Creativity, Emergent Process, and Psychological Safety

Parallels we’ve experienced between Constellations and Dynamic Facilitation

The following sketch of the underlying dynamics of emergence began as a conversation between Halina Rozensztrauch and my husband Bruce Nayowith, about the dynamics of Constellations experiences they had shared. It then evolved as Bruce and I began to explore the parallels between Constellations and Dynamic Facilitation.

Photo by Amber Kipp on Unsplash

Whenever we engage in a sensitive “laying out” the various strands/perspectives in a tangled situation, we are making more space for the diversity and the complexity that are already present. As we “decompress the field”, we experience this work as “un-fusing” the various elements, which in turn allows for a certain kind of alchemy to take place.

As we slow things down, unfolding and unwinding what is present, new possibilities arise. Earlier, the various elements could not come together in constructive ways, as they were fused or frozen by their reactivity to one another — and thus, not available for synergy. Yet when we decompress and unwind what earlier was compacted, a larger embodied knowing emerges regarding how these various elements can move into a meaningful relationship with one another, and thus enter into the new future that is calling… 

There are two distinct movements here: the first can be seen as a loosening up, a “movement to freedom”. This is parallel to the “divergence” phase that is sometimes depicted in conventional models of group facilitation. Regarding this first movement, Bruce writes: “Trauma can be seen as energies that have either exploded/shattered, or have become very compressed. For the compressed places, the following set of S’s can be quite helpful.” His list includes

  • Spaciousness;
  • Slowing down, in a… 
  • Safe enough container, with
  • Soft and Sensitive movements that embody gentle precision, in
  • Shared Spaces with others.

The second larger movement or phase is distinct from the first one. It’s not about laying out the various threads in the “tangle”; we have already done that, and at this point are often stunned by the stuckness or complexity of the situation. This next movement is the about welcoming something new. Its hallmark is emergence.

In Constellations work, we might suggest short sentences or try out different movements. In Dynamic Facilitation, a participant will often voice a new idea, something different than what anyone had “walked into the room with”, and has already been “downloaded”. In response, this new thought catalyzes other’s fresh, creative thinking. In both cases, what emerges is not a “managed” convergence, but rather something that begins to emerge spontaneously, following its own internal logic, when the first movement has been realized with integrity.

And then, as the various elements begin to come into a new and creative relationships with one another, we experience what emerges as the movement of Love, an energy imbued with its own intrinsic intelligence.

Starting in February, we’ll be offering a small-group immersion in Dynamic Facilitation. There are only a limited number of spaces available. If you feel called, we’d love to have you join us.

for more info, please visit

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