Behavioral Science / Core Disciplines / Education / FFI Global Conference / Research in the Field


The PractitionerThis issue introduces some related thoughts on the topic of “constellations,” which will be the theme of the November issues of The Practitioner.

According to the International Astronomical Union (IAU):
In modern astronomy, a constellation is a specific area of the celestial sphere. These areas had their origins in star patterns from which the constellations take their names. There are 88 officially recognized constellations, covering the entire sky. When astronomers say an object is “in” a given constellation, they mean it is within the boundaries of one of these defined areas of sky.

According to The Free Dictionary, in addition to being something stellar, a constellation is also:

  • a group of ideas, qualities, etc., related in some way
  • any brilliant, outstanding group or assemblage

Did you know there is a behavioral science process called The Systemic Constellation?
This process is a trans-generational, phenomenological, therapeutic intervention with roots in family systems therapy. In this theory, a constellation can serve as an illuminating adjunct process within a conventional course of psychotherapy. The method, widely used in Europe, has also been applied in other systemic contexts such as organizations and public bodies.

Many people contributed to the development of the process; however, the German-born Bert Hellinger is widely acknowledged as the founder of the process in its modern form. His first book, published in English as Love’s Hidden Symmetry became a best seller in Germany and brought constellations to public awareness.

Systemic Constellations is also a concept used in coaching. Go here for a podcast interview with Australian coach Karen Tweedle on What is Systemic Constellations and How Does it Apply to Coaching?.

FFI has frequently promoted the concept of professional collaborations in the family enterprise field, but rarely thought of these collaborative teams as “constellations.” Here is some research, going back to 1998, on “Professional Service Constellations: How Strategies and Capabilities Influence Collaborative Stability and Change.

Distinguished thoughts – some challenging!

  • “The earth, that is sufficient, I do not want the constellations any nearer, I know they are very well where they are, I know they suffice for those who belong to them” – Walt Whitman
  • “We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.” – Anais Nin
  • “The social molds civilization fits us into have no more relation to our actual shapes than the conventional shapes of the constellations have to real star patterns” – Thomas Hardy

Coming your way on November 5  – Customs, Rituals and Perspectives

  • “Daughters, Parents, and Advisors: Changing Roles for a New Constellation” – Amy Katz
  • “A Western Woman Advising Saudis on Governance: Cultural Differences & Similarities” – Barbara Hauser
  • “Family Harmony Myth in Spain and Latin-America” – Javier Macias

And… we couldn’t resist adding one of the stars of the FFI global conference – see the excerpt from Peter Buffet’s “Concert and Conversation” below.

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