How to address an issue using the SYS-MATS

To start off with the client chooses a shape to represent him/herself, and positions it on the table.

They then choose mats to represent the current situation, and position these appropriately. Further mats to represent other people, the goal, the problem and so on can also be added.

The mats get chosen intuitively and should be positioned with intent, at a place on the table that feels ‘right’, correct and congruent to the client.
When a specific issue is first represented visually, it can be more easily addressed and analysed verbally.

For further processing of the current theme, mats can be repositioned or new ones can be chosen, according to the client’s perception of changes.

Therapeutic interventions may vary. Other supportive/helpful tools, like adding little notes, might be used together with the Sys-Mats. Carry on until the session feels complete.

It may be important to document and photograph certain steps, and the visual end-result, for reference and as a resource at later stages of the therapy or counseling.

Suggestions for SYS-MATS lay-outs:

  • State of affairs lay-out: Which of the mats represents me today? What does it stand for/ what does that mean about my inner life? How am I doing today? (Good warm-up exercise for groups!)
  • Classical family-constellation lay-out: One mat to represent the client, with other mats representing members of their past or current family.
  • Theme lay-out: One mat to represent the client, and another mat (or several) to represent their issue/problem.
  • Blockage lay-out: The client, the goal and the blockage towards it.
  • Find your resource lay-out: The client, the problem and the resource/help for it.
  • Dilemma lay-out: 1 A mat for ‘the one’ 2. A mat for ‘the other one’ 3.
    A mat for ‘both’ 4.A mat for ‘neither of these two’.
  • Personality lay-out: The client and the different aspects of their personality (i.e. in the form of a stack of mats, which then gets separated and discussed/processed one by one).
  • Organisation constellation: A business/institution and parts of it or certain projects in it and/or the co-workers.
  • Project constellation: The project, the team-members plus other relevant aspects.