Responding to intergenerational psychological trauma: A literature review paper on the place of Family Constellation Therapy

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John Hurley, PhD, credentialed mental health nurse, School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University, NSW; Margarete Koenning, BA (Social Work), certified gestalt therapist, Family and systemic constellation trainer; Angeline Bray, Grad. Dip. Mental Health Nursing, gestalt therapist and credentialed mental health nurse, Headspace Coffs Harbour, NSW


The intergenerational impact of psychological trauma and the repercussions that trauma can have upon an entire family system suggests individual therapy alone may be insufficient. The aim of this paper is to critically examine the Family Constellation Therapy approach as a potential therapy option for responding to intergenerational trauma. This paper initially discusses the challenges of responding to trauma and then describes Family Constellation Therapy within a practice context. The underpinning philosophy of the therapy is also forwarded. To establish the potential worth of the approach, this paper then reports on the findings from a narrative review of the international peer reviewed literature on Family Constellation Therapy, following with a discussion on its application to intergenerational trauma. The limited evidence available suggests there is worth in integrating Family Constellation Therapy into other therapeutic approaches. There is also a clear need for creating a wider and deeper evidence base for Family Constellation Therapy.


Keywords: Intergenerational trauma, family systems, Family Constellation Therapy


Address for correspondence:
John Hurley
Email: john.hurley@scu.edu.au

Margarete Koenning
Email: mukel@westnet.com.au

Angeline Bray
Email: angelinebray@gmail.com