How Family Constellations Help Us Heal Intergenerational Trauma

Mar 12, 2021Constellations

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.



illustration of a family system disrupted by trauma which blocks the flow of love

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.


Dive Deeper

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 a constellations facilitator training:

This 10-month series offers facilitators new ways to consider the shadow in working with their clients. This live online drop-in series explores the mystery and awe of family constellations through the lens of neuroscience.

Each 90-minute webinar will include a brief lecture on the relational neuroscience of the focus topic for the session, a mini-constellation breakout so that everyone can explore, and a large-group constellation, with a seeker who doesn’t mind being recorded for others’ learning to be selected by lottery, if there is time.

You are welcome to purchase individual sessions or the entire series. Registration includes an invitation to the live exploration and access to the recordings.

This is an all-in-one bundle that includes access to all of Sarah’s monthly Neuroscience and Constellations Series: Enjoying the Shadow In Constellation Work from March 2023 – December 2023.



How do we constellate and support healing from alarmed aloneness (the shock and grief that arise when someone important to us disappears, or when we find ourselves too alone in our lives)? How is alarmed aloneness connected with our clients’ sense of the Void – the deep unknown that is part of the implicit of every human? What are the roles of Play and Joy in embracing the universal human experiences of loneliness and separation? How do we let constellations guide us into the paradox of being apart and coming together? Neuroscience and Panksepp’s Circuit of Emotion and Motivation will play a role in leveraging constellations to support clients who bring questions of aloneness to us for healing.

This is part 4 of a 4-part constellation masterclass series: Deep Play at the End of the World. This year’s masterclass series will explore how we can leverage our constellation work for healing at a time of immense complexity where we and our clients face intense stressors from climate crisis to pandemic to political issues. How can our constellation work allow for more joy, more wonder, more play and more life satisfaction, even in the face of grief and threat? Join Sarah Peyton for this exploration of what neuroscience and constellations can do for us.

You are welcome to register for any of the four individual events in the 4-part series, however, registering for the full 4-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.


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About Sarah

Sarah Peyton

Sarah Peyton

Sarah Peyton, international speaker and facilitator, has a passion for weaving together neuroscience knowledge and experiences of healing that unify people with their brains and bodies.

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