Interview on Systemic Work with Alemka Dauskardt

ISCA interview with Alemka Dauskardt

In preparation of this year's gathering of the International Systemic Constellations Association, I'm doing short interviews with those contributing to the conference: presenters, participants, and workshop leaders.


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Hello! My name is Oscar Westra van Holthe. I'm a systemic coach and facilitator. Today I'm talking with Alemka Dauskardt. She is facilitator and trainer of systemic constellations for over 25 years and also member of the Organising Committee for the September gathering of the ISCA. So, welcome Alemka!

Thank you Oscar!

So, the idea is very simple for this what we're doing. In preparation of the ISCA gathering in September, I'm asking various people some questions to learn more about what's alive within the community. So, are you ready?

Yes, I think so! And thank you very much, before we start. I want to say it's a great initiative of yours. Thank you for setting this up in preparation for our gathering.

Yes! Well, it's a pleasure! It's nice meeting new people! So, the first question is: What's your personal definition of the constellations work that you do and how do you actually explain it towards yourself? I'm very curious because it varies oftentimes.

Yes, yes, well, it's a million-dollar question, isn't it? What is a constellation? How do we explain it to ourselves and others? Well, it's not easy, obviously. And I think we're struggling with that. And I struggle with how to explain it. I think I basically gave up on finding that one, perfect definition or one good explanation of what it is –constellation work. I think it's experiential. So I always say to people. We'll first have to experience it to actually know what it's about. And I think it's about these forces that we encounter when doing the work and the nature of the forces that act in the work. That's why it's a bit difficult to explain to people "what is it?". And to myself. I don't what the nature is of these forces –that help us with the work– really is. And I also think a part of a difficulty with definition is that every definition actually freezes the movement in time. The constellations method is definitely constantly changing. It may be even the systemic orders, which we found out about through the method, might be changing, ever so slowly, but still. So I see it as it's in a constant flux. Every definition has to freeze that movement in time and then misses its true essence and the true nature. And I will also say that there are as many definitions as there are constellators. That's clear. So we all perceive the work differently. And I also think that constellations reveal themselves differently according to a facilitator or to a person experiencing it. We are a tool and we are conduits of the work. So of course that constellations would be different according to our own experience, our own knowledge, our own attitude towards the work. So I think there are many definitions of the constellations work. But I think it can be viewed as just a method of setting up. It can be viewed or defined as an approach. It can be defined as a body of knowledge about human relationships, which of course includes orders of love and many other insights. And also, it can be viewed as a spiritual discipline. Or as a worldview. So, I think there are many definitions of constellations work.

And which one do you like best? If I would wake you up in the middle of the night, which one would you scream out first? Or what metaphor would you use?

Yes, well, I really think that this spiritual aspect of constellations is something that defines it the most for me. And I do think that we meet –different from the mainstream– a new worldview and a new paradigm through which we can understand the work. So I think it's a worldview and it's a spiritual discipline. Okay, and what is spiritual about it? Ah, spiritual in terms of, as I said, the forces that we encounter in the work and which guide us and the work are clearly spiritual in nature in that sense.

Allright, the second question! It's there's a big community of constellators and it's growing every day. How do you feel connected to that wider community of facilitators, trainers, coaches, whatever is there? People that are working with the work but are not calling themselves a constellator? So, maybe even artists. We have some great Dutch songwriters that are really in tune with constellations work but they don't actually know about it. So, how connected do you feel with the others, your colleagues in the world?

Yes, that's a very nice question. And well, it implies that there is a constellating community. Sometimes I wonder. I'm not really sure if we can use that word and apply it to constellating fields in a sense of the word how we usually mean it. Why? Because, as you said yourself, it just spread so much all over the world and across different cultures. And it's applied in different disciplines within different professions. It has been taken into different settings and environments. And yes, some people who do it, don't even call themselves constellators. So they don't call what they are doing constellations. So, is there a constellating community? I'm not sure. That's a big question. But I do feel that everyone who does this work or, really, who encounters this work in whatever capacity, whether we use it for our own development or for addressing some private questions, or whether we facilitate or train, everyone who gets in touch with the work I see as part of this field of constellations. And I certainly feel myself as part of this "constellating field". So I think we are all part of this same field, or this same movement, if you like. But on a more practical level of community connections, as of a few years ago, I have become active with ISCA, which in it's new stage has made a lot of efforts in providing this formal structural organizational core around which the facilitators of all different persuasions can coalesce in terms of belonging to a professional association, in terms of creating opportunities for online meetings and having these online discussions about different relevant methods that we find important. And also in terms of creating these opportunities to gather in person. Like the one in Opatija in September this year. So I think it is important that we have such associations, that we provide these opportunities for connection. Not just personal connection –although that's important too– but I think it also goes towards strengthening this field of constellations. The constellating field as a field. Maybe as a profession. And I think it is important.

And with regards to the wider community or towards all the people that are working in this field, what would be your biggest wish for the field, the profession, within the coming time, maybe decades, maybe five years? Like, what should the community be more like maybe or be a little bit less like? What would be one of your biggest wishes for reaching out or connecting?

Partly is my involvement with ISCA driven with that wish for the community to maybe become a bit more structured. I'm not a big fan of structure and boundaries, but I do think that it's timely for the constellating community to actually for us to define ourselves a bit more. What is it that we do? What are some core principles that are the same for everyone, no matter how different we are? What are our boundaries and what differentiates us from other fields and other disciplines? I think it's really important that we do it at this point in time because if you don't have these defined boundaries, then we don't have a same space that we can share and inhabit and belong to. So I think that would be the next task, as I see it, for the constellating community, to kind of define ourselves a bit more and provide some structures and maybe even some boundaries so that we can, from there, more easily communicate with other disciplines and thinks like that. But I see this danger of constellation work being absorbed by other disciplines and other professions and not standing by itself as a method and an approach, different from others, which I think it definitely is! It helps me to view it like that. So that is my wish for the constellating community and the constellating field. To define ourselves a bit more. To have some core principles which we can all agree with. To have this field that we all feel "Yes we can belong to it!" and then to have the diversity within that field, which is here anyhow, because as I said, every constellator sees it and does it a bit differently.

That's great! With regards to the gathering: What would be, if you would point it down to one question or one curiosity: What would be your one question that you would love to discuss more and that you think "That's why I go to the conference and when I get an answer on that question, it will be worth the travelling, and, of course, it's a beautiful country, Croatia, but what would be this one thing, you would say "If I find out about that", it can also be an experience, what would that be?

Yes, well, it's along the lines of the answer to your previous question. It's about, yes, maybe just teasing out and exploring "What core do we share?" and "Can we gather around the similar or the same core, while respecting each other's differences and accepting that people-other-from-us do constellations differently?" So, how can it work out? These two opposing movements, if you like. How can we, as a community, work it out? And there will be opportunities to address some issues for the association itself, for ISCA. There will be opportunities to share and see what others are doing. Where and how do I fit into all of that? How am I different? How am I similar to others in my work? So this is something that I would personally want to get from the gathering. Especially this time, we are looking at organising the gathering in a way that there are no invited presenters and then there's the rest. It is really about a gathering of colleagues. So we're all on a kind of an equal level. Some have more, some have less experience. But it's for everyone and it is really about collegial sharing. So we're inviting people to register to offer presentations.

So that means that when I register, I can do a little workshop or can share some of it in different interactive formats?

Exactly! And right now we're inviting and encouraging people to do just that. To register and also offer presentations. Right now the invitation is open for that. And one other thing I want to mention is this: Sure, just meeting other constellators in person, we know that that gives us a lot of joy and a lot of nourishment. And it's like that instant connection. Okay, you can meet the person for the first time from a very distant culture and you know there's this instant connection, because you share a similar worldview. You know by doing constellations, it implies that we are somehow moving towards this new paradigm. So, this connection is very important. Personal connections. And also, this time I'm very pleased as a member of the organising group to have one of the leading scientists, systems theorists, and a developer of the new paradigm in science, Ervin Laszlo, as our guest speaker. So I'm very excited about exploring a bit more: Where does constellation work meet these new theories about consciousness research and how do we feed each other and learn from each other on that level as well? And I think constellators can benefit a lot from these kind of connections, and I think, the other way around too. Constellations can contribute a lot to this new research and new scientific paradigm developed. So this is in short what excites me, but also meeting other people, seeing you there in person as well, and as you said, it's a beautiful time of the year at the Croation coast! So a lot of reasons to look forward!

Great! Allright, so I'm looking forward and I hope a lot of other people. See you then!

Okay, see you then in person, Oscar!

Okay, bye bye!

Bye for now!


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