What are Family Constellations?

Family Constellation work is a gentle yet transformative process that unravels unconscious loyalties and stuck patterns of behavior. It bypasses the usual cognition to touch deep currents, while gently holding the heartbeat of the family lineage. We name and contextualize that which has been invisible, yet so in charge of these stuck patterns.

Each of us is born into a family system (or lineage) that spans many generations, and within each family system is an unspoken and often unconscious rulebook for what is acceptable in order to belong in that family.

Constellations reveal the unconscious contracts that our bodies make with our family systems and the world. We make these contracts so that we can be accepted and/or survive in our community. As we explore and release the constriction that results from these contracts, we experience a lightening and a broader horizon of possibility.

As the unconscious effects of being in our family system become conscious, the knots of previously unspoken entanglements are loosened. Rather than based on intellectual understanding, this healing is embodied, integrating the big picture of our family system. The emotional and physical pain that may have been carried for generations can release, allowing us to break free from unwanted patterns and lay them to rest. This “sense making” of our family history brings understanding to our brain (our brains love to be understood) and opportunities to make different choices.

Attachment research shows that parents pass on their brain use patterns to their children. As early as 4 months of age, a baby can read the emotional expression of his or her mom (or mothering person). Because we humans are wired to connect and be accepted, a baby will shut down their own authentic emotional expression in order to belong, and to try to balance their parents’ brains. This lays the groundwork for unconscious behaviors. In my family, anger was not an acceptable expression, and I grew up wondering why I couldn’t tolerate my own or other people’s anger. I spent most of my life crying instead of expressing anger because I had shut down my own anger circuit.

Our conscious awareness may not remember, but our nervous system, which is part of our brain, never forgets. Living from this unconscious rulebook can cause us to trip over our genuine intentions of creating prosperous and meaningful work in the world, successful relationships, vibrant health, creative expression, balance, and joy.

Through constellation work we look into what lives in our unconscious and gently move it to our conscious awareness. This helps our nervous system to regain its ability to self-regulate. We gain agency to walk in the world with a greater capacity for internal balance, ease, emotional safety, self-love, and warm connection with others.

What happens in a Family Constellation?

In a constellation we place people or objects to represent ourselves, issues, family members and other elements that are relevant to whatever healing or resolution is desired. By watching how these representatives interact with each other, and feeling into our body experience, we gain insight into the family dynamics and patterns that have shaped our relationships.

With this making sense and understanding that happens during a constellation, we often settle into a solution or a new clarity is revealed around our issue, freeing ourselves from a cycle of repeating unhealthy or undesired patterns of behavior.

Please Note: Family constellation work is an opportunity for personal growth and transformation. It offers ways to see the world and yourself with new levels of compassion. This work is not therapy and is not a substitute for therapy. If you have a sense that you would be destabilized by others speaking about difficult events, it would be better not to join us for this program.

Click here for a longer explanation.

About Katherine

Every constellation facilitator brings their unique skills and artistry. I have 30 years experience drawn from many healing modalities and teachings. Into my work I weave interpersonal neurobiology, attachment theory, depth empathy work, and Non-violent Communication. I have studied primarily with Sarah Peyton since 2013, and have studied with and integrated practices from Stephan Hausner, author of Even If It Costs Me My Life, and the Russian master teacher Elena Viselago, director of the Center for Contemporary Constellation Work in Moscow.

I offer constellation work because I see it as the fastest and most powerful tool I have ever experienced for harvesting the wisdom within our own bodies. I also do it because I’m passionate about contributing to the well being of others and myself. This work is gentle, effective, and creates a foundation for lasting change. Our neurons of relationality are our most neuroplastic, and we never lose the ability to create or repair connections with others and ourselves.

Call me at 415 381-9161 (landline) or email me at KatherineQ@RicherLiving.org for scheduling and rates.

How can I have a Constellation and where does it take place?

Online Group: Your Life Makes Sense

Join a 6-week online Constellation group that starts every 6 weeks or so. For December we will be having a 2-week group, then resuming the 6-week groups on January 4th, 2021.The group meets via Zoom, and I use the whiteboard to draw the representatives. Participants as well as the drawing of the constellation are visible to all. I regularly facilitate constellations online, and I find there’s little difference between in-person and online constellations. The field is the field, whether it’s in a room, on a tabletop, the dashboard of my car, or a screen.  I’ve been an artist for 50 years, and am very comfortable drawing emotional, physical, and mental experiences (e.g., the weight of the world, 12 generations of addiction, or an ocean of sadness). Concepts that are not easily represented in a physical room with people can be illustrated in ways that are very meaningful.

When: 2 Mondays, December 7th & 14th, 2020

Time: 6:30 – 8:15 pm Pacific Time

Cost: $154.79 (includes PayPal fee) to receive a constellation in the group. Pay securely via the PayPal button below. The first 2 people that sign up and pay are guaranteed to receive a constellation. The cost is $20.91 (includes Paypal fee) for those who want to represent in the constellations of others. If you want to send a check, the amount is $20. Check with me before paying to receive a constellation, as I may already have 2 seekers.

Call me at 415 381-9161 (landline) or email me at KatherineQ@RicherLiving.org to register.

The next 6-week group will be from January 4th – Februry 8th, 2021

FREE in-person Sunday Group Constellations

I lead a FREE day of constellations every 4 weeks, currently online. Click here for more information. If you’re interested, send me an email at KatherineQ@RicherLiving.org to get on my email list. The upcoming constellation days in 2021 are:

  • January 3rd, 2021
  • February 7th
  • March 7th
  • April 11th
  • May 16th
  • June 13th
  • July 11th

Individual Constellations — in person or ONLINE

I can facilitate your individual constellation in person in Mill Valley, CA, or online via Zoom. I use the whiteboard to draw representatives of different elements in your constellation, e.g., goals, blocks, family members, emotions, countries, and states of mind (see above). The only person in your family needed to be present to do this work is yourself.

Call me at 415 381-9161 (landline) or email me at KatherineQ@RicherLiving.org for scheduling and rates.

Other Group Constellations

These can take place in a few ways:

  • In person, where you would supply at least 5 friends and/or family members to participate in your constellation as representatives. Sometimes I can bring one or two representatives. Currently all constellations are online.
  • Via Zoom, where you bring together at least 5 friends/family to participate as representatives for you. We can try to schedule your constellation during a time zone that works for everyone. Sometimes I can bring one or two representatives.
  • I’m available to travel to facilitate for you or multiple constellations for your group. If it’s a weekend, I often combine some teaching of relational neuroscience with the constellation facilitation.

Call me at 415 381-9161 (landline) or email me at KatherineQ@RicherLiving.org for scheduling and rates.

Click here for testimonials.

Click here for more groups and online classes

Photo credits: Photovault.com