August 11 - 12 Sponsored by The Graduate Institute
171 Amity Road, Bethany, CT
> Explore patterns of human relationship> Experience the power of connection> Engage your bodily felt-sense to heal> Allow new insights and wisdom to emergeRia Baeck is an international presenter on systemic constellations. Her work has helped people transform themselves and organizations shift from competitive and combative styles of interacting, to authentic relationship and shared leadership. In this workshop, Ria will demonstrate how to work with human groups as holistic systems, to break pathological patterns, to heal and deepen relationships, and to reveal new opportunities and perspectives.
A Short Introduction to Systemic ConstellationsSystemic Constellations started out as Family Constellations through the work of a German psychotherapist named Bert Hellinger and his experiences in South Africa. Hellinger noticed that people in South-Africa were a lot more connected to their ancestors than people in Western cultures. He was intrigued by the healing power that came from being linked into this wider field of belonging that spanned across generations. He identified patterns that he called “the family system” that seemed to bridge people’s present lives with their past, and held the keys to their future well-being and wholeness.Hellinger and his followers eventually expanded their work beyond families, to include other types of human systems. Therefore, the general term for this work is today called “Systemic Constellations.” When people come together to inter-act, they inevitably create patterns of relationship that operate as holistic systems. Particularly important today are the patterns of relationship that govern how people inter-act in the workplace, in business, government and non-government organizations. The power of systemic constellation to explore, reveal and release stuck or pathological patterns has led to an entire arena of organizational coaching and consulting called Organizational Constellations. How does it work?
All systems where humans are involved emerge through the many mutual and reciprocal relationships and influences that are ongoing and happening all at once. Most of them are totally invisible and are intangible. This is exactly the strength of constellation work: to make these systemic undercurrents visible. Good systemic facilitation helps people work with them in a life-affirming way. The client starts out with a question or a query. The skilled facilitator helps the client hone the inquiry down to core essential “moving pieces” – no more and no less than what is essential. The facilitator has helped the client view the inquiry as a system of moving parts. The client then chooses people in the room, preferably who don’t know much of what the client’s story is, to represent these key parts of the constellation. The people who represent the parts are instructed to pay attention to their bodies, in a non-attached, non-judgmental way. The key is for the people representing parts to bypass the “story” and instead, tap into their somatic awareness as the deeper field of knowing. People are asked to represent people in the story, but often times also animals, objects, symbols, other groups of people, or institutions. As the “client” chooses other people to represent pieces of a puzzle they are trying to solve, they are relying on tacit knowledge to make their choices. This knowing is present in the embodied “felt-sense” of the client, and transferred through the power of touch as they determine, by guiding the other, where this particular piece fits in relational space to the other pieces and the system as a whole. Guided by the facilitator, who directs the work away from mental talk and abstraction and constrains the work in the realm of the embodied felt-sense, this implicit understanding begins to build up in the representative system that the client assembles. There are subtle exchanges of energy, gesture,and feeling that reproduce the hidden, implicit patterns that arise in the client’s subconscious and are represented in the constellation of people the client arranges in relational space. Watching systemic constellation work is fascinating! Clients take great care to make their decisions and often make micro-adjustments to the field. Checking and re-checking the pattern they are assembling, by using their deepest felt sense and somatic awareness, clients can feel it is crucial that a representing person move an inch or two forward or back, or angle their hips or shoulders one or two degrees to the right or left. All the while, a deep, implicit and intimate knowing is being transmitted, not only to the participants, but also to outside observers. The constellation slowly builds a presence of its own, and the room becomes filled with energies that are palpable,and seem to want to move.
From here, different facilitators have different styles of proceeding. The client is asked to reflect on the constellation they have assembled, giving minimal feedback and sticking close to what is present and concrete. The client may offer reflections about the process itself, but the facilitators job is to steer them away from too much narrative and instead, to enter into a state of open curiosity. Sometimes the people representing parts are asked to “speak from their position”– again, talking more about how it feels than judging what it means. Representatives may be asked to do a body scan and share what their body sensations are. People can feel trapped, isolated, phobic, fearful, angry-- or nurtured, cared and loved in their positions. Without judgment, the representatives are merely reporting what is present to them in an embodied way.Finally, the representatives are asked to move as their bodies suggest. The facilitator makes sure this is done in a slow pace and in a very deliberate way. Pay attention to your body! is always the instruction here. Pay attention to how the micro moves of others changes the way your body feels. Don’t get stuck on your first impression such as “I want to run to the corner of the room.” Take small first steps, and feel into the field as it changes shape.That first impression might be shaped in relational space into a new, more life-affirming insights.At the end, the client is asked to reflect and comment on the new constellation that was born from the movement of the field. Does it hold insight, wisdom and new-found choice for the client to see the constellation assemble itself in this way? The client may want to ask the representatives questions, always sticking to the felt-sense and somatic awareness, until the session is over.Systemic constellation work can seem magical, and the information coming from the field can seem other-wordly. Ultimately, a good facilitator helps people mine the intersubjective, relational and complex dynamics that constitute human interaction. In our own body, and in between our bodies, is where the healing and re-wholing energy arises, exchanges, and transforms human systems.