family Constellations because I think the premises behind this unusual method dovetail perfectly with hypnotherapy. In order to do a really deep dive into the work, my friend Ardas Khalsa (Altar Home) and I brought in expert facilitator Hargopal Khalsa for a two day workshop August 20 and 21, here in Santa Fe.

Family Constellations is a type of therapeutic work based on the idea that problems sift down through generations to cause stress in the here and now. Working through a family constellation we can find the cause of a client’s problems and resolve them. This may sound surprising, but in reality, families are such a major part of our lives that even the most functional families may cause members some degree of stress.

Family constellations work was developed by the late German psychotherapist Bert Hellinger. A constellation can be done one on one - between a facilitator and a client - or in large groups, like the workshop, in which the facilitator and client choose other participants to serve as the client’s family members. The client physically places the participants in relation to one another, and amazingly, the group takes on the energetic dynamic of the family. Slowly, without much speaking, the participants shift position and interact until the issue resolves.

To understand how a group of strangers, abstractly imitating family dynamics, can create lasting positive change it’s important to understand a key theory in hypnotherapy: The Laws of Correspondence. These principles concern the effects of subconscious programming on daily interactions.

The Laws of Correspondence are: 1) Projection, 2) Attraction, and 3) Transfiguration. The Law of Projection states that everything you see outside of yourself is a projection created by you. With the subconscious taking up 95% of the mind’s activities, it’s easy to see how projection is just a fancy word for interpretation. With Projection, however, we're putting our interpretations where they don't apply. The Law of Attraction states that people are attracted to people, things, places, and events that reflect the nature of their subconscious programing. The Law of Transfiguration says that the strong subconscious thoughts of one person are pipelined to the subconscious of another person even if the first person tries to hide these thoughts. In other words, others act towards you according to how you think of yourself.

So, if we alter the content of a client’s subconscious programming, we change what the client projects and attracts, as well as how they perceive themselves and how others perceive them.

Hellinger believed that families are a kind of energy system and that constellations reflect the truth of that system, free of the stories clients tell themselves about their families or themselves. In short, they reflect “what is.” When the truth of a family dynamic becomes apparent to a client, the client ceases to falsely project. The client’s self-perception changes in response, and the client begins to attract healthier relationships and situations. In short, the false programming in a client’s subconscious mind drops away and is replaced by acceptance of the dynamic, even if it remains unresolved. It’s th

at acceptance that allows a client to move forward and fully heal.

If you’re interested in learning more or joining a future workshop, just email me at

It's our intention to bring Hargopal back to Santa Fe in the spring...worth a trip to the Land of Enchantment, just saying//// Anne Nygren Doherty CMS-CHt, FIBH ID# F11120-680

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