“The healing effects of family constellations” – A survey

In the month of June 2019 I carried out a survey with the overall goal to understand if family constellations are supportive for certain people only or if we can talk about a healing effect of the constellation work in general.

Of course this survey did not cover all of the questions we would have to ask to get deeper into the research about family constellations. But it was a start and – since I did not find any other survey of that kind about family constellations – I think an important start.

And it hopefully will motivate and inspire other family constellation practitioners to do their own researches/surveys, so that one day family constellations will receive the recognition and acknowledgement they deserve in different areas of private and public life.

An amazing number of 91 people (out of 140 who I had contacted) participated in the survey, mostly members of the Facebook group “Family Constellations Malta”, but also people in Exeter who have experienced constellation workshops. Some participants skipped some questions, but still an average number of 83-85 people answered most questions.

We all know that still mostly women are participating in this kind of workshops, but especially in Malta more and more men are joining. So a male percentage of nearly 20% is amazing.

Regarding the age, the biggest group was between 40 and 50 years, but also 30-40 years had a quite high percentage of participation. I link this to the fact that the age between 30 and 50 is the age where we marry, separate, educate our children, finish or begin our studies, change career etc. It is an age where we become more and more aware of what we need and what we want to change, an age in which we look for solutions and healing.

77 % of the respondents did a constellation in a group workshop and 33% did a constellation in a 1to1 session. So it is obvious that a third of the respondents have referred to both constellation experiences. Nearly 19% responded based on their experience as “representatives only”.

I was really happy that there was an equilibrated percentage regarding the distance in time. Most constellations had been done between 1 and 2 years ago, followed closely by less than 6 months and more than 2 years ago. Also this makes the results of the survey really valuable and meaningful.

93% stated that the participation has made a difference, which means that also most of the participants as representatives have experienced a difference. Only 7 % answered with “no”.

Interestingly the difference was felt by most respondents within some weeks after the constellation (36%) closely followed by an immediate change (35%) and 29% on the longer term.

Most people felt better immediately after the constellation (72%). 15% did not feel any difference. It was important for me to know how many respondents would have felt worse, since we can have something like a “homeopathic initial aggravation” after a constellation, as a sign of some deep process starting. 13% had experienced this. However, 91% of these said that after this first period, things changed to the better. Only 3 people responded with “no”.

Independently from the reasons of participation, I was interested in the positive effect constellations would have in different areas of life and the results are really encouraging:

90% of the respondents felt a positive effect on their general wellbeing, 45% a positive effect on their health, 91% a positive effect on their emotional well-being, 82% a positive effect on their relationships with family members, 46% a positive effect on their romantic relationships and 86% a positive effect on their relationships in general.

Since constellation work for me is not only doing workshops, but offering participants a new perspective on life and all that it entails, I wanted to know if people experienced changes in perspective. Also these results were meaningful.

86% experienced a change in understanding of life in general, 87% in understanding dynamics within the family system, 84% in understanding their parents, 80% in understanding relationships.

The areas in life were people felt the most important positive consequences were:

Family 64%, Relationships 55%, Mental Health 47%, Private Life 41%, Professional Life 27% and Health 16% (the dynamic might come from the different reasons why people decide to do a constellation).

A very important point was that 87% of the respondents said that the effect of the constellation or participation in the workshop was a lasting effect.

Interesting was also the distribution of the number of constellations people had done so far: 35% had done more than one but less than four constellations, 34% had done one constellation. But there were also people who had done more than 4 but less than 8 (16%) and even more than 8 (12%). This is also an equilibrated and credible basis for the results of the survey.

Since I wanted the survey to be about constellation work in general and not only about my way of doing constellations, I had included the question, if people had done constellations with different facilitators and I was glad that 60% of participants who have done more than 1 constellation (which makes 32 respondents) answered with “Yes”.

91% of these 32 respondents answered that there was a difference in how they experienced the constellations with different facilitators. The biggest difference was in the way of facilitating (48%), followed by a difference in the depth of experience (35%) and a difference in the feeling of safety (17%).

Since over the years I have developed my own way of practicing, which includes that I prepare a constellation with each issue holder before the actual day, I wanted to know if this makes sense and is useful. Of the 50 respondents who answered that they did prepare the constellation with the facilitator 96% answered that this was positive for them and again 78% responded that they did feel already a gentle shift in this phase of preparation.

Most of the respondents did not have to talk about their story in front of the group on the day of the constellation. But also most of who had to talk about their story did feel comfortable with it (83%). Only 17% did not.

The question regarding the role as representative and if this can have a positive effect on one’s own life and well-being was answered by 83 participants. 95% replied with “yes”, only 5% with “no”. Also 92% said that they like being a representative in a constellation (8% answered with “no”).

Interesting was also the feedback to the question why people like to be representatives in a constellation workshop.  82% love supporting others in their process, 78% because they get new insights about life in general, 74% because they learn to trust their intuition, 66% because it has an effect on their own life and 32% because they just love being in a constellation group (multiple answers were possible, hence the sum is more than 100%).

The next question was about if people feel more comfortable with knowing or not knowing who they represent in a constellation. 52% replied that they prefer not to know it, for 28% it doesn’t make a difference and 20% prefer to know whom or what they represent.

 I also wanted to know if people would like to know more about how constellations work in scientific terms. The answer was quite balanced – for 52% it is not important to know whereas 48% would like to know it.

83% would recommend a systemic / family constellation to a friend or relative, 15% would recommend it only with a certain facilitator and only 2% (which were 2 respondents) would not recommend it at all. This question was skipped by 8 people. The two respondents who would not recommend constellations said that they don’t think it is a serious approach.

All in all I would say that these results give a clear and meaningful testimony about the healing effects of family constellations – not only for who joins to work on their own issues, but for all participants.

The survey was 100% anonymous which means that not even I know who participated but I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who contributed to the results of this survey.

Love and light in the spirit of reconciliation

Ursula