ABOUT SYSTEMIC (OR FAMILY) CONSTELLATIONS
Systems (or Family) Constellations is a solution-focused healing method – a kind of therapy in action – which can help resolve issues in our lives by exploring the dynamics that exist between an individual and a larger set of systems to which she or he belongs, such as family (including ancestral) and other systems (community, ethnic group, work, etc.). It helps to bring to light the effects these have on the individual’s behaviours, choices, health, well-being, relationships and life more generally. These dynamics are often unseen or hidden and may be triggered by an imbalance existing in the “orders” of the system.
A constellation is a living map representing our internalised beliefs and stories about the dynamics that exist within the systems we belong to, and which impact on our own behaviour and state of being.
About the process
Systems constellations is most often carried out in a group setting (but can also be used in individual sessions). In a group setting, the process unfolds by an initial discussion with the facilitator, in which the person bringing an issue (an “issue-holder”) gives a simple factual description of their situation, and what they wish to be different in their life. The focus is on the desired outcome, as well as on relevant obstacles.
The facilitator and issue-holder then determine the components involved in the constellations and invites the issue-holder to choose people from the group to represent the elements under consideration. The issue-holder then intuitively places the representatives in relationship to each other in the centre of the group circle – this configuration is a constellation – which provides a living map of the interconnected issues.
Once these dynamics are identified, the facilitator acts on the constellation and works with the representatives to elicit new perspectives, shift old patterns of behaviour or move out of familiar versions of a problem into something new. Sometimes a synchronous shift takes place in the real people that have been constellated. It is not yet understood how this happens, although research is continuing into this mysterious “field” phenomenon. At the end of each constellation there is space for reflection around the significant aspects of the work.
Issues brought to a constellations workshop might include:
- feeling “stuck” in various aspects of one’s life,
- problems in intimate relationships and couples’ work,
- family issues,
- work issues,
- life changes,
- depression, illness, death, abortion, adoption, and
- other personal concerns, such as issues around personal direction, career or relationships or providing clarity in life.