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Waterfall, Northland, New Zealand

Haruru Falls, Northland, New Zealand Photo credit Karen Sole

What Might Spark A Family Constellation For You? 

Are you cut off from someone important to you?

Do you feel uncomfortable around a particular family member?

Do you wonder why the room goes quiet when a certain member of your extended family/whanau whanui is mentioned?

Do you wonder what happened to an apparently mysterious grandparent or great grandparent?

Are you feeling shame or guilt about an action of yours?

Do you feel that your feet never seem to be solidly on the ground?

Are you wondering why, really, you are not living in your biological or birth family?

Are you in an unnamed power struggle with a sibling?  

Do/did your parents want you to parent them?

Are you hurt by the apparent exclusion of a family member?

Do you repeatedly get into 'bad' relationships?

Are you or someone in your family system living with addiction?

Are there shadows of sexual or other violence over your family?

Do you feel concerned about children and young people in your (wider) family?

Are you or others in your family continually involved in 'days of our lives' dramas and painful emotions and behaviour?

Are you, or is your family affected by death, suicide or loss?

Are you bothered by issues around partners, lovers, parents and children?

Divorce or separation?

Are you cut off from an adult child, and therefore, grandchildren?

Family group in quiet moment

Photo credit Karen Sole Permission granted by all subjects

Your Response To The Questions

The questions above point to some of the unconscious and trans-generational patterns of discomfort, depression, entanglement, and more. Family Constellation works to  reveal these uncomfortable or distressing patterns. If you want to untangle  a string, you do not pull the ends to make the knots tighter, but loosen the knotty part with light touch and gentle handling, right? There are difficult moments in any case, but eventually you hold a fairly flexible, free strand. 

Family Constellations


The modality is used in a group/workshop, or as effectively in a one to one session, by using figures or objects to represent the individuals of your family system, or possibly in a guided meditation or drawing, for example.

The choice of group or individual work depends on you, with the proviso that groups are organised around a larger number of people, some of whom will elect to be participants and others to be representatives or observers only. A group or workshop would be over one or more days, with around 20 participants, some whom will have issues or questions to constellate, drawing others from the group to represent the members in their system.
The facilitator asks the participant who belongs to their family, and what the issue is. It may be one listed above. The participant selects representatives of their family from the circle, and positions them on the floor in relation to each other, and then the constellation comes into being.

  • Getting Here
    I have come to Family Constellations via a decade of following Dr Gabor Mate, who developed the therapeutic approach, Compassionate Inquiry with Sat Dharam Kaur ND. I have spent many hours reading his books, watching and listening to him in a variety of settings, including a multi day Zoom event in 2020, and the film The Healing Power of Trauma and its adjacent package of podcasts with a range of professionals in related fields. Together, these have radically changed my life and my view of therapy and the world. Important note: I am not a trained CI practitioner, but an attentive follower. ​ My personal experience of Compassionate Inquiry as therapy was with New Zealand's first certified Compassionate Inquiry practitioner, mentor and facilitator, Dr Luke Sniewski. In that therapy I was able to meet and release some of my truly difficult and scary stuff. While doing so, I was also able to observe that each session was a masterclass in that client lead therapeutic approach. Forever grateful! Following my therapy sessions with Dr Sniewski, I joined his 12 week somatic experiencing course in 2023, for a challenging dive into body awareness, conscious discomfort, relationships, vulnerability, adaptability, stillness, radical self acceptance, and personal responsibility. In preceding decades I engaged in therapies which mostly dealt with the branches; the waving flailing part, but not the roots of my distress and trauma. I didn’t even know the trauma existed, and only dimly knew my messiness. I experienced talk therapy, Gestalt, Rebirthing (now known as Conscious Connected Breathing), co-counselling, as well as savouring a variety of life experiences such as feminist circles of connection, analysis and rage, and adult life long interest in health, mental health and their social determinants. All of these experiences contribute to who I am, and how I approach and relate to others, privately, creatively, and professionally.
  •  Marriage. Children + Their Children. Friends. Work. Making Art.
    Along the way I was twice married, and have the incomparable joy of two children and three grandchildren. My work life* has been an interesting meandering trip. See more on the Training and Experience page. The second feminist wave coincided with my young adulthood, marriage #1 and the whirl of activism, child rearing, and development of deep sustaining friendships with other women. A decade ago I began making art. That is a passion, a pleasure, and one of my important regulating activities.
  • Two Modalities, One Love
    The link between Compassionate Inquiry and Family Constellations is important to me, and my professional direction. The two approaches are congruent. Both intrinsically recognise and work with trauma and intergenerational trauma. Both approaches rely on the body to tell how and where we feel pain. Consider the innate or intuitive wisdom that gave us ageless expressions, such as: ​ I've got a gut feeling I'm heart broken I have a feeling in my bones I've got butterflies in my stomach It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up It just feels creepy. ​ All have their roots in reality, and natural wisdom. We should pay close and loving attention to the signals our body sends us. They are the real deal. ​ In fact, you probably tuned into one deriving from a relational issue long before you arrived here. Family Constellations is a modality that calls up our innate wisdom and intuition, within the safety of the configuration set up with the participant/client, guided by the facilitator. The client chooses representatives from the circle, positions them in the field or work space according to their sense of their family. Then they observe the constellation as it processes, with continuing support from the facilitator. one on one sessions may include the use of symbolic figures or objects, or meditation or drawing. ​ I have spent a long time learning, investigating, integrating, making links, and here I am, totally committed to doing the work that my life seems to have poured me into. I am so excited about facilitating groups and one to one constellations, online and face to face.



The entire workshop is a safe container.  All people present are asked to respect the identity, privacy, vulnerability, confidentiality of others, and the sharing that takes place. Please note that that is a matter of trust, beyond the control of the facilitator.

Please advise if you have pre-existing physical or psychological sensitivities that may affect your process.  


Family Constellations is not indicated for people who live with schizophrenia or similarly complex diagnoses.


If you can, prepare for your one to one or group session by having some quiet, reflective time to set your intentions.

  Follow up

Sometimes Constellation work evokes powerful emotion. You may want to follow up in a private session. See me on the day or contact me later to arrange a booking.

'Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past.' Tara Brach

Horse, dog and person and their shadows on Mahia beach at dusk

Positive Changes You May Notice

After A Constellation


Having more energy 


Letting go of old ways that fenced you in


Accepting the way some things have turned out in your life


 Noticing more softness and flow in all your relationships 


Being aware of unconscious behaviours, and the way they impact you and your life


Feeling that you can be the person you want to be


Radiating that transformation in every part of your life 

Mahia, East Coast, New Zealand Photo credit Karen Sole



manawa family constellations is guided by the code of ethics of ISCA ​and of the International Institute of Complementary Therapists. and is a member of both.



My work is subject to regular professional supervision by suitably qualified person or persons, and my own continuing therapy and learning is a condition of working in Family Constellations.



This website contains information about Family Constellations. None of the information is a substitute for medical or psychiatric intervention or treatment. Information about Karen Sole and her work is current and accurate.  Material contained in links to other sources of information are outside of her control and she does not take responsibility for content in or on the links so provided.

Blissful scene at tea garden, Sanliurfa, Southeast Turkiye

Ayn Zelha Golu Park, Sanliurfa, South East Turkiye Photo credit Karen Sole

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