Soulwork Home Page

Check your spelling

Soulwork Online Help

Soulwork Humor: Funny stories


Soulwork Systemic Coaching: Summary

Soulwork Coach Training

Soulwork FAQ Questions & Answers


Emotional Issues
Anger & Rage

Eating Problems
Emotional Maturity
Grief & Loss
Inner Child

Pain Control
Stress Relief

Toxic Beliefs
Trauma & Stress
Weight Loss


Relationship Problems

Dissolve Conflicts
Emotional Blackmail

Enjoy Partnership
Evaluate Partners
Long-Distance Love
Love & Hate

Past Partners
Sexual Issues
Soul Mates


Family Challenges

Brothers & Sisters
Divorce & Children
Emotional Incest
Family Meetings
Family Secrets

Fathers & Daughters
Fathers & Sons
Learning Disorders
Mothers & Daughters
Mothers & Sons

Parental Alienation


Life Lessons
Bad Habits
Being Alone
Children's Challenges
Observing Feelings

Patterns in Love
Personal Growth
Quantum Leap
Self Esteem
Self Improvement
Self Intimacy
Stress & Relaxing
Therapist and Clients


Chaos Coaching

Inner Conflict
Expert Modeling
Learning Disorders

Sexual Abuse
Soul of Soulwork
Systemic Management
Therapist Abuse
Training Abuse



Interview with Martyn
Fee, Cost, Price

eXTReMe Tracker

Are you Normal or Abnormal?
When Abnormal becomes Normal Martyn Carruthers 2005

Online Help: Coaching, Counseling & Therapy

While abnormal psychology focuses on mental health problems,
we focus on modeling and duplicating exceptional skills.

What is Abnormal?

Abnormal means statistically rare. If you have unusual skills, physical features or a high IQ - compared to a given population - you are abnormal. If you are sane in a lunatic asylum - you are abnormal. If you sing about Jesus with your arms in the air in a fundamental church, then you're normal. Do it in a Catholic church and you're abnormal. Do it in a government building and you might be arrested.

A better question than "What is normal?" is "What is appropriate?"

As there are few accepted standards for maturity, happiness or wellbeing, we use our expectations to decide whether or not someone is normal. Unfortunately, people who do not fulfill expectations may be called deviant (Harpending & Cochran 2002).

  • Social - every society has guidelines or cultural expectations for acceptable behavior. If you reject these social norms - you may be called abnormal.
  • Emotional - your community probably has rules about which emotions can be expressed and how those emotions may be expressed. If you break these rules - you may be called abnormal.
  • Psychological - normal behavior includes accepting stress and discomfort. If you speak about your distress or discomfort when most people do not - you may be called abnormal.
  • Domestic - normal behavior includes your ability to cope. If you show that you cannot cope with your everyday life - you may be called abnormal.
  • Medical - normal behavior is a lack of disease symptoms. If you have an unusual medical disorder - or if you heal very quickly - you may be called abnormal.
  • Success - normal goals are within reach of most people. Abnormal goals require abnormal intelligence, abnormal effort or abnormal luck. If you are idealistic amongst realists, or realistic amongst idealists, you may be called stupid. If you are abnormally successful ... you may be called eccentric.

Most mental abnormalities are opinions by observers; statistical comparisons to some population. Judgments of mental abnormalities often follow a legal, political or theological agenda.

Definitions of abnormality depend on the individual, the observer and the community to which the individual is compared, and each definition applies to a limited range of behavior. In some families and communities, for example, it is abnormal to enjoy financial success or happy partnership.

People who cannot differentiate between real and unreal experiences,
logical and illogical thoughts, or appropriate and inappropriate behavior
may be diagnosed as psychotic. Such labels can devastate lives.

Can you differentiate between real and unreal experiences?
If you think about lemons you will probably salivate.
Does that mean that you are abnormal? No!

Abnormal Behavior

A society is composed of many elements, and if these elements rapidly change, the results are unpredictable. Mental illness often reflect the families and communities in which the illness was perceived. Some of the injustices of normal societies are only exposed by abnormal reactions.

Most mental health professionals assess the normality or abnormality of individuals during interviews. People may be asked broad questions such as: Have you ever felt depressed about life?; Have you ever experienced a major change in your appetite? or Were you ever easily distracted?

Questions like these can be honestly answered positively by almost everybody. However, unless there is something to gain by honesty, normal people lie. Sometimes lying is normal and telling the raw truth is abnormal.

When clinicians decide that they have enough information to determine whether a person is abnormal ... they can make diagnoses that cannot be confirmed by any laboratory ... they can make assessments that can haunt people for years.

Some people are reluctant to talk about their fantasies, sex life, or use of drugs. Some people may suffer from more than one set of symptoms, and few symptoms are specific to one mental problem. For example, overwork, infections, jet lag, family stress, drug abuse and lack of sleep can produce symptoms similar to psychosis.

If it weren't for the fact every one of us is abnormal, there wouldn't
be any point in giving each person a separate name.
Ugo Betti

Personality Disorders . Developmental Disorders . Attachment Disorders

Treatment of Abnormal Behavior

Normal mental health problems can be shared by the majority of a community. Examples include parental alienation, racism, immaturity, emotional incest and stupidity. The consequences and prognosis of some of these normal behaviors can be as bad as, or worse than, many abnormal behaviors called mental health disorders.

Health professionals seem more concerned with controlling unusual people with drugs, rather than understanding their goals and capabilities. Schizophrenia is primarily treated with drugs, and phobias with conversations. Accepted treatments for depression may be combinations of drugs and conversations.

Less than half of people with mental disorders seek professional help if mental abnormalities carry a social stigma. In some communities and cultures, mental disorders are considered normal and psychotherapy may be perceived as futile.

Here in California if you don't get psychotherapy,
you may be accused of being in denial!
San Francisco

Abnormal Solutions

Do you want to be normal? Who have you chosen as role models?

Many people feel emotions that they do not understand or do things they would prefer to avoid. We find that many people who report emotional and behavioral problems are acting out the consequences of parental conflicts and abuse.

If I don't wash my hands I feel horrible - so I wash my hands a lot.
If my hands feel dirty, I feel like I'm a little girl again,
when I fell into dog poop and my whole family laughed at me.
If I wash my hands ... the laughter goes away ... for a time.

Many people attempt to control their disappointments or emotions with distractions, with cigarettes, alcohol or other drugs. We help people solve emotional and relationship problems.

Please consult a physician about medical conditions.

Online Help: Coaching, Counseling & Therapy

I thought you were just another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018
All rights reserved.

If you like our work, please link to us. If you know someone who might benefit,
please mention or

For online help, email us at:

Soulwork systemic coaching in America & Hawaii


Soulwork systemic coaching in England, Wales & Scotland

Soulwork systemic coaching in Croatia & Serbia

Soulwork systemic coaching in Poland



Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email