How Family Constellations Help Us Heal Intergenerational Trauma
Our bodies, quite literally, hold the trauma and stress of the past, including painful childhood experiences and the traumas of the generations before us.
Constellations are a 3-dimensional, experiential, body-centered, participatory exploration of how trauma and past pain can live in individuals AND entire family systems and how to untangle it. We can do constellations in person, with individuals representing parts of the system or online or in our mind’s eye.
How is trauma passed down through generations?
When our ancestors have experienced traumas in their personal lives that then cause mental illness, addiction and other challenging events, there is often a break in the flow of love from one generation to the next. We do not receive what we need from our parents when they are fragmented by their own trauma.
Recent epigenetic research has revealed that the protein sheath that wraps around each person’s DNA holds the scars of the traumas our families have lived through. Researchers can actually SEE the evidence in our bodies the impact of past-events our ancestors have survived, including genocides, famines, enslavement, natural and human disasters, wars, etc.
Another way trauma is passed from generation to generation is, quite literally, through the bodies of our mother and grandmother.
Because our initial cells were already forming in our mother’s womb when she was a prenatal infant inside our grandmother’s womb, we are always living the lives of many generations simultaneously… the foundational cells of our being are inherently transgenerational.
How do constellations help us heal trauma?
The reason constellations are so supportive for healing trauma is that humans are more settled by being understood, than they are by anything else. Constellations work accompanies us to be understood and seen with resonance by others.
The reason constellations are helpful for healing trauma is because of how the brain stores traumatic memory, and the way those memories are always living in the present moment causing us to feel the same unaccompanied aloneness that we felt when the actual traumatic experience occurred.
In the video below from the 5th Australasian Constellation Intensive in Sydney, I explain the two different ways our brain stores memory (the amygdala and the hippocampus) and why it is that we’re able to go back to a challenging time and, with enough resonance and support, actually steward ourselves to move the memory from the amygdala to the hippocampus! Once it’s there safely, that memory will no longer feel like it’s living in our present moment, it becomes part of our past that we can integrate.
The reason constellations are so supportive for healing trauma is that humans are more settled by being understood, than they are by anything else. Constellations work accompanies us to be understood and seen with resonance by others, which is what settles us. Constellations like nothing else, are a multiplying generator of healing, generates a field of constellations.
What kinds of processes can support us and bring us more of a sense of belonging more to our families, and to the planet?
Family constellation work can take place in any system: Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Family, Intergenerational, Ancestral, Societal, Global. This demonstration video explores some of the processes I teach about how we might use neuroscience and resonant constellations to create movement in our most challenging places.