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Clean Constellations


A few of us met for an extended practice group session, all on the subject of Clean Constellations. This was run by Jordan Collier and John Barlow, who had recently been on Lynne Burney’s 2-day Systemic Representations workshop and who wanted an opportunity to practise.

Clean Constellations combines David Grove’s ideas on space, psychoactivity and emergence with Bert Hellinger’s famous Family Constellation work. Using audience members to represent important elements in their life, the client takes a privileged position outside of their personal process where they can watch the drama of their inner patterns and outer relationships acting themselves out in front of them. Not only do Constellations provide quite a spectacle for the observer, the client is able to make new insights and new connections from the very interplay of their constellated elements. As in other emergent processes, the system wobbles, deconstructs and eventually reorganises, providing a wonderful climax when the client steps back into their ‘story’, often finding that it has rather subtly changed.

We started both sessions with a ‘Group Clean Start’ which involved us writing down what was important for us about being in the session, placing it and ourselves where we needed to be and then finding out what happened when we responded (silently / in writing) to questions such as, “And what does this space know about that?’ and ‘And is there another space that knows something else about that and would like you to go there?’ There were six versions of this invitation and we noticed that we liked it better when a space was ‘beckoning’ us than when it was ‘willing to receive’ us. This activity got us warmed up for the constellations treats that were in store. smile

We had time for three constellations in total. Two of the clients worked on family issues and one was about an inner experience of decision making. John and Jordan did a great job of facilitating these, going round each of the representatives in turn, asking about what was happening in the relevant space. The space soon became psychoactive and it was amazing how much the configuration of the space was able to inform each situation. All three came to a lovely conclusion with the clients discovering much that was new and which seemed helpful. It will be good to find out what happens to these systems as the days, weeks and months unfold.

At the end of the session, we had a discussion about how anyone might use this in a work situation. We agreed it is a great process, but it needs to be planned. As someone pointed out, we don’t have a dozen people waiting in a cupboard to become representatives! Lynne Burney sets up specific days for people from different businesses to come together, ensuring that people who are involved in one another’s issues aren’t present at the same time. Given these difficulties, we got onto the idea of using objects (stones, coins, Playmobil people) as representatives instead of human beings. Of course they cannot speak, but a couple of people in the group who have tried this said it is very effective, and of course it means the process can be done one-to-one. We all agreed that this would be worth trying out.

Thanks to John and Jordan for an excellent day / evening.

Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash

About Marian Way

Marian Way's avatar

A highly skilled facilitator and trainer, Marian, who founded Clean Learning in 2001, has developed and delivered training across the world. She is the author of Clean Approaches for Coaches, co-author, with James Lawley, of Insights in Space and co-author, with Caitlin Walker, of So you want to be… #DramaFree.

Marian is an expert Clean facilitator, an adept modeller, a programme writer and an inspirational trainer. She has a natural ability to model existing structures, find the connections between them and design new ways for people to learn. Marian was a leading innovator within the Weight Watchers organisation, which included developing the “points” strategy, a local idea that went on to become a global innovation. She is a director of both Clean Learning and Training Attention CIC, world leaders in clean applications for corporate, educational and community development. She designs our programmes and workbooks, leads workshops and teaches on all our courses. She’s trained people in Great Britain, Russia, Sweden, Germany, Australia, Japan and the USA. Marian is also a recognised Clean Assessor.

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