What are Systemic Constellations?

*Upcoming 2024 Workshops:*

--> 2024 Constellation Circle: Mahab Kazmi and I will be running a closed constellation group limited to 20 participants throughout 2024. If you would like to book a place in the circle, please find more information here.

--> My annual Trauma and the Field Workshop will be co-hosted with the Centre for Systemic Constellations in November 2024. It will be 2-days long, in person, in central London. I will be focusing on how to use constellation work and somatic trauma therapy to work with habits, patterns, symptoms and syndromes. If you would like to register your interest, please find more information here.

Systemic Family Constellations represent a form of somatic and phenomenologically-oriented therapy, commonly practiced in groups or one-to-one sessions. Conceptually, a constellation is akin to a crossroads beteen a shamanic ritual and a psychotherapeutic intervention. Founded by Bert Hellinger in 1978, family-based constellation work revolves around the principles of relationship and the journey towards claiming one's rightful place in life, often referred to as the Orders of Love. When these orders are transgressed, imbalances, symptoms, diseases, and recurring fates persist across generations until the underlying issues are addressed. Early forms of family constellation work, developed in the 1970s and 1980s, also drew inspiration from rituals of ancestral healing practiced by the Zulu culture, alongside contributions from the Palo Alto Group, Virginia Satir, Hunter Beaumont, Jacob L. Moreno, and others. Bert Hellinger’s practice later became known as the Movements of the Soul.

Symptoms, illnesses, and disorders often arise when elements are ignored or excluded from a system. Every system is part of a larger system and may be influenced by neighboring systems. For instance, the convergence of family systems occurs with events like births, adoptions, or marriages, intertwining the lives of multiple families. Beyond familial dynamics, societal and planetary systems also intersect, affected by phenomena like colonialism, slavery, genocide, and war. Expanding beyond cultural boundaries, constellations may delve into archetypal or divine realms, addressing issues transcending ethnicity, race, sexuality, and time.

In a practical sense, a group workshop typically involves an issue-holder, approximately 20 representatives, and a facilitator or two. The issue-holder shares their story and heart's desire with the facilitator/s. Representatives then embody characters, themes, ancestors, or places from the issue-holder's narrative, creating a living map or moving family sculpture. The purpose is to witness what emerges without analysis, allowing for the re-establishment of orders, the embracing of new meanings, and the release of what doesn't or no longer belongs.

Entanglements within family systems often arise from unconscious contracts of the soul, where individuals share burdens to alleviate suffering collectively. Recognizing and addressing these entanglements is essential. In one-to-one settings, I utilize various tools such as heavy silver and bronze sculptures, felts, and play-mobiles to represent characters from the client's life story. Clients can interact with these representations through speaking, standing, or sensing, aided by systemic sentences designed to touch the essence of the soul.

When working with groups, I explore the integration of music, including song, drums, and other instruments, to energize the systemic field of the constellation. My collaborations with multi-instrumentalist composers aim to create soundscapes enhancing the constellation experience. This approach enriches movement, spoken language, and deeply embodied expression, facilitating profound exploration and healing.

I currently run family constellation workshops, both one-off workshop days and as a closed circle in collaboration with my colleague Mahab Kazmi under our partnership Held From Two Ends. This is a space, a collaboration and a joint facilitation that explores the potential and novelty of distributed forms of facilitation and therapeutic interventions within the realm of ancestral and trans-generational healing. These workshops take place in London, UK.

In conclusion, Systemic Family Constellations offer a transformative journey towards understanding and healing intergenerational patterns, inviting individuals to reclaim their place within the intricate tapestry of life. To end, in the words of Bert Hellinger, “Everything that we hate and we shun, we engage with and become.”

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