My starting place in offering constellations is recognising how we are part of a vast and complex interconnected web of life. That this complexity can affect our lives and the decisions we have to make in a daily basis in ways that we may not always be aware of or be able to control. That by acknowledging this complexity we may create space to move forward in a way that best supports the web of life.
We begin with an issue to explore – it could be as small and seemingly simple as what colour to paint the wall, or it could be as complex and entangled as an intergenerational family pattern that we are struggling with. It could be personal to us or it could be beyond any one person. It may include a sense of unresolved stuff from the past affecting the way we are living or functioning now in the world.
A constellation is a way to map out the way that this issue may involve many factors: perhaps there are different parts of us wanting different things, perhaps there have been many-faceted family dynamics that mean that the way to navigate this issue may not be immediately obvious. A constellation is a space to listen, to give a voice to the many aspects or personalities or people that are affecting a situation. By creating this space, we may allow the wisdom of the whole to speak and perhaps to whisper ways in which a tangled situation may resolve itself. When I say listen or speak, I am not meaning only in a verbal way. A constellation is a space to explore the many ways in which wisdom may show itself: through a body sensation, an impulse, an image, a seemingly random thought, an emotion, an atmosphere or vibe… Something may shift or begin to flow simply in the process of allowing the different elements of a situation to be seen or heard. Sometimes, for flow to happen, we need to make a shift in the way that the elements face each other or relate to each other. We can make these shifts in a way that may ripple into the space beyond the constellation, into our daily lives and into the situations we have brought.
One-to-one or in groups
A constellation can work both in a group setting, with people being called on to represent people or aspects of a situation, as well as one-to-one with stones or twigs or figures or pieces of paper used to represent. The representing can happen beyond our conscious awareness – the person representing may experience unfamiliar body sensations, thoughts or feelings which can support our understanding of a situation. In a one-to-one setting the person bringing the issue will be invited to touch the thing representing and to notice what arises. In both settings, we would take time at the end of a session consciously to come out of role. As a facilitator I am there to hold space for witnessing to happen and to ask questions that may support our understanding of a situation and may support the element chosen to find the best possible way of relating to each other.
My training in constellations and coaching has been with Jenny Mackewn and Lilith Flanagan. I am influenced by the work of many others, including Francesca Mason Boring who writes this about the ‘origin’ of constellations:
Family Constellation is an orphan with many parents. Some wrestle to assign the “designer” of the method. Is this the work of Virginia Satir? Is this the work that was introduced by Bert Hellinger, a German therapist/philosopher, who with the support of many others, moved the work into international circles? Perhaps “Family, Human, and Natural Systems Constellation” and “Constellation as ceremony” are smooth stones that they found at the river that has been seen and recognized as a normal part of the landscape in many cultures, places, and times. ( from “Connecting to Our Ancestral Past: Healing through Family Constellations, Ceremony, and Ritual” )
I receive supervision in my work – please ask if you would like more details.
Constellations or Coaching sessions with me may be a good fit for you if:
- you’re interested in bringing a bird’s eye view to a situation in your life
- you are drawn to exploring a deeper approach to issues and problems than just thinking about them and working out a strategy
- you are open to using a connection to your intuition, feelings and your body responses in finding solutions
- you are interested in honing your connection to what is most important to you in life
- you are seeking solutions than will allow you to live with a sense of authenticity and purpose
- you think you would benefit from support, presence, affirmation, questioning and empathy in untangling knotted threads and moving forward
- you are keen to work in a way that acknowledges the complexity of life and the way that our decisions and issues are part of a broader system
- the issues you’re dealing with include a sense of being deeply affected by what’s going on in the environment, politics and society
- you’re interested in creating a healthier balance between the different elements of your life
- you’d like to connect more deeply with your inner resources and resourcefulness
- you are open to the possibility of seeing ‘problems’ as windows to a more authentic and meaningful future
- you would benefit from a co-creative journey in which you would be accompanied and encouraged to focus on your agency in creating solutions and visioning the future
- you resonate with the sense of there being a value in making purpose and vision central to the decisions you make
It may not be a perfect fit if:
- you’re mainly looking for practical, packaged advice without working actively and collaboratively on finding and implementing solutions
- you’d like to be ‘told’ rather than ‘asked’ – you may find a coach with an autocratic approach may be more suited than me
- you’re unlikely to be open to trying new things and approaches
- you’re mainly looking for support in talking through issues – you may find Counselling or Psychotherapy to be more suited to what you’re needing in this case
- you’re likely to feel a high level of resistance to exploring intuition, feelings or body responses during sessions
- you feel you are unlikely to benefit from exploring how your situation relates to a bigger picture including other people and the wider world
- you’re looking for support specifically with issues including a high level of trauma (although I am trauma-informed, should something arise during a session that I believe cannot be held adequately in the container of the session, I will recommend you to seek additional support from a trauma specialist)
- you are looking for a solution to a big issue in a single session (although a single session can often be transformative, some issues may benefit from a longer time frame to delve deeper)
- you feel that you are currently as connected as you want to be to the resources you need to navigate challenges
Embodied Coaching sessions
I have experienced coaching to be a powerful tool to focus more deeply on what I really feel is important in life, to navigate tangled dilemmas, inner obstacles and blocks, to feel more connected to a sense of purpose, to feel more fully alive, and to make sense of conflicting demands on my time and attention or the many different things I sometimes feel I’m simultaneously needing in my life. Life Coaching has also really helped me to stay in contact with my sense of agency and creativity both in my musical projects and in the art of living.
I approach coaching in an embodied way, by which I mean that I seek to listen to and bring a deeper sense of presence to what the body, feelings and intuition are communicating. A session is a way to create a potent and pregnant space where insights and perspectives can emerge. There is the possibility to step back and to see, feel or sense a problem from a fresh or bird’s eye view. More than this, there is often the possibility within a session to imagine, embody or feel into a real change that can be the seed for a transformation to occur in a way that we may not be able to make sense of rationally or implement. It’s based on the sense that in our bodies and feelings there may be an enormous wisdom or knowing about what the solution to a problem is, and I aim through coaching sessions to hold this space for these insights to emerge. This means not just sitting and talking about an issue, but actively including our imaginations and capacity to visualise and to feel solutions as potent ways to move forward.
My approach to coaching is also systemic by which I mean that exploring an issue touches on many different elements of ourselves and of our complex world. By acknowledging this complexity and the way that different elements may have conflicting needs, there is the possibility of untangling a tricky and knotty situation and to allow each of the elements to find their optimal voice and for the best outcome to emerge in a clear way. I find this a helpful and a hopeful map in navigating both small issues and also in touching on bigger challenges that we face.
If you resonate with this and would like to book a session, or if you need more info to know if this is the right thing for you, I’d love to hear from you – please get in touch.