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 includes 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 when time.
This is an all-in-one bundle that includes the recordings of all of Sarah’s monthly Constellations and Neuroscience explorations that took place from November 2021 – June – 2022.
Working in concert with Jungian astrologer Carol Ferris, the constellations in this session will take as their starting point several elements from the birth chart of the seeker receiving the constellation, including the seeker’s moon, or internalized mother. As a masterclass experience for constellation facilitators, we will be looking at working with archetypal patterns from other systems (in this case astrology) in our constellations.
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.
This is part 2 of a 3-part constellation masterclass series. This year’s masterclass series will explore themes of fate and destiny, integrating astrology and tarot with constellation work. Join Sarah Peyton for this exploration of what neuroscience and constellations can do for us.
You are welcome to register for any of the three individual events in the 3-part series, however, registering for the full 3-Part Immersion might be a good fit if you’d like to learn to use constellations in your work or your life, as well as receive access to the bonus and savings.