Adler (1927/1946, 1964) used the term family constellation as a structure to describe each member’s niche within the family system. He found that the family constellation consists of parents, children and all extended family members. Adler emphasized that the order of birth in this constellation influences a person’s lifestyle decisions. Within the constellation, a child defines his self in relation to other children and how the self differs from or corresponds to others in the family. For example, the parent a child aligns with influences the child’s interpretation of his position in the family constellation. The child’s position in the family can also be defined by how the child deals with family values; what techniques are used to negotiate the dynamics within the constellation; how the members of the constellation deal with the effects of culture, age, and gender differences; and how school and society requirements are handled within the system.

Read More