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The method of “Systemic modelling” in questions and answers.

We are talking about new trend “Systemic modelling” with Sergey Kushnir, certified systemic designer, certified specialist in systemic constellations (B. Hellinger method), cofounder and head of “Providnyk” systemic modelling center.

Kushnir SergeySergey Kushnir, 45 years old, businessman, business-trainer, highly skilled in systemic modelling of energoinformational systems after Zelinskyi A. V., practical skills in the art of NLP, Ericksonian hypnosis, systemic modelling of structural systems, interior practices, rebirthing. 

Sergey, please, tell us about yourself.

This question often puzzles me a bit. How does one tell about himself and all his years in the format of an article or even a paragraph… I guess you want to hear a story in the context of the subject we agreed to discuss and I should try not to turn this conversation into an “advertising block.”

Nevertheless, let me give you some background.

My acquaintance with systemic and phenomenologic approach began after I met Zelinsky Alexander around 2000. I was invited to spend first half of Sunday in the “Club of easy breathing followers.” The people I met there, the facilitator and especially the things that have happened to me there could be described as “very strange, unclear and very interesting.” This meeting stirred my curiosity. I started to ask different questions: what is it? How does it work? What is happening to people? There were many questions like that. I went looking for the answers, attended seminars, clubs and laboratory arranged and held by Alexandr Vasilevich. I got interested about different approaches in psychology, psychotherapeutics, hypnosis, NLP, rebirthing etc. But the deeper I went, the more I understood that as I find answers to certain questions something more general and characteristic to many people is left out, something keeps slipping away, while details are being addressed. When I was introduced to the sensory substitution phenomenon for the first time it was a shock, “an explosion,” a breakthrough. Watching Alexandr Vasilevich synthesizing his best practices from different methods with substitution phenomenon, every work with a person, every solution was accompanied by “It’s impossible! How does he do that? How do the people who have never met before can feel and describe something they never met? How does it work? If the phenomenon works with all people, where is its limit? What task is it unable to do?

At that time Alexander Zelinsky disregarded or laughed at such question at best. So I had to search, listen, try to understand it all by myself.

In 2006, I gave up and started bugging him with the request to teach me. However, he turned me down many times saying: “I don’t teach. I have no trainees.” Then, in December of 2007, in Kiev, I gathered my laboratory for the first time. I tried, researched, gained understanding.
When I met the Master group (that time it was the name of a team of 4 people in Zaporozhye) I asked more distinct and specific questions on the method. By the way, back then we had many working titles of the method but only in the early 2008 after discussion Zelinsky “approved” the name “systemic modeling of energoinformational processes.” Now we use short name “systemic modeling”.

Later I heard, “We are preparing the first training course on Systemic modeling.” Then…Then there was the first developing course on systemic modeling and certification, our first master-classes at Tavale festival in Kharkov, first mastery school, thematic master-classes of Zelinsky A. V. At the same time there was training and certification on “Structural constellations” program in “Sadalmelik” Institute of Applied Psychology in cooperation with APSYS – Institut für Systemische Praxis Guni Leila Baxa & Christine Essen.

When training in “Sadalmelik” has started I had already new Bert Hellinger’s method. In the process of training the difference between systemic modeling and “constellations” became more and more evident. Although both methods are phenomenologic, now I can say – they are different.

For curious readers, the people who have done a lot for development of systemic phenomenology are: Jacob Levy Moreno, Virginia Satir, Bert Hellinger, Gunthard Weber, Matthias Varga von Kibed and Zelinsky Alexander.

How did the role and approaches of a systemic constellator change over recent years?

The term “constellation” and “constellator” were invented and introduced at the post-soviet territory. The original term is “Family Constellations” originated from “constellation of stars.” When I studied systemic constellations at German and Austrian specialist they used the term “therapist.” In my opinion the method of systemic constellations and specialists in this field have not been developed much in recent 5-7 years. I have never seen a clear definition of who is “constellator,” what are his functions and, what is the most important in my opinion, what he is doing. What is this process called “constellation”? There are also business constellations and constellators with the area of expertise in this field. I believe that using approaches from family therapy in consulting of companies will hardly yield the needed result for businessmen. But we use the method of systemic modeling (the full name is systemic modeling of energoinformational processes) after Zelinsky A. V., and specialist in this field are called systemic designers. These specialists recognize the meaning of the client’s system and can clearly explain this meaning to any person.  I believe, this approach will be the most widely used in future because it combines all the methods of modern psychotherapeutics, business-consulting, coaching, NLP, different philosophies, practices and branches of science.

What is systemic modeling? What problems can be solved by means of the systemic modeling method?

It is a systemic and phenomenologic method that includes algorithms of obtaining necessary information while interpreting person’s system and searching for the Sense in the context of solving specific issue. Having clear algorithms the method is so flexible and universal that it can be used in almost any field. The method allows investigating systemic object properties and interaction between elements of any system, predicting future behavior of the system and its components as well as creating systems and objects with new properties by means of synthesis. I will describe issues people bring to us to help you see the idea: 1. Family relationships (with husbands and wives, parents, children), relationships with people, money relationships, personal views, repeated events and situations, health (when a person talks about a symptom he has), personal fulfillment etc. 2. Work with businesses and companies – if I try to mention all the issues in this area the list will be too long. From the most popular question of “what’s going on with my business and which direction is it moving in” to somewhat “exotic” ones – “Help me deal with insects and rodents in the restaurant. We are just unable to.”

Sometimes I have fun saying, “Think of a request/question you are interested in, which can’t be modeled and solved.” So far they cannot.

Who is systemic designer? What kind of person is he?

He is a person who completed all the stages of learning the method and who is able and practically uses his knowledge, skills and abilities within the framework of the method. He is the specialist constantly looking for new knowledge, findings, who is fond of it and constantly uses it in practice. The second part of the question is quite interesting. I think, first of all he should be himself. Other things are details different for every specialist.

What should people know today as they choose a specialist to consult with? Are there important things they might be unaware of?

People may choose based on any criteria known and important only for them, but… When push comes to shove and it’s necessary to take decision people make up their mind quickly focusing on inner sense of the choice “adequacy.” The best answer to this question is that nobody knows who you should consult with better than you do. All your requirements to the specialists and choice criteria are correct.


Of course, usually there are some “things” people are unaware of. According to the emotional reaction to the first contact (no matter how it happened) with a specialist you may judge about interaction you will have with him.

What problems does systemic designer and a client face?

Systemic designers are people like you with various challenges, who for some reason decided to work with systemic modeling.
In professional context there are many various aspects systemic designer should take into account in his work. For example, a person with a request most often describes the problem from various points and usually tries to omit the most important thing. Even if the person avoids this by all means, systemic designer should show the person things he tries to omit, usually the solution is there. There are also categories of requests, which may resonate with similar dynamics of systemic designer. You should be able to “catch” them and know what to do.
Sometimes people come with requests “to change THEIR” (mother, father, chief, colleagues etc.). In this case, systemic designer can and probably must show that the person himself (not THEM) creates such connections, which fuel the Sense so important for him. It is through these connections person “creates” “such” people. Having changed these connections the person is able to change his environment.

There were cases when people told me, “Do something to change my life completely, but make sure nothing changes around me.” I love such requests. That speaks volumes, and it’s important to understand and “come” with the person to the things hidden behind this phrase. Often it is like “explosion.”

First case: a woman came with a request to fix relationships in the family. Few weeks later she called me, reminded me who she is and what we have been doing. She told me how everything changed in their family right after modelling. Then she asked a question: “What should I do next to keep everything this good?” It was long time ago and this question puzzled me for a few seconds. Do you know what I answered? – Just keep living. We didn’t get in touch since. This case reminds me of one returning question after the work is done, “What is next?” Now I can add to “Just keep living” – watch, take note and rejoice at any changes happening to you afterwards. Don’t wait for “Tomorrow I wake up and everything will be different”. It happens but not to everybody.

Second case: a person calls me and says, “I can’t frame the question but I need your help”. Sometimes when I meet people they say that wanted to talk to me for a long time and then unable to describe what exactly is the problem. This is what the “interview” as we call it or the “coaching-session” – a more popular version – is for. It is when a person describes everything using common words and language and systemic designer asks questions, which help the person to describe, phrase it as a question.

There are many such aspects. These steps lead to successful solution for a client.

The society is changing and year after year it happens much faster. What new needs do you observe your clients have?

Yes, changes take place constantly. In terms of Ukraine few tendencies can be clearly observed. 1. People are looking for their “calling”, which I prefer to call “talent” or even shorter “a gift”. A lot of people are unhappy with things they have been doing. People began to think, “What is my purpose in this world?”, “What is my mission?” 2. A lot of people are confused as the result of recent events in the country, they are anxious and uncertain about the future. The same is in the business. People need information about the course of events, what changes will happen in the country and their influence on them, their families, their business. 3. People come with health issue for their children.

What new seminars and services do you provide for your clients now?

Do you mean the marketing part of our center? – Smiling. – The method is so flexible that there is no need to invent any “new packages”, “follow the trends”. The program of our center already includes all “hot” topics. Topical seminars – the topic of seminar is more like a vector of direction for the whole group. But our approach to each participant is still individual. Take “money” for instance. Everybody deals with them one way or the other but every person has his or her unique Sense behind the “money.”

Or the “business” topic. In business-modelling we nearly always work with the owners, founders, top managers to obtain information “straight from the tin”. Since this is the level where all information and power resides to change situation in the company. We don’t teach our clients how to run their business and don’t evaluate it. We can create conditions where the person can take necessary decision after receiving maximum information as to what is happening in the company and where it is moving.

The unique character of a person is demonstrated in everything: family, relationships with others, money, symptoms and all the more in business. That is why everything we do is aimed at opening, developing and maintaining this unique character by creating necessary conditions.

Modern business environment requires constant changes. How does your method help your clients to become more flexible and respond quicker to changes, which are critical for the success of their company?

Changes are inherent to business. There is almost nothing permanent in the world. There are periods when everything “is more or less smooth and stable”, this is one of indicators of near global changes. The longer the period of “everything is stable and well” the closer the period when “everything has changed”. I might repeat myself. We give our clients information, which no other known method can. Systemic modelling for business is the method of nonlinear analysis, or even more correct to say: nonanalytic method. Often the information received by a businessman is beyond the limits of his formal logic. This information can relate to the past, present and future; whatever the area of interest for the businessman. This way he can respond to the future changes; thus he is ready in advance. Ride the fore-horse. By the way, that is why our clients mostly do not recommend us to their partners. They use our services and keep them only for themselves and share them whispering in a low voice only in extreme cases.

In the west plenty of information, new information technologies, new communication technologies strongly affect the society. Do you use new technologies in your work?

Of course. First, we maintain communication among systemic designers, hold closed video conferences, share our experience. We discuss major dynamics in the country and the world. Second, the situations are rapidly changing, businessmen often need answers “right now” but they are in another country at that time. Then we use various internet software (Skype, ooVoo). The method allows for answers even in this situation. Sometimes, when the issue is related to something general for a certain country we can study the issue and send a report to the person describing dynamics of the events. We have our account at Facebook as well. We use social networks to interact with colleagues and clients.

One more popular trend is to focus on the client (that is to build the business on the basis of the needs of each specific client rather than general characteristics of a product). How do you correlate with this trend?

Is it popular now? Than we are in trend :). We use each issue of the client as the foundation. Since there are no identical people so there are no identical routine solutions. This makes the method both unique and paradoxical. On one hand, it has its own logic and algorithms, on the other hand it doesn’t have any routine features. Sometimes, we even have to omit algorithms and logic, and apply absolutely alternative method of searching for solution. That is why we have been “focusing on the client” for a long time already, as well as his task/problem and unique solution.

What is the core value of such method as systemic modelling today?

In short – speed, preciseness, flexibility, and universality.

In which direction do you think systemic modelling and systemic constellations will develop?

As to constellations, they will remain the family therapy instrument providing dynamic is preserved. Different hierarchic structures, corporations, associations will be created trying to hold the clients in their space. Inventing different “quality” assessment criteria of a constellator and his work and recommending people “who is worth to consult with and who is not”. Organizational constellations will seize to exist providing the same approach is maintained. Or they will be in demand by few of those who are ready to undergo lengthy therapy through their business.
But there are specialists already, and yet more to come, who are not satisfied with “classic constellation” approach. They will search for answers beyond “constellations”, inventing things of their own. But such people will not be “constellators” any more.

Regarding systemic modelling a few trends can be observed. The first one is research, prediction and modelling of “large categories” – country, politics, macroeconomics, and nations. The second one is systemic designers, who are working with big businesses and frequently invited by international corporations to work exclusively for them and who are trying to “own” such specialists because “competitive intelligence” using the method is very efficient and provides necessary information about competitors quickly. The third one is that systemic designers are engaged in scientific activities – so they can model the discovery, understand the direction they should keep developing, which one they should abandon, this saves resources, money, and time. The method also allows to determine and create connections, which didn’t exist before between different categories of the objects, sometimes the most unexpected. And the fourth one is that in the course of time systemic modelling will be used in education at different levels. Starting from elective and special courses for different specialists and up to systemic modelling subject for secondary and higher educational institutions. Moreover, professional deputies will be more and more in-demand, maybe special training programs will be organized.

I believe closed groups engaged in restricted and not advertised developments will appear.

Sergey Kushnir

Using materials from our site is permitted only providing there is direct link to the site of our center with indication of the author.  

Interviewed by Anna Isaeva

This article is in Russian.

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