This description is the prototype group family constellation as developed by Bert Hellinger in the 1990s. Many practitioners have blended constellation work with psychological aspects of healing.
Others have kept the classic form as taught by Bert Hellinger, such as the constellation approach. The constellation approach merges concepts of family constellations, energy medicine, and consciousness studies to complement the understanding of classic constellation methodology.
A group (workshop) is led by a facilitator. In turn, members of the group can explore an urgent personal issue. Generally, several members will be given an opportunity to set up a constellation in each session.
After a brief interview, the facilitator suggests who will be represented in the constellation. These are usually a representative for the seeker, one or more members, and sometimes abstract concepts such as "depression" or a country.
The person presenting the issue (seeker or client) asks people from the group to stand in the constellation as representatives. He or she arranges the representatives according to what feels right in the moment. The seeker then sits down and observes.
Several minutes elapse with the representatives standing still and silent in their places. Initially, unlike psychodrama, the representatives do not act, pose, dialogue or role play.
Emphasis is placed on perceptive intuition in placing the representatives and in subsequent steps of the procedure. The aim is supposedly to tune into what the psychiatrist Albrecht Mahr describes as the Knowing Field and biologist Rupert Sheldrake has suggested is morphic resonance. The representatives have little or no factual knowledge about those they represent. Nevertheless, the representatives usually experience feelings or physical sensations that are thought to inform the process.
The facilitator may ask each representative to briefly report how they feel being placed in relation to the others. The facilitator, seeker, and group members may believe they perceive an underlying dynamic in the spatial arrangement and feelings held by the representatives that influence the presenting personal issue.
A healing resolution for the issue generally is supposedly achieved after re-positioning the representatives and adding key members of the system who have been forgotten. When every representative feels right in his or her place and the other representatives agree, the facilitator may suggest one or two sentences to be spoken aloud. If the representatives do not feel at peace with their new position or sentences, they can move again or try a different sentence. This is claimed, in an abstract way, to represent a possible resolution of the issues faced by the seeker. Sometimes the process concludes without a full resolution being achieved.
When the facilitator feels that the healing resolution has taken hold among the representatives, the seeker is invited to “replace his/her representative in the constellation”. This supposedly allows the seeker to perceive how it feels to be part of a reconfigured system. When everyone feels comfortable in their place, the constellation concludes.