Mindfulness Based Systemic Constellations (MBSC)

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Mindfulness Based Systemic Constellations (MBSC)

Coordinated by Chris Walsh & Catherine Ingram in Melbourne, Australia

We provide educational experiences whereby you can develop a good theoretical and practical basis for introducing systemic constellation process into your own work practices.

For details about the Introductory Training Programme in Family & Organisational Constellations click here

Why Systemic Constellations?

There are many reasons people are drawn to this process. Some of the most important are revealed in the sense of compassion and belonging that it engenders.

Through this process we can see and feel our shared strength and vulnerability with the rest of humanity, indeed with the rest of the planet. We feel the complex web of interconnection reaching into our present, from generations past, providing a springboard into the future. It is now commonplace to find books and documentaries referring to these ideas of interconnectedness. They are appearing in many fields including environmentalism, physics, psychology and spirituality. It is however a rare jewel that allows us to experience this interconnectedness so directly. The systemic constellation process is such a rare jewel.

Why mindfulness based?

Systemic constellation work is a phenomenological method. Phenomenology can be loosely interpreted as being a technique of acknowledging what is without preconception or prejudice. It is far more difficult than it first sounds and requires practice and mental training.

Phenomenology is the study of "phenomena": appearances of things, or things as they appear in our experience, or the ways we experience things, thus the meanings things have in our experience. Phenomenology studies conscious experience as experienced from the subjective or first person point of view.

Mindfulness Based Systemic Constellations (MBSC)

Phenomenological observation is complicated by the primacy of intention.

So which word so you initially see in the picture to the right? If you see a word in black you can intentionally look for the opposite word in the white. That is the primacy of intention in action. You intend to change the focus of your attention.

This becomes even more complicated and difficult when we realise that our perception is filtered by our cultural beliefs and even our very biology.

In the image to the right a colour blind person sees the number “3”. Others see the number “8”. What you see is as much determined by the colour receptors in your in your retina at the back of your eye, as by the picture itself. (Ishihara colour tests)

Also in phenomenology our own subjective experience is just as valid for observation as external phenomena. In fact the separation of the two can be seen as largely illusory.

Mindfulness Based Systemic Constellations (MBSC)
Mindfulness Based Systemic Constellations (MBSC)

Furthermore in the West phenomenology is generally taught by discourse after the experience. However as Heidegger pointed out it cannot recapture the richness of the experience itself (Varela 1998 p19). So a description of a sunset is not the same as the experience of the sunset.

Phenomenology has been practiced for 2500 years in the East as the Buddhist technique best summarised as mindfulness. In traditional Buddhist writings it is know as Vipassana and it is the quintessential phenomenological method. Moreover it is now clear that these techniques can be practiced by people of any spiritual persuasion, including atheists and agnostics.

Mindfulness has been defined as “the self regulation of attention so that it is maintained on immediate experience, thereby allowing for the increased recognition of mental events in the present moment” and “a particular orientation towards one's experiences in the present moment, an orientation that is characterised by curiosity openness and acceptance.” (Bishop 2004)

The eastern tradition has a long term training practices for developing the capacity for mindfulness. The core practice is usually sitting meditation practice. However, mindfulness practitioners try to infuse this approach into all their daily activities by the practice of Mindfulness in action techniques

Mindfulness Based Systemic Constellations (MBSC)
Mindfulness Based Systemic Constellations (MBSC)

In the last 30 years a number of mindfulness therapies have been developed and experimentally validated. This began with the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn with Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in 1979. In parallel, there has been an explosion of brain research which has shone some light on the processes of mindfulness and therefore phenomenology.

The significance of these positive brain changes associated with meditation is that the processes involved in adopting the phenomenological stance can be trained and strengthened.

Even people who have only been meditating regularly for eight weeks show increased blood flow to the left frontal region of the brain. (Davidson et al 2003) This is an area important in the formation of intention and the control of attention. Both of these faculties are critical in the practice of phenomenology. Lazar et al (2005) found that long term mindfulness meditators had increased thickening of the cortex of the middle prefrontal regions of the brain and of the right insula. These structures seem to be involved with empathy and self observation.

We tend to apply our intention and attention in habitual ways. When this happens we are operating on automatic pilot. In this way we can do customary activities such as eating or driving without being really aware of what we are doing.

As our ability to control intention and attention improves we become more able to resist automatic pilot and remain more present to our experience. In this way we become aware in a totally new way,

From this increased subtlety of perception totally fresh understandings and insights can arise. Phenomenologists call this phenomenological insight. Buddhists call it spontaneously arising wisdom. It emerges into full bloom like the flower in the video to the right.

As this can easily be confused with capricious fantasy the discipline of a regular mindfulness practice is crucial if you want to be able to discern betwen the two in your practice of systemic constellation work.

Evening Blooming Flower In Real-time (watch It Bloom In Seconds) - Free videos are just a click away


Bishop, Scott R., et al ( 2004) Mindfulness, A proposed Operational Definition Clin Psychol Sci Prac 11: 230-241

Davidson, Richard J., Kabat-Zinn, Jon, et al. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 564-570.

Lazar Sara W, et al (2005) Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness . NeuroReport; 16:1893-1897.

Training aims

To generate an educational experience whereby you can develop a good theoretical and practical basis for introducing systemic constellation work into your own work practices.

We aim to cover the most important core areas of systemic constellation work as well as attending as much as possible to special interests and needs of the individuals in the courses.

Our philosophy of training

  • Dialogical basis of learning
  • Learning through doing and reflecting.
  • Reflecting through discussions

Learning Processes

  • Ongoing mindfulness practice throughout the training
  • Lecture, Reflections and Discussions
  • Experiential exercises
  • Feedback
  • A buddy system of self directed learning between monthly training sessions
  • Learning self-awareness
  • Evolving personal style and creativity
  • Providing opportunity to facilitate a constellation with support in a workshop setting

Pre-requisites for students

To be already working in a field in which you can readily apply constellation work e.g. therapist, organisational consulting, teaching

For details about the Introductory Training Programme in Family & Organisational Constellations click here


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