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.
Are you longing for resolution of some deep patterns of sadness, guilt, anger or fear, and suspect connecting with your ancestors might be what you need? Or are you longing for concrete processes to discover how to support the well-being and mattering you’ve longed for by healing rifts in your ancestral line?
My monthly constellations and neuroscience explorations series might offer some supportive concepts and experiential practice to begin repairing the pains of the past, or my constellations facilitator training:
This 8-part series includes a webinar focused on the role of each Circuit of Emotion and Motivation (as developed by neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp) and the way that each shows up in constellations. There is one webinar devoted to each of the following circuits, the 7 listed by Panksepp: SEEKING, CARE, FEAR, RAGE, PANIC/GRIEF, PLAY, SEXUALITY, with the addition of DISGUST. Each webinar will include a brief introduction to the relational neuroscience of the circuit and the way that it can show up and be used in constellations, a small breakout group for exploration, and then a large group constellation, with a seeker who doesn’t mind being recorded for others’ learning to be selected by lottery.
This is an all-in-one bundle that includes access to all of Sarah’s monthly Constellations and Neuroscience explorations from November 2021 – June – 2022.
Family Constellation work heals trauma at the family level, transgenerationally and historically, as well as at the personal level. How have your ancestors’ journeys impacted you and how can you transform your family from influencing you with trauma to becoming a resource? Constellations are a way of unwinding and unraveling the frozen strands of trauma and buried nervous-system vows from our essential beings, so that we can flourish, live, and contribute our gifts with ease.
Sarah’s approach encourages facilitators to integrate relational neuroscience and an understanding of relational vs instrumental language into the work. Participants learn the basics of constellation work within the framework of emergent constellations, and enter into a meaningful partnership with reps and clients to harvest all the wisdom that is present in the field.
This 3-day, 15-hour class will take participants from an interest in constellations, or from the directive view of constellations, to a deeper experience of constellations occurring both within their bodies and in the field. We will explore the invisible web of patterns that support the unfolding movement of constellations to bring new freedom and choice to human systems.
Join Sarah Peyton for a 3-part Masterclass Series investigating issues of fate and destiny in-depth, combining Constellation Work with the historical explorations humans have made to try to understand fate and destiny as represented by Astrology and Tarot, supported by an understanding of Relational Neuroscience. Each in the series will combine Constellation Work with explorations in Relational Neuroscience and Resonant Language. Each online Masterclass is an intensive that stretches over 4-5 calendar days.
Constellations facilitated by Sarah will alternate with Constellations facilitated by Masterclass participants, interspersed with large and small group learning. Both being a facilitator and being a seeker happen by lottery. Only experienced participants who have attended at least one other master series session with Sarah will be eligible to be facilitators. Not all participants will have a chance to be a seeker or a facilitator. The intention of the course is to deepen our learning about constellations, rather than supporting personal work.
- Work in small groups to build facilitation skills
- Learn about the integration of constellation work with the modalities of tarot and astrology
- Acquaint themselves with archetypal representations connected with tarot and astrology
- Understand and integrate the elements of relational neuroscience that illuminate these aspects of constellation work
- Integrate understandings of neuroscience into constellation work
- Work on specific aspects of facilitation that can be troublesome or mysterious
This event series includes three parts: Part 1: February 3-6, 2022: Fate, Destiny, Constraint and Freedom, Part 2: April 21-24, 2022: Ideal Mother, Real Mother: Fate and Destiny in Astrology and Constellations, and Part 3: July 13-July 17, 2022: Tarot Representations in Constellations: Fate and Destiny in Divination