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Family Constellations

“Family Constellations, also known as Systemic Constellations, is a therapeutic group process that focuses on resolving unresolved family dynamics and conflicts through an experiential approach. It is based on the belief that we have unconscious anchors that result in painful feelings and can affect our family relationships.

This alternative therapy was developed by Bert Hellinger and aims to release emotional challenges and heal family patterns. In this article, we will delve into the origins, principles, process and potential benefits of Family Constellations. We will also discuss some of the criticisms and controversies surrounding this method and explore workshops available for those interested in this approach.”

What are Family Constellations?

Family Constellations, also known as Systemic Constellations, is a therapeutic approach that analyzes the dynamics of family relationships and the interconnectedness between family members, with the goal of uncovering hidden and often unconscious patterns of behavior within the family system. This method, popularized by German psychotherapist Bert Hellinger, is based on the premise that unresolved conflicts or trauma within a family can manifest over generations, affecting the emotional and psychological well-being of its individual members. Through group therapy sessions, individuals are guided to uncover and address these underlying family dynamics, with the ultimate goal of fostering healing and reconciliation.
The Family Constellation process generally involves one person, known as the “seeker,” presenting a personal problem or concern to the facilitator, who then organizes the constellation. The facilitator can select group members or workshop participants to represent members of the seeker’s family or significant elements related to the problem. This interactive and experiential method allows the seeker to gain insight into often overlooked or deeply embedded family dynamics that may be contributing to their current challenges. Within the energetic field of the group, the seeker can witness and experience the underlying dynamics, emotions and loyalties that are present within the family system, providing an opportunity for profound emotional and psychological changes.

Family Constellations are based on a systemic perspective, emphasizing the idea that an individual is deeply influenced by his or her position within the family structure and the experiences of previous generations. It starts from the understanding that there are “orders of love” and “orders of belonging” within a family system, and that disturbances within these orders can have far-reaching effects on the well-being of family members. By exploring these systemic dynamics, people who participate in Family Constellations gain a deeper understanding of how family history and intergenerational trauma may be shaping their current experiences, and are offered a transformative space for healing and reconciliation.

Origins of Family Constellations

The development of Family Constellations is attributed to the pioneering work of Bert Hellinger, a German theologian and psychoanalyst. After years of experience with various therapeutic approaches, Hellinger integrated his knowledge, including elements of existential phenomenology, systems thinking and his observation of Zulu family systems, to formulate the approach known as Family Constellations. His in-depth exploration of the influences of family systems on individual well-being laid the foundation for the development and evolution of this therapeutic modality.
Based on the premise that people can unconsciously carry and replicate the unresolved problems and traumas of their family members, Hellinger’s approach to constellations gained recognition for its innovative and often transformative impact on the field of psychotherapy. By shedding light on the hidden dynamics operating within family systems, Family Constellations offer a unique and compelling vision for understanding and addressing the deep-seated influences of family relationships on personal well-being.

Joan Garriga: The Pioneer of Family Constellations in Spain

Joan Garriga, a leading figure in the field of psychology, is distinguished not only by his solid academic background, but also by his avant-garde vision that has marked a milestone in the evolution of psychotherapy. Her journey towards exploring innovative therapeutic approaches has focused on systemic psychotherapy, a field she considers essential to understanding the complexity of human relationships and the emotional patterns embedded in the family fabric.

The introduction of Family Constellations in Spain by Joan Garriga represents a significant chapter in the evolution of psychotherapy in the country. This technique, originally from Germany and developed by psychotherapist Bert Hellinger, has become a powerful and transformative tool in Garriga’s therapeutic arsenal. Through its application, family dynamics are unraveled, allowing a deeper understanding of the interconnections between family members and how they influence individual lives.

Family Constellations are distinguished by their visual and experiential approach. During the sessions, participants represent the consultant’s family members, creating a graphic representation of family relationships and dynamics. This symbolic process facilitates the identification of unconscious patterns, unresolved conflicts and family loyalties that may be affecting the individual’s emotional and relational life.

The technique has established itself as a transformative tool for emotional healing and personal growth. By directly addressing the systemic roots of personal challenges, Family Constellations offer a unique opportunity to release emotional blockages, promoting greater understanding and acceptance of self and others.

Joan Garriga has not only introduced this technique in Spain, but has also contributed to its diffusion and ethical application. His approach goes beyond the mere transmission of knowledge; it drives a cultural shift in the way emotional and relational problems are addressed, fostering a more inclusive and holistic paradigm in contemporary psychotherapy.

Ultimately, Joan Garriga’s legacy lies not only in the introduction of Family Constellations in Spain, but in the transformation he has inspired in the lives of those who have experienced the depth and effectiveness of this technique. His avant-garde vision has paved the way for a more holistic and empathetic understanding of psychotherapy, providing individuals and professionals with a valuable tool for self-knowledge, emotional healing and personal growth.

Fundamentals and Methodology

Family Constellations are based on the principles of systemic and transgenerational psychology, emphasizing the interconnectedness of family members and the transmission of emotional and behavioral patterns through the generations. At its core, this approach is based on the belief that individuals are deeply interwoven within the fabric of their family system, and that the unspoken and often unresolved experiences of previous generations can exert a significant influence on a person’s life and relationships.

The Family Constellation methodology is characterized by its experiential and phenomenological nature, as the people involved in the process are invited to tap into the emotional and energetic currents of their family system. Through the incorporation of family members or significant elements into the constellation, the seeker and representatives gain a visceral and often profound understanding of the hidden loyalties, entanglements and unresolved traumas operating within the family system. This embodied exploration serves as a powerful catalyst for recognizing and addressing ingrained dynamics that may be influencing the seeker’s life, relationships and well-being.

Performing Family Constellations

A Family Constellation session usually takes place in a group setting, with a facilitator guiding the process. The seeker, i.e., the person presenting the problem, is invited to share their concern or the specific area of their life where they are seeking clarity or resolution. The facilitator then works with the searcher to identify and select representatives of key elements of the constellation, such as family members, emotions, or abstract concepts related to the issue at hand. Once the constellation is established, embodied exploration of family dynamics begins, often leading to profound insights and opportunities for healing and resolution within the family system.
It is important to note that while Family Constellations are often done in a group setting, individual or one-on-one sessions are also available. These individual sessions provide a more private and intimate space for the seeker to explore family dynamics and personal concerns with the facilitator, offering a personalized and focused approach to address specific issues within the family system.

Joan Garriga as Therapist and Trainer

Joan Garriga stands out not only as the precursor of Family Constellations in Spain, but also as a therapist and trainer of great renown in various therapeutic disciplines. Her extensive experience encompasses Gestalt therapy, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) and systemic coaching, converging these disciplines in a holistic approach that enriches and enhances the process of personal transformation.

Gestalt therapy, a psychotherapeutic approach focused on the awareness of the present moment and the integration of the fragmented parts of the self, has been a fundamental pillar in Joan Garriga’s therapeutic practice. Through Gestalt, he encourages exploration and deep understanding of present experiences and emotions, promoting a fuller connection with oneself and the environment.

Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), another discipline in Garriga’s therapeutic palette, focuses on how communication, both internal and external, affects personal experience. NLP offers practical tools to change patterns of thinking and behavior, allowing individuals to reconfigure their focus toward healthier and more constructive goals.

Systemic coaching, on the other hand, is a discipline that focuses on understanding and addressing the systems and patterns that influence a person’s life. Through systemic coaching, Garriga helps her clients explore family and social dynamics that may be affecting their emotional well-being and interpersonal relationships.

The fusion of these disciplines provides Joan Garriga with a set of versatile and complementary therapeutic tools. Its holistic approach means that it does not address personal challenges and goals in isolation, but considers the individual as a whole being, connected to his or her past, present and future, as well as to his or her social and family environment.

As a trainer, Joan Garriga generously shares his experience and knowledge with other professionals and enthusiasts in the therapeutic field. His ability to integrate diverse disciplines creates a synergy that enriches both the theoretical understanding and the practical application of therapeutic tools.

Purpose and Benefits

The primary purpose of Family Constellations is to illuminate and address hidden dynamics and entanglements within the family system that may be contributing to the seeker’s emotional challenges or distress. By shedding light on these underlying patterns, people who participate in Family Constellations have the opportunity to reconcile, heal and transform the influences of family dynamics on their own lives and well-being. The process is imbued with the intention of fostering introspection, healing and restoration of systemic balance within the family system, paving the way for a greater sense of personal and relational wholeness.

The potential benefits of participating in Family Constellations are diverse and far-reaching. Individuals often report profound experiences, emotional release, and a sense of resolution and peace regarding persistent family dynamics and personal struggles. Family Constellations also offer a unique and experiential approach to understanding and addressing intergenerational trauma, fostering healing across ancestral lines and providing a transformative space for reconciliation and systemic healing.

– Revealing Hidden Patterns:

The representation of family members in a constellation reveals family patterns and dynamics that may be at the root of individual challenges.

– Emotional Healing:

By addressing the roots of problems in the family system, constellations allow for deep emotional healing, freeing people from unresolved burdens.

– Personal Transformation:

Constellations offer a unique opportunity for personal transformation by providing clarity and insight into systemic connections.

Applications of Family Constellations

Family Constellations are used as a therapeutic modality to address a wide range of personal and relational challenges. From navigating complex family dynamics and resolving intergenerational conflicts to gaining clarity about personal life choices and addressing persistent emotional patterns, the applications of Family Constellations are diverse and comprehensive. This approach serves as a powerful tool for recognizing and transforming past influences in the present, offering individuals a unique and transformative path to healing and personal growth within the context of their family system.

Criticism and Controversy

Although Family Constellations have generated significant interest and recognition within the field of psychotherapy, it has also been the subject of criticism and controversy. One of the main points of controversy revolves around the lack of empirical evidence to support the systemic and transgenerational dynamics proposed by Family Constellations. Critics argue that the approach often operates beyond the scope of established scientific understanding and that the efficacy of the method is uncertain due to lack of empirical validation.

In addition, concerns have been raised about the possibility of retraumatization or the reinforcement of limiting beliefs and unfounded associations in the context of Family Constellations. Critics emphasize the importance of ensuring the safety and well-being of people participating in therapeutic processes and stress the need for a critical and ethical examination of the potential impact of Family Constellations on the emotional and psychological experiences of participants.

Workshops and Training in Family Constellations

Given the intricate and experiential nature of Family Constellations, workshops and training programs are commonly offered for people interested in exploring this therapeutic approach. These workshops provide a platform for participants to engage in constellations, either as seekers or as representatives, and gain a first-hand understanding of the transformative potential of the method. In addition, training programs are available for individuals who wish to deepen their understanding of Family Constellations and embark on a path towards facilitating constellations for others, thus broadening the scope of this therapeutic modality and its potential for systemic healing and reconciliation.

By participating in workshops and training programs, individuals have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the experiential and transformative realm of Family Constellations, gaining knowledge, skills and a deep understanding of the application and impact of the method in the context of personal and systemic healing.

Course by Joan Garriga at Wake Up School: A Journey to Personal Transformation

The journey towards personal transformation can begin in a meaningful way with the Family Constellation Course taught by Joan Garriga at the prestigious Wake Up School. This course is not simply a set of lessons; it is a call to search for new beginnings in the psychological, emotional, affective and spiritual aspects of life.

A Path to Personal Mastery with Joan Garriga:

Joan Garriga, recognized pioneer in the introduction of Family Constellations in Spain, invites you to embark on a series of meetings to guide you in the art of self-transformation. Its approach goes beyond the conventional; it seeks to make you an expert craftsman of your own evolution. This course not only explores family dynamics, but also empowers you to discern with clarity, identify opportunities for growth and find true fulfillment in your life.

Challenging the Limits of Personal Transformation:

The quest for transformation involves exploring pre-established boundaries, challenging entrenched beliefs and opening space for new perspectives. Joan Garriga will guide you on this introspective journey, providing you with the necessary tools to unravel emotional and relational patterns that may be limiting your potential.

Fullness in the Midst of Challenges:

The fundamental purpose of this cycle of meetings is to take you beyond the mere understanding of Family Constellations and into the realm of true wholeness. Garriga will teach you to allow life to flow around you, even in the most challenging moments. Authenticity and acceptance become fundamental pillars as you explore the connection between your family systems and your personal well-being.

An Invitation to Conscious Evolution:

This course represents an invitation to conscious evolution, where each session is an opportunity to deepen your self-awareness, address emotional blocks and cultivate resilience. Joan Garriga’s vision transcends the traditional barriers of therapy, opening doors to a deeper understanding of human complexities.

A Journey Towards a Full Life:

To start your journey in Family Constellations with Joan Garriga’s course at Wake Up School is to dive into an ocean of possibilities for personal transformation. This cycle of meetings becomes a compass that guides you towards personal mastery, inviting you to discover the authentic fullness that lies within each of us. With Joan Garriga as a guide, this journey becomes an enriching and revealing experience towards a full and conscious life.


In conclusion, Family Constellations are a therapeutic group process that aims to understand and heal family relationship patterns. It is based on the belief that we can unconsciously perceive and be influenced by these patterns, and through the guidance of a facilitator, representatives and the energetic field of the group, can help release unresolved dynamics and conflicts. Although it has gained popularity, it has also faced criticism and controversy as a pseudotherapy. However, it remains a source of understanding and healing for many people seeking to address personal and relational issues. Today we have information and training at our fingertips, so we can enter the world of constellations with courses such as Wake up School.

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