Family Constellations Healing Inherited Traumas

ana cardoso-

By Ana Maria Cardoso, PhD

Did you know that we inherit traumas from our ancestors?

ana cardoso-Just as we inherit physical characteristics such as eye color and blood type, we also inherit the emotions from traumatic events that have happened in our families. These unresolved traumas from our family systems are affecting us today in ways that we are not even aware of. The reason is that they are working in our unconscious, and they can be the cause of some persistent challenges we are experiencing, such as anxiety, depression, fear, financial worries, illness, and unhappy relationships. These challenges can all be forms of our unconscious inheritance.

            How we heal these inherited traumas?

            Unresolved energy or emotions from previous generations can create profound, persistent problems or conditions for members of succeeding generations as they attempt to solve or resolve the flow of love and energy through the family. The same love that creates entanglements in family systems heals when it becomes conscious. “Family Constellations” are a way to connect with our “Family Soul.” They have the ability to reveal hidden and often destructive family dynamics and to activate healing resources. In other words, they reveal the transgenerational entanglements presented as destructive patterns that are causing us so much suffering in different areas of our lives. They have the power to shift generations of suffering and unhappiness. They do not work in the mind level, but way beyond, in the realm of the soul.

Family Constellations were developed by a therapeutic genius, German psychotherapist Bert Hellinger. He based the idea on Virginia Satir’s work in family therapy, developing a completely new healing modality. He has been teaching this work for more than 40 years and has written many books on the subject. He describes Family Constellations this way:


So, to explain a constellation just a little, all people carry with them an energetic field or blueprint of their biological families—this field has been called by some a family soul, or family conscience. That field has an enormous unconscious effect on each family member’s life and all the people they interact with. Long-standing problems with health, depression, relationships, failed finances, etc. are usually a result of unconscious “entanglements” in the family soul. Doing a constellation is a way to bring those entanglements to light, and to allow some resolution to happen. Quite often after a constellation, other members of the family who were not present for the constellation—and didn’t even know it was happening—report dramatic shifts as a result. Because the family is a system—like an energetic mobile, what affects one, affects all. And what keeps one stuck, affects them all.”

The Knowing Field

On a practical level, Family Constellations are a group healing modality, focused on restoring the flow of love in a family system, on behalf of someone who has come forward with an issue that he or she wants some help with in understanding or resolving. These issues can be, and often are, connected to the pain of those who suffered in our families before us, to great wars and deep lost loves, to secrets and to things never spoken, all of which have distorted our experiences of life and love, today, now. This amazing phenomenological process explores how deep forces in our family systems, sometimes through multiple generations, can influence our thoughts, behaviors, and emotional experiences. Tapping into a “knowing field” that surrounds each family, the client and volunteer representatives are able to explore this living phenomenon, allowing movement in old and stuck places, disentangling us from the past and bringing our lives more and more into a brighter present. The client gains a unique perspective to make new choices or follow unforeseen pathways. Family Constellations occur with compassion, love, and a movement toward balance.


Service to Others

What is unusual about the constellation process is that the healing is not only for the client and the client’s family, but also for the participant. It is not uncommon for the people volunteering to be representatives, or watching the constellation, to also receive shifts and insights into their own family systems. The profound gift of being a representative for someone else, this service to others, enhances our capacity to see the world differently.

cardoso-life transformation


This powerful soul work assists in creating positive shifts in relationships, success in life, recurring emotions (depression, fear, anxiety, sadness, feeling unworthy or stagnation, etc.), achieving life goals, finances, unexplained symptoms, health, self-sabotage, infertility, addictions, and so on.

On a soul level the benefits are:

  • Turning your past into a source of strength;
  • Acquiring a healing inner image of your family;
  • Freeing you and your descendants from invisible burdens;
  • Increasing your empathy, love, and compassion for yourself and others; and
  • Opening your heart to love.


Family Constellations are a profound experience. They are a powerful experiential method if you have the courage to really see the core of the issues that are preventing you from living a fulfilling life.

“A miracle is a shift in perception,” says The Course of Miracles. That is exactly what begins to happen after Family Constellations. Once your inner reality shifts in a profound way, guess what happens to your outer reality?

Ana Maria Cardoso, PhD, is a life transformation coach who leads Family Constellations in Paradise, Davis, and Nevada City. Reach her at 530-329-4758,, or