Emotions often seem to underlie diseases
... and relationships underlie emotions.
Can relationships make you sick?
We help people untangle their relationships
and rebuild their health.
Mission & Remission
As I was developing what I later called Soulwork systemic psychology,
many people told me that as their relationships improved, their disease symptoms spontaneously lessened
or vanished, even symptoms that we did not discuss.
Medical tests sometimes showed that blood chemistry and even
eye prescriptions improved as people managed their emotions and solved
relationship problems. Many people described pains, headaches
or digestive problems fading away.
As my experience grew, those symptoms made more sense. If disease symptoms serve a function in
then as relationships improve some people seem to heal their symptoms!
Spontaneous remission seems to be related to responsibility and motivation.
I have long been fascinated with people whose disease symptoms vanished,
and I interviewed many. I wanted to know what they did and how they did it.
A spontaneous diminution or abatement of the symptoms
of a disease. KMLE Medical Dictionary
Relationships & Disease: Who Makes You Sick?
relationships, closeness refers to intimacy -
good feelings - about someone. For example, people often feel close
to their partners and family members. But what does it mean if a person
feels closer to a parent or past partner than to a current partner?
Try asking yourself, "Exactly how close do certain people
feel?" Your mother, father, partner and ex-partners for example.
You may even feel that some people seem to be too close! Who do you hold
in your heart, for example?
A fascinating way to understand relationships is to map your
emotional reality. And this map can intuitively indicate health problems. What
might you say if you feel a parent on your back? An ex-partner in front of you?
A dead baby in your heart?
You asked me where I felt my mother was, and I said, "In
our kitchen". You asked again and
suddenly I could feel her right in front of me. I realized that I look at the world through my mother'
- through her opinions and beliefs!
Do any of your relationships seem distorted or enmeshed? Do you perceive
friends, colleagues, movie stars or fictional characters as replacements
for family members or idealized partners? Do you daydream about relationships
with past lovers, actors or even fictional characters?
How about your close relationships with family members?
Do you perceive a child as a partner, or an employee
as a child? When this occurs, you may be motivated to relate to certain
people as if those people were someone else.
I discovered that my abdominal
problems might be a weird compensation for
abortion ... and
that her abortion had also affected my partnership,
and indirectly, my son's chronic sadness. Hawaii
Common relationship entanglements occur when parents
feel confused between their partners and their children.
(See Mother-Son and
Families offer many possibilities for confused relationships.
Systemic Coaching: When Disease Makes Sense
Many people seem to block their own success with their
We can help you solve emotional and relationship issues.
If you feel blocked by one or more relationships, a useful starting point is
your goals, relationships and entanglements.
Your success will likely reflect your relationships. In a human
relationship system, the success or failure of one member impacts other members.
We respond to the actions of other people in our systems.
For example, if one member perceives another adult as a child, or as
a substitute for a parent or sibling, that transference will affect that
behavior. (If two people both perceive each other as substitutes, we call
Consider partnership - if a partner perceives the other
as a parent - then that partner may act childishly, expecting the other
to be a caretaker. If a partner perceives the other as child -
then that partner may demand the other's compliance.
Our systemic solutions include evaluating the unconscious benefits
of disease symptoms - benefits that often reflect relationship issues.
1. Do disease symptoms express a crisis?
A disease may be a way of coping with exhaustion or stress. For example, a migraine may
justify taking a day or two away from work.
2. Do disease symptoms express inner conflict?
Some disease symptoms seem to reflect conflicts. People with long-term conflicts (e.g. "I
don't want to stay home looking after my mother")
may experience stress-related diseases, such as digestive problems or
3. Do disease symptoms express relationship bonds?
A disease may represent a shared limiting belief. Changing
relationship beliefs may alleviate mental or physical symptoms; (e.g. “I am only loved when I am
4. Do disease symptoms express emotional trauma or abuse?
We help people alleviate the consequences of abuse and trauma. If a person withholds the
emotions related to a traumatic experience, we often find that disease symptoms may form
in the location of the body in which the withheld emotions are held.
5. Do disease symptoms allow similarity to role models?
Changing role models may alleviate symptoms based on imitating other
people. Is a problem similar to that of a parent or a favored teacher? (E.g. Some
students of Milton Erickson, a famous American psychiatrist afflicted with
poliomyelitis, developed polio-like health problems).
Please consult a medical
doctor about medical conditions.
Although many helping professionals recognize the importance of diet, exercise
and drugs; they often ignore relationship problems and negative emotions. We
- support healthy behaviors, such as diet and physical activity
- support for disease management and professional health care
- provide possibilities for improving relationships and emotional
Do you want to change emotional problems or
Online Coaching, Relationship Counseling & Systemic Therapy
I thought you were just
another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.
Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers
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