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Working with this highly effective methodology for revealing underlying patterns and dynamics in organisations and wider social systems.

For details of open workshops, click here.

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About Constellations

Systemic Constellations is a simple but profound process that can help us see reveal the dynamics of systems, show us things we've been missing (blind spots) and or avoiding (hard truths). We can experience extraordinary 'aha' moments and shifts in our perception. It can move us beyond denial and wishful thinking, help us get unstuck and discover what real change is possible in organisational and wider social systems.

Development for use with individuals, organisations and wider social systems

Constellations was originally developed as a way of working with personal issues. It is particularly known for its ability to help people identify and release patterns that repeat through the generations within families. Over the past three decades, it has been adapted for working with organisational change issues and is increasingly also being used for working with wider systemic, societal challenges - although this is a less developed field. Part of my intention in doing this work is to help develop the application of Constellations for working with societal issues.

Constellations shows that we can move from stuckness to flow when we re-include the people and voices that have been excluded; when we acknowledge, grieve and accept the difficult realities that we cannot fix; and when we let everyone and everything belong as they are.

Using living maps

A core practice in Systemic Constellations is the creation of "living maps" where workshop participants stand in as "representatives" to represent different parts of the system we are looking at - whether family, organisational or wider social system. This is a remarkably powerful diagnostic tool that helps us see and sense the relationships in a system in a new light. We can work with this living map to explore different possible interventions and see the likely impact on the system.

Working with embodied knowing

Representatives in a Constellation typically receive an intuitive, embodied sense of how different stakeholders might respond to different interventions. This is a somewhat mysterious process – and we don’t know exactly how it happens – but the experience of practitioners over the past 30 years is that the process has an incredible power and can lead to significant “aha moments”. We see the system with new eyes. When we might have felt stuck before, we are now able to see promising new pathways ahead.

Different formats

A classic Constellation is typically run in a workshop setting, often with groups of 10-20 participants, although it can be run in far larger groups. The methodology can also be applied in a number of other ways, including creating paper-based maps of the issues, using floor markers or objects to map out a system, and through 1:1 coaching.

The origins ​

Systemic Constellations was originally developed by German psychotherapist, Bert Hellinger, drawing on his experience living with the Zulus in South Africa in the 1950s and 1960s and the importance they place on recognising ancestral ties when working with healing. He was subsequently influenced by a number of different psychotherapeutic traditions and practices including primal therapy, transactional analysis, family sculpture, and gestalt. 

My Constellations training

I originally trained in Organisational Constellations with Judith Hemming, one of the UK's leading Constellations practitioners, who was supported by Ty Francis and Terry Ingham in the first ever Organisational Constellations training in the UK, run by the Nowhere Foundation in 2002-3. Subsequently I have benefitted from many trainings led by Ed Rowland, who now leads the main organisational training in the UK, and I am an associate of his organisation, The Whole Partnership. I also completed my Family Constellations training with Gaye Donaldson and Chris Williams at the Centre for Systemic Constellations in 2020. 

Further reading

Selection of books by Bert Hellinger:

Acknowledging What Is: Conversations with Bert Hellinger, by Bert Hellinger and Gabriele ten Hovel

Love’s Hidden Symmetry – What Makes Love Work in Relationships, Bert Hellinger with Gunthard Weber and Hunter Beaumont

Insights – Lectures and Stories, by Bert Hellinger

Peace Begins in the Soul: Family Constellations in the Service of Reconciliation, by Bert Hellinger

Laws of Healing: Getting Well, Staying Well, by Bert Hellinger

Selection of books on Family Constellations:

It Didn’t Start With You – How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle, by Mark Wolynn

Even If It Costs Me My Life – Systemic Constellations and Serious Illness, by Stephan Hausner

In My Mind’s Eye: Family Constellations in Therapy and Counselling, by Ursula Franke

The Ancestor Syndrome. Transgenerational Psychotherapy and the Hidden Links in the Family Tree, by Anne Ancelin Schutzenberger

Images of the Soul: The Workings of the Soul in Shamanic Rituals and Family Constellations, by Daan van Kampenhout

Trauma, Bonding & Family Constellations, by Franz Ruppert

In the Presence of Many, by Vivian Broughton

Family Constellations Revealed: Hellinger’s Family and other Constellations Revealed, by Indra Torsten Preiss

The River Never Looks Back: Historical and Practical Foundations of Bert Hellinger’s Family Constellations, by Ursula Franke (Ed.)

The Art and Practice of Family Constellations, by Bertold Ulsamer

I Carry Your Heart in My Heart – Family Constellations in Prison, by Dan Booth Cohen

Selection of books on Organisational Constellations:

Invisible Dynamics: Systemic Constellations in Organizations and Business, by Klaus P. Horn and Regine Brick

Fields of Connection – The Practice of Organizational Constellations, by Jan Jacob Stam

Miracle, Solution and System – Solution-Focused Systemic Structural Constellations, by Insar Sparrer

Systemic Coaching and Constellations: The Principles, Practices and Application for Individuals, Teams and Groups, by John Whittington

Social and Environmental Constellations:

Returning to Membership of Earth Community: Systemic Constellations with Nature, by Francesca Mason Boring

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