What is a Constellation?

A constellation is an innovative way of diagnosing and resolving troubling issues. It draws on emotional intelligence and intuition as well as logical thought. A constellation provides insight and foresight by uncovering the hidden dynamics of a situation. By bringing something to light a constellation provides support and momentum to do something new.

Setting up a constellation

A person sets up a constellation by placing people (including a substitute for him or her self) intuitively in a specific configuration that represents an issue they want to have a look at. This provides a living map of key elements within a particular situation. Rather than simply talking about, or just looking at a ‘snap shot’ of what is happening, participants will be able to see clearly into the interaction of these key elements and experiment with new possibilities.

With expert facilitation participants are helped to see things with fresh eyes, make different connections, and move creatively towards solutions that can make a real difference.

The constellation process

Integration in the 5 ‘Relationship’ model

When setting up a constellation it is necessary for everyone involved to be willing participants. They need to be prepared to be actively involved in a process that will require experimentation. This is the working alliance, coming together (The first element of ‘Relationship’).

The 5 elements of ‘Relationship’ are at the core of all work undertaken by Mind Gliding. Mind Gliding is a relationship catalyst. It is the enzyme that optimises performance in businesses or with individuals.

Once the working alliance has been agreed, it provides the secure foundation to explore an issue that has been identified by a group member. When the constellation is in place, the person who has set up the constellation then steps back, away from being ‘entangled’ in the current dynamic. Observation of the constellation will gain a new perspective and awareness of what is currently happening: the benefit from super - vision.

What happens in a constellation?

Once a secure environment has been established, it is the possible to explore and experiment.

The exploration involves setting up a living representation of a current issue, including all the emotional entanglements that are part of that set of circumstances. This highlights the second element of ‘Relationship’ - What is obstructing and preventing development and progress. By creating an externalised, physical representation of what is happening, the challenges become more apparent, opening the way to experiment with creative solutions.

The third element of ‘Relationship’ - Identifying how to move forward in a way that benefits all concerned - provides an opportunity for those involved in the constellation to move into creative experimentation with different ways of interacting.

The results and outcomes of the experiments will provide an intuitive indication of how to move towards a desired outcome. These intuitive indications can be translated into practical everyday useable reality and create an increased awareness of the fourth element of ‘Relationship’ - Identifying an ideal way of operating and being together.

Having arrived at this, those involved can take the experiential learning gained from the constellation to move onto the fifth element of ‘Relationship’ - How to maintain and sustain an optimum state- : This optimum state of operating that fully embodies the previously identified ideal way of operating and being together. When an optimum configuration is arrived at, the person who set up the original constellation places them self back into the newly configured constellation to experience the resolution.

What issues can constellation help with?

There are four main areas where constellations can be used to diagnose and resolve issues in organisational contexts:

Leadership dilemmas and challenges, conflict resolution, bullying, feelings of not belonging, work life balance, career choice, issues with money, reaction to change

Exploring strategic options and choices, innovation management

Difficulties related to mergers and acquisitions, downsizing and restructuring, team issues, tensions between departments or strategic partners, community relations.

Continuous improvement processes, brand and strategy, development, the effects of market forces and natural disasters.


Constellating is a very flexible process which is of use with most personal, professional and organisational issues. It is particularly beneficial when more conventional approaches have been considered and found lacking. Its originality and power will lead to significant, beneficial, original and useable insight.

Constellations will reveal pathways to actions that are unique in that they respect everyone’s position and disadvantage no-one.


· Tyrone J Francis, Constellations, Qualia Group, Chester, UK (2004)
· Gunthard Weber, Organisational Constellations: Basic and Special Situations
. Praxis der Organisationaufstellungen (2000), Carl-Auer_Systeme Verlag
· Hellinger, B. J. ten Herkel, trans., Heidelberg, Carl-Auer-Systeme Verlag, 2002
· Dr E Kloprogge & Peter Gleeson, Mind Gliding®, The 5 elements ‘Relationship’ model (2004)
· Petruska Clarkson: The Therapeutic Relationships (2003), Whurr Publishers, London.

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Author's Bio: 

Eddy Kloprogge is an international accredited research scientist, who has lectured at international symposia (Brussels, Utrecht, London, Stockholm, Minneapolis, and San Diego) and universities (Groningen, Utrecht, Oxford, Paris, Munster). Initially trained under Professor Jan Sixma and Professor Jan Willem Akkerman in Biochemistry and Medicine in Utrecht, he moved to the Island of Jersey in the eighties to become an entrepreneur and business manager. After a short period working in the voluntary sector in Kent, Eddy became Managing Director of Mind Gliding. As a researcher and business developer, he contributes to the ever evolving management and growth of Mind Gliding. He acts as a project manager, initiates structures and strategies. As a quality controller, he contributes to the monitoring and evaluation of the specially designed programmes, which can be tailor made for the individual or for the corporate world.

Peter Gleeson

Peter Gleeson is an international accredited facilitator in personal and organisational development, ranging from conflict resolution in South and East Africa to lecturing at the " Regina Mundi " university in Rome. He is trained as a psychotherapist in Bristol and London and developed his skills as a gestalt psychologist under Professor Petruska Clarkson in London. He is an expert in cognitive behavioural group work for which he introduced programmes for the criminal & justice system and the psychiatric health care. Mind Gliding has given Peter the opportunity to contribute to the success of business organisations: The programmes he develops focus on people's inter-action in their relationships with each other and in the systems (organisations) in which they operate.