Systemic Work and Dynamic Facilitation

Sometimes when we learn something new, it helps us to see something familiar, in a new way. My husband Bruce has just pointed out a new metaphor for the emergence-based facilitation work I do, and I’m so excited about it!  Here is the story…

Last year, Bruce began to dive deeply into Systemic and Family Constellations work, a powerful group modality for healing generational trauma. He was taking workshops with Peter and Jamie Faust and with Suzi Tucker among others. (I’ve been told that in Europe there is a split between the Systemic work and the original Constellations work, but here on this side of the puddle, people are creating their own forms while still calling it “Constellations.”)

After hearing some of Bruce’s ongoing adventures with this work, last fall I decided to join him in attending a year-long training with Dan Booth Cohen and Emily Volden. Given that my work has to do with people and communication, self-development is an on-going part of my own professional journey…

I’ve also had a hunch that at some point, I would start seeing some connections between the Systemic Constellations work, and the Dynamic Facilitation / Empathic Inquiry work I do professionally.  I thought it might take a while, though, so I’ve not been worrying about it — instead, I’ve just been enjoying the opportunity to dive into something completely new.

And then tonight, over dinner, Bruce started to share some insights he’s been having. When we do Constellations, we begin by exploring the full scope of the entanglements we are caught in… bringing in representatives to stand in for different ancestors, and sometimes different archetypal energies, as well. It’s only after we have begun to appreciate the full scope of the “mess”, that the healing movements become possible…

Bruce was pointing out how similar that is to Dynamic Facilitation, where we are surfacing all of the many different thoughts, feelings, and perspectives about the problem space / solution space that are present in the room. In a DF context, it’s also often the case that the healing movements are possible, only after we have become aware of the larger systemic dimensions of the issue at hand…

When facilitating a Constellation, we welcome and respect the “mess”, as it allows us a fuller appreciation of the entanglements in the field. For Bruce, this parallel gave him a deeper appreciation of the “mess” that often surfaces when we first begin to open up a field, in a DF way…

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this parallel (and others), especially if you have some experience with both of these modalities…









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