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Interview with Martyn
Fee, Cost, Price

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Interview with Martyn Carruthers

  Roland Brantschen

It is difficult to describe the work of Martyn Carruthers and his Soulwork.
Martyn's methodology can change emotions, self-sabotage and relationship habits ... quickly.
It is the product of years of exploring and developing systems theory innovations.
Roland Brantschen

Martyn Carruthers Kosjenka Muk: Systemic Coach Training

Interview with Martyn Carruthers by Roland Brantschen

Online Life Coaching & Relationship Counseling

Roland: Martyn, you created a system of counseling that you teach internationally - Soulwork Systemic Solutions. I know that your training attracts many medical doctors, psychologists and people with high academic credentials. Can you tell us about it?

Martyn: I and my colleagues offer a wide spectrum of services - including business coaching, life coaching, relationship counseling, team coaching ... and more. Can you be more specific?

Roland: What is the theoretical basis for your work?

Martyn: I integrated principles and practices from many disciplines. The famous anthropologist Dr Gregory Bateson provided a hierarchy of abstraction which helps us analyze a person's cognitive habits. The psychologist Dr Clare Graves provided a hierarchy of social evolution which predicts the development of relationship skills and organizations.

Roger Bailey provided a model he called metaprograms, which are useful for predicting behavior. I also integrated some of the deep philosophy used by native Hawaiian healers, who helped me recognize and change relationship bonds and emotional entanglements with living and dead people, and they taught me some of the concepts of soul, family soul and healthy relationships that we often use in our work.

An authentic experience of integrity can provide a reliable sense of life
direction, meaning and fulfillment. Integrity is the Soul of Soulwork.

Roland: Do you use other models for relationship counseling?

Martyn: I use a hierarchy of relationship development to predict the current and future relationship challenges that a person will face, which was inspired by Annegret Hallanzy. I created some tools to assess relationship health. Used together, our systemic diagnosis can quickly assess emotional conflicts and relationship transferences; and sometimes predict diseases and deaths.

Roland: Are these psychological theories?

Martyn: Not really. Our work tends to be very practical. We focus not on resolving complaints, but on helping people get what they want, including meaning and purose ... we help people define and achieve worthwhile goals. We help people find life purpose, or sense of life, if that is what they want.

Roland: Can people coach themselves in this way - or do they need a coach?

Martyn: Few people can use what they do not understand or solve problems that they cannot recognize. We help people explore and manage whatever stops them from solving their problems. Once those issues are solved - a person can find information, make decisions and act. While entanglements remain active - people may continue making robotic decisions or may powerless.

Our work revolves around maturity. We can help people find relationship resources to accept and acknowledge their complaints and to identify their goals and dreams. Then people can solve their conflicts, their anger, fear, sadness and so on, and move on in life. Without an effective coaching relationship, many people attempting self-coaching will distract themselves, or get stuck in "poor me". When tackling inner conflicts they may just go to sleep.

We train people to respond to non-verbal communications or unconscious objections. Few people can do this for themselves. Unconscious signals are ... well ... not conscious. A coach can respond to those communications by gently provoking people to become conscious of them. Understanding their objections to their own happiness is a BIG step towards helping people sort out their stuff.

Roland: That makes sense - so - who benefits most from your work?

Martyn: Motivated, responsible adults gain the most benefits in the shortest time. We can also help people who cannot define goals using isomorphic stories and interactive metaphors. We don't waste time repeating goal questions or futile planning towards abstractions.

A deeper answer is that people who lack healthy relationships seem unable to explore the depth of themselves. It seems that people need supportive relationships as a basis for deep change. People who cannot maintain at least one quality relationship, that is, stable and meaningful but not dependent nor codependent, are unlikely to experience a stable state of integrity.

Roland: Would you call your work a New Age development?

Martyn: Some people complain that the word Soulwork sounds too New Age. Soulwork is practical. Each step of our coaching follows a structured, systemic sequence, without recourse to intuition or esoteric agencies. We check goals in three or four ways, to ensure that people want specific changes and are prepared for the potential consequences of those changes.

Some helping professionals prefer to intuit their clients' problems, which can lead to dependency and abuse. Clients have no idea if a New Age counselor's intuition is accurate - and some counselors and therapists seem to blame their clients if their intuitions do not produce the desired results.

Roland: Is not Soul an emotionally loaded word?

Martyn: Many people are not interested in anything to do with soul, and I wasn't a few years ago. A better word may be integrity. We also call our corporate and organizational work Systemic Solutions and avoid words with esoteric or spiritual connotations - although I find that exploring the Soul of an organization is an extremely practical and worthwhile topic for managers and CEOs.

We do not ask or require that a client have or develop any particular belief. If a person wants success in some field, or wants to change relationship habits or to control emotions such as depression, anger or anxiety, that is often enough. We usually explore exactly when, where and with whom a person wants certain emotions.

Roland: Your demonstrations tonight were stunning. You make your work look very easy. But few of the audience have any idea how long it normally takes for people to make those types of changes.

Martyn: Whenever I present Soulwork, I demonstrate what I talk about. Some people ask if I choose easy demonstration subjects, but most responsible adults are easy to coach with our methodology. For my personal pleasure, I prefer to demonstrate with critics ... and there are always critics.

Success and happiness require goals, decisions and relationships.

Roland: You said that your coaching is holistic ... what does "holistic" mean to you?

Martyn: We attend to all a person's communications; including non-verbally expressed emotions and relationships as well as words, and we offer ways to change things that don't work or are counter-productive. We explore relationships and feelings - and sometimes diet and exercise. We offer ways to change internal dialogue (limiting beliefs or self-sabotaging thoughts) and subsequent behaviors.

Roland: Is that always possible?

Martyn: Always is a very long word. If you are in a relationship with an enmeshed person - whether the enmeshment is with another person, a substance or a behavior, then you risk becoming entangled with that person's obsessions. Many people say that they want to get rid of unpleasant symptoms but that they don't want to change the relationships that require those symptoms. Instead they may turn to medication. We often refer such people to doctors or psychologists.

Roland: How do you motivate people to change?

Martyn: I don't, or at least not often. I'm more likely to provoke people about the consequences of their current actions or lack of action. I find that a gram of provocation is worth a kilogram of motivation, and I teach many types of provocation.

Roland: How do you identify mind-body connections?

Martyn: I ask questions such as: Where do you hold emotional experiences in your body? Unless a person is dissociated, the answers will describe subjective experience and we can usually recognize the type of entanglement. A large part of our training is about responding to nonverbal communication. But often, onlookers ask if we are telepathic or if we can see a people's souls or auras or something like that.

Roland: Where does Soul come into all this?

Martyn: We make basic assumptions about the innate wholeness of people, and people's desire for wholeness and their desire to connect with other human beings in an experience of wellbeing that is often called connectedness or shared happiness. We help people experience integrity as a basis for assessing, evaluating and solving relationship problems.

Roland: What sort of problems do people bring you?

Martyn: People often want to manage emotions, to end compulsions or obsessions, to learn better communication skills, to change difficult relationships and to find meaning in life. Most people have vague goals, but want something different. Very often, people want to stop sabotaging themselves.

The biggest block to success is self-sabotage

Roland: And your systemic coaching includes ... what?

We help people clarify goals and manage entanglements, conflicts, identifications and identity loss. This leads to an experience of integrity and connectedness that we call Soul. From an experience of integrity, mature people can choose fulfilling life-goals and finally end or control their self-sabotage.

Roland: Who are your main clients?

Martyn: I help a wide range of people; we support private therapists and helping professionals in public health and mental health sectors, as well as Human Resources departments.

Many people who seek change want to experience life differently; they want to achieve their goals or end their complaints. My systems coaching helps people reach their emotional goals as well as physical goals. This may include helping people integrate their personality. Most people seem to live fragmented lives based on conflicting desires, conflicting beliefs and conflicting values.

Roland: Are you saying that most people - me for example - are split? That sounds like multiple-personality ...

Martyn: In multiple personality, people are amnesic of their actions and decisions in other states - but few people are that dissociated. Most people know well the experience of, "Part of me wants to ... but part of me doesn't", and they know people who make promises in one state and forget them in another.

People with complex conflict may announce important decisions one day and deny those decisions the next day. People who experience self-criticism often have "inner voices" which can be horribly critical. People who dissociate those inner voices may be diagnosed as psychotic - and medicated.

Roland: What issues are people concerned about?

Martyn: The sources of inner conflict may change but conflicts remain. Many women suffer grief and conflict after postponing childbirth and motherhood in favor of their careers. Many people suffer shame following immature sexual exploits. Many people suffer from the emotional consequences of abuse, trauma and other relationship problems. Although the world is changing rapidly, our emotional responses to our relationships seem to be rather constant.

We offer effective solutions for inner conflicts and cross-generational entanglements. We help people end such suffering. I also deal with the self-sabotage associated with abuse and the consequences of trauma that show up as limiting beliefs. We help people recognize and resolve many symptoms of stress and overwork. We help idealists become more realistic.

Roland: Martyn - I have heard good things about your results - but who coaches you?

Martyn: I enjoy exploring other modalities from a client perspective - although not many therapists seem to enjoy me as a client. I focus on results, not credentials, and I am not very compliant if their theories don't make sense. My life is not a testing ground for their theories. So I turn to my graduate students.

Roland: How do you determine what type of coaching is helpful for what type of problem?

Martyn: Coaching, consulting, counseling, advising and therapy are words that are often used interchangeably - much seems to depend on who used the words first! In a consulting role, I work in a focused way in a defined context, perhaps to change the structure of a human resources department. On the other hand, individual and couple counseling are exceedingly open. Who knows what the next client will want? Very few people seem to know what they want.

How long does coaching take?

Roland: How long does your coaching take?

Martyn: How long is a road? I often work with time-limits for people who want fast solutions rather than long-term mentoring. Much depends on their motivation, health and age. For example I may offer a person 5 or 6 sessions to change a defined complaint or to expedite a specific goal. This can be in one week, if we both have the time and the person is healthy enough to handle the intensity.

Lately, we are coaching by telephone and Skype more frequently. These are great ways to reach out to people and we have learned to pay close attention to vocal changes such as pitch and tempo.

Roland: You said that your work has a spiritual side. How do you know whether a person is spiritual? How do you perceive spiritual evolution?

Martyn: Life includes many distractions, games and illusions - often self-inflicted or provided by ignorant, arrogant or lost people. I believe that each of us can pass these distractions to fulfill life and perhaps transcend death. Yet these distractions can be so compelling or so uncomfortable that people may stop moving forward. It's like they reach a certain age - could be six or sixteen - and not mature much after that. We expect such people to show impulsive, immature behavior.

The Soul of Soulwork is an experience of integrity and connection that seems to transcend thoughts and feelings. The egoistic "I" can merge with an apparently unborn and undying reality. Age-regressed behavior is incompatible with this maturity and responsibility for life - and the stable resource that we call Soul or integrity can provide a reference - a compass - through life challenges.

We coach people to examine their goals, end self-sabotage, change toxic habits and perceive illusions. We travel together through the often chaotic landscapes of the body-mind - to find lasting solutions for emotional and relationship symptoms, and for life to make sense!

Roland: Martyn, thank you for your time.

Online Life Coaching & Training with Martyn Carruthers

(This page was condensed from a longer interview transcript)

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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