Systemic constellation work offers a powerful and profound way of finding resolutions to deeply felt issues. These issues may arise at home or at work, in our personal or professional relationships, or with our children/family as a whole. Sometimes the issue is our health. We may feel as if we know our problem only too well but, no matter how hard we try to resolve it, nothing seems to shift.
At the Centre for Systemic Constellations our use of the constellation approach is directive and guided in order to ensure that clients and students alike are well ‘held’ in a boundaried and supported space that aims, at all times, to protect from possible re-traumatisation or distress. In our training courses we teach our students this way of working as we believe it provides the best grounding and preparation for practice. And, like the constellation process itself, we work to support our students in finding their place of primary capacity – their own ‘Right Place’ within the field of systemic constellation work
At the Centre we teach a diverse, integrative and soul-oriented approach to the work that includes many ‘ways’ of working – including phenomenological family constellations, solution-focused work (structural constellations), trauma and ritual-based approaches among others.
We do this so that students can develop a broad systemic vision and in time develop their own way of working which is true for them.
What is essential is that we all work safely, respectfully and responsibly from a grounded place of inner connection, presence with an excellent training behind us.
In contrast to other approaches that tend to view personal issues in the light of individual experience, systemic constellation work looks at the widest possible view and includes everyone and everything that might have a place. When holding the ‘wider view’ we see that many of our issues stem from ‘entanglements’ or unconscious loyalties to the suffering of others in our family, or perhaps the other systems to which we belong.
How We Got Started
Our story begins in 2001 when a founding group of six UK first-generation systemic constellators got together to create a training course in family constellations – almost certainly the first in the UK. This group of six included Richard Wallstein, Jutta ten Herkel, Judith Hemming, Philippa Lubbock, Karen Hedley and Barbara Stones.
This group was named The Hellinger Institute of Britain (‘HIB’), and was actively supported, in those early years, by Bert Hellinger who introduced and developed the work based on his engagement with the traditional wisdom and knowing field work of the Zulu communities in Southern Africa. In 2005, HIB joined the Nowhere Foundation where, with the generous support of the Foundation, it became possible to develop the work of the organisation further.
Three of the original founders remained – Judith, Jutta and Richard, and the name was changed to the Centre for the Study of Intimate and Social Systems, (‘CSISS’), to reflect the wider remit of the organisation. New training courses were developed and a number of research projects were undertaken.
At this time CSISS also offered guest seminars, supervision and conferences to the community as well as the core training programmes. During the CSISS era, a number of former students who had benefited enormously from their training years became successful practitioners and teachers themselves, and they too wished to help to develop and extend the reach of constellation work here in the UK.
After nearly a decade of involvement, Judith, Jutta and Richard decided to gift the running of the organisation to four of these trainers. And so, in 2009 Gaye Donaldson, Nicola Dunn, Edward Rowland and Chris Williams took over as Directors and once more the organisation was given a new name.
Where We Are Now
Today we are known as the Centre for Systemic Constellations (‘the Centre’ or sometimes ‘CSC’ for short).
We are deeply committed to provide excellent training for personal and professional development. We are continually investing in the evolution of this precious work through new courses and events, seeking to widen the reach of the work into many more spheres and provide much needed support in our turbulent times.
In 2021 Astrid Walker Bourne became the managing director of the Centre, enabling Gaye Donaldson to move to the post of Creative Director. Chris Williams and Sheila McCarthy-Dodd continue as Directors, and all of us are well assisted by our course manager Hannah Cox and business manager Magda Nowakowska.
CSC is registered as a private company with limited guarantee, yet our ethos and mandate as an educational and community means that we operate as a Not-For-Profit organisation.