Family Constellation


Created by the German psychotherapist Bert Hellinger, the Family Constellation is a psychotherapeutic method that studies the behavior patterns of family groups across their generations. In practice, the Family Constellation shows that many of our problems, diseases, misunderstandings and bad feelings can be linked to other family members who have gone through these same adversities, even though we have not known them.

This method explains that there is a repetition of behaviors, according to generations, even if in an unconscious way. Hellinger proposed that there is a “clan conscience” in all of us, which is guided by simple “archaic orders” or “orders of love”, which refer to three guiding principles:

● the need to belong to the group or clan;

● the need for a balance between giving and receiving in relationships;

● the need for hierarchy within the group or clan.


These "orders" act in our family relationships as well as intimate and loving ones and the harmonious connection with these orders gives us a feeling of peace and makes us feel welcomed and belonging to a group.



When we come into the world within a family, we not only inherit a genetic heritage, but also belief systems and behavioral schemes. Our family is an energy field within which we have evolved. Each, since his birth, occupies a unique place.

We are kept in our personal and individual family field at a certain level, which enters or increases our willingness to be happy, to choose freely, to succeed in what we undertake, to make pleasant relationships, health, well-being and also diseases.

It turns out that we experience the feeling that we have been kept in problematic schemes since time immemorial. Family constellations give us the opportunity to understand schemas at their deepest level.

They allow us to free ourselves, at the same time that we find peace and happiness. The nature of our family energy field is determined by the history of our family, especially its religion and beliefs. Our country of origin, the religion in which we are born, also play a role. This nature is shaped by remarkable events, such as the history of the relationships of parents and grandparents, death of a very young child, abortion, premature birth, adoption, suicide, war, forced exile, religion change, incest, abusive ancestor or victim , betrayal, or even trust. The generous and altruistic actions of our parents and ancestors are healthy for us, while their bad actions modify the family energy field, forcing later generations to pay the price.


In the previous topic, in which I explained what Family Constellation is, I also spoke briefly about the Orders of Love, that is, the laws and precepts that support this method and which, according to Hellinger's studies, have great potential to influence a person, individually, and also a whole family system. As I said, by complying with all these laws, which are the Law of Belonging, Hierarchy and the Law of Balance, the individual experiences a life full of harmony. However, if these are not met, there are great chances that family imbalances will arise, such as affective problems, financial problems, phobias, illnesses and even suicidal tendencies.


Belonging Law

We are all relational beings who have a great need to belong to a group. In this sense, when we are born, we need to feel part of a whole, that is, of a family system, that welcomes us and offers us the affection that we need, to grow, in a harmonious way.

According to Bert Hellinger, this acceptance and acceptance need to happen regardless of our actions, that is, regardless of whether they are good or bad behaviors and attitudes, which, in general, does not happen and generate the imbalances I mentioned above.

This means that when a member of the family has behavior that is considered to be ethically and morally incorrect, such as stealing, killing, committing several other types of abuse, the tendency is for the other family members to end up trying to suppress this fact, causing the one who committed such failures be removed from family life, that is, excluded.

The point is that when this happens, it ends up generating in this individual what the Family Constellation calls “Pain of the Excluded”, which will cause problems, not for him, but for his successors, for future generations of the family, who are directly affected by the situation, without actually being able to understand the real reason for the problem that impacts them so much.

Hellinger wrote a book, called “Orders of Love” and in it the creator of the Family Constellation explains that when a family member undergoes this process of exclusion, its consequences are, invariably and unconsciously, assumed by subsequent family members. For him, the problem is solved when the excluded member is reintegrated into family life, since, with this, the injustices committed begin to be compensated, without the need for repetitions in the destinations of the next family members who come.

Law of Hierarchy

Moving forward with the explanations about Bert Hellinger's Orders of Love, after the Law of Belonging, we have the Law of Hierarchy. According to her, within the family system, each person occupies a position, which must be recognized and valued by the other members.

This means that, within the Law of Hierarchy, it is fundamental and necessary to respect those who came first, that is, children must respect their parents and, in turn, they must respect those who came before them, their ancestors.

In this sense, the imbalance in this Law occurs when the roles are reversed, that is, when the children occupy, within the family, the position that should be of their parents, which can result in parents with infantilized behaviors and attitudes and more nervous children. , anxious and emotionally fragile, since they will be forced to bear an emotional burden that, in theory, is not theirs and should not be.

It is important to make it clear that when it comes to respecting the family hierarchy, you are not telling anyone to maintain family behaviors and standards, or to perpetuate existing family systems. What Hellinger emphasizes is the importance of maintaining respect for those who came before us, honoring them and accepting the hierarchy of our ancestors, so that the balance of the second order is fully maintained.

Law of Balance

Coming to the third Order of Love, which is the Law of Balance, she says that, within a family system, it is essential that there is a balance between giving and receiving. This means that it is necessary for all members to donate and receive affection in an equal way, so that the relationships are permanently balanced.

However, it is common to observe relationships, especially affective ones, in which one member of the couple ends up donating more love than the other, having more demonstrations in this regard, than his partner. And this is exactly where the imbalance happens.

It is important to know that, as much as the collective unconscious believes and tells us that we need to give ourselves entirely out of love, as such behavior will not bring negative consequences, under the gaze of the Family Constellation, attitudes like these only tend to bring imbalances.

This happens because the one who receives more affection than donates ends up becoming dependent on his partner, and, as a consequence, less interesting, in the eyes of the spouse who has donated in excess. The result of this can be a betrayal, as the most dedicated partner will always feel that their relationship is lacking in reciprocity.

In addition, this type of dynamics can also generate guilt in the partner who receives more affection than it donates, precisely because he is unable to reciprocate the love received to the same extent. Therefore, the only way out is to end the relationship or verbally attack the partner who is giving too much, in order to diminish it and try not to feel guilty anymore.

Still talking about the issues that lead to imbalance within this Law, these can also manifest themselves when a family member abdicates his own life, his own dreams, desires, career, employment, among others, for the benefit of children or spouses.