incomplete notes

Mapping Team Relations

A somatic tool for auditing and managing team dynamics

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Tool History

  • This tool springs from the work of Bert Hellinger, a German Pyscho-therapist who developed methods known as 'Systemic Constellations' in the 1980's.
  • Practitioners of psychotherapy treating personal and family issues initially used his methods.
  • The methods of Constellations and ‘Hidden Orders’ have since been developed to encompass organisational and wider social systems (Hemming, The Nowhere Foundation ).
  • The method was formally introduced to the m21 research team by Terry Ingham in September 2007 who worked as an external consultant on team dynamics and co-creative methods whilst we were interrogating ways to adopt systemic constellations as a tool within metadesigning.
  • The term ‘’Positional Value’’ was coined by Dinur, B. 2007 for a PhD thesis and is based on ideas from Capra, 1997, Næss, A. 1989, Waldrop, 1992 and Lovelock, 1979. It was introduced to the m21 research in 2007.

Tool Purpose


  • Constellations offers a method to discern patterns and characteristics of a system and diagnose where an imbalance or blockage may reside.
  • It is a phenomenological approach that can help reveal hidden dynamic and interdependent relationships that exist in a system, between people including their environment.
  • Furthermore it helps understand the relational and positional values that each participant provides to the organisation.
  • It is a tool that enables change through acknowledging historical events as well reflecting the present context.
  • It aims to create more effective structuring and organisation of social relationships.

Tool Context

  • All human systems are influenced by principles or 'systemic forces', in systemic constellations these are referred to as 'Orders', which are: time, belonging, space and exchange. (Horn and Brick, 2005, Nowhere Foundation, 2007)
  • In collaborative practices it happens that some team members feel underestimated or that their contribution is being overlooked stirring tensions and emotions that hinder the group to work well as a whole.
  • A successful outcome is that the team/ organisation re-aligns itself and each team member understands its position and value in relation to the team and the system they operate in.

Tool Process

  • This process can reveal tensions and emotions and must therefore be guided by a facilitator and neutral person, preferably an experienced constellator.
  • The 'orders' for each and every system is context dependant.
  • It usually starts with aligning people in a circle from 12 o’clock where either the eldest, the founder, the one with longest seniority etc. is positioned. Then it goes chronologically backwards to the youngest or newest arrival.
  • The choice of 'orders' to be ranked can be chosen by a given team, within its particular context at a given time.

Tool Example

  • What pictures / instances / case studies would help the reader? (specific and detailed – give context for use)

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