Systemic Solutions for Stress
Stress is part of life. We either develop ways
to deal with stress - or we deal with its consequences. Supportive
relationships, effective planning, regular exercise and a healthy diet are
amongst the best solutions. Some turn to psychoactive drugs - showing that cures can be
worse than problems.
Stress-reduction workshops are a useful tool, providing
assessments, information about the consequences of stress and
relaxation techniques. However, in less than a month, few people use the
information, and in less than three months the information is forgotten.
Stress-reduction techniques can help provide a peaceful space
for long-term systemic stress relief, by providing a period of emotional
stability in which fundamental issues can be resolved.
Withheld emotions, if expressed, may create problems
within a family, team, workplace or organization (a system). Withholding
emotions greatly increases systemic stress. Much stress is not a result of the
quantity or quality of work - stress results from withholding emotions.
Stress is a result of the conflict
caused by repressing the natural and urgent need to punch the lights out
of someone who is really asking for it.
The unexpressed emotions that most often contribute to
systemic stress are anger, sadness, fear and guilt. If a person expresses
these emotions chaotically - that person may damage people, objects or self.
If a person suppresses these emotions,
or expresses these emotions internally (dreams and fantasies) these
withheld emotions are associated with chronic disease, heart attacks and
relationship problems. Such emotions usually represent a need for justice and
injustice. Solutions are not found at the level of the problem.
Short Term Solutions
Common techniques for controlling emotions
include distractions (TV, videos, gambling, etc), sport activities
(gym, competitive games, jogging), psychoactive
medications (including nicotine, alcohol and caffeine) and
dissociation (self-hypnosis and suggestion). The resulting emotional
control is usually short-term, and continued use may result in obsessions
and addictions. The long-term resolution of withheld
emotions requires a different type of intelligence.
The chaotic expression of unexpressed emotions
damages personal and professional lives. Unexpressed emotions will be
expressed sooner or later - and may result in criminal violence, suicide,
agoraphobia, chronic depression, split personality and nervous
Long-term systemic solutions require that systemic
entanglements be diagnosed and changed.
Systemic Solutions diagnoses the
health and stability of individuals and systems:
- Relationship Diagnosis: assess current
relationships and consequences of past relationships
- Trauma Diagnosis: assess current consequences
of significant emotional events
- Goal Diagnosis: assess current consequences
of future expectations and goals
These results can be cross-checked to
ensure accuracy and relevance. The remainder of this article will
focus on Relationship Diagnosis.
We assess and predict
relationship behavior using Myers-Briggs personality profiling, metaprogram
profiling, values elicitation and our sophisticated diagnostic tool,
systemic matrix. A systemic matrix represents the collective perceptions of
a relationship system, from multiple perceptual
positions. A systemic matrix allows rapid diagnostic analysis
and indicates appropriate changework sequences.
Be very careful! I have
only one nerve ending left
- and you're squeezing it!
A systemic matrix exposes systemic entanglements.
Healing systemic entanglements provides a profound
sense of integrity -
a sense of self, sense of family or team, sense of
mission and sense of life - for long periods. This sense of integrity is available for
individuals, couples, teams or families. Many people describe this awareness
Systemic entanglements are both the cause and
effect of relationship patterns. The consequences of systemic entanglements
include conflicts, accidents, illness and death.
Children and irresponsible adults usually make excuses, blame
others, complain and justify their entangled behavior. However, most people (and organizations)
suffer before they are motivated to seek coaching. For many people, suffering is an
essential step towards health.
Executives and managers who can recognize the following
behaviors can predict employee problems, get help early and protect an
organization from legal consequences.
People in a system are alert to justice, and respond predictably
to injustice. Their responses will reflect an organization's history and
management style, and the examples set by authorities. Some common responses
to systemic injustice include
- Cannot change behavior (Identity Bonds)
- Cannot express own life choices (Identifications)
- Cannot describe, feel or express emotions
- Cannot make decisions without deep conflict (Identity
A member of a system may identify with
another member who is perceived as treated unjustly. Some
common identifications have predictable sets of symptoms, with a
range of severity:
- Hero identification: chronic fear, anxiety
- Victim identification: chronic anger, suspicion and
possibly external violence
- Displaced person identification: chronic
sadness, melancholy and possibly suicide
- Dependent identification: chronic guilt,
self-sabotage and possibly chronic depression
People with identifications may show emotional outbursts, although a search for the
emotional triggers often indicates the type of identification and a method
for its resolution. In extreme cases, a person loses emotional control and
may be diagnosed as psychotic.
The differences between normal and psychotic
are often blurred. Psychoses refer to lost contact with reality ... yet
the symptoms are exaggerated normal reactions. As Dr R.D. Laing
suggested: Psychosis is a healthy response to insane conditions.
A person may simultaneously identify with
two high-authority members of a system who treat each other unjustly. We call the resulting condition Identity Conflict.
A common description is split personality. A
person with identity conflict is often unpredictable and
untrustworthy, with behavior swinging between two polarities. A
decision or promise made by one polarity may be forgotten or ignored by the
Attempts to dissociate
(cut off) a disliked polarity tend to increase the conflict. In extreme
cases, a person may become amnesic of the polarity changes, and be diagnosed
with bipolar disorder (multiple personality syndrome).
A member of a system may lose the ability to describe
emotions, and then to feel emotions, and later lose sense of self. We call this condition Lost Identity,
description of a maximal case is nervous breakdown), which may result
from severe stress that was perceived as deliberately applied by an
authority. Most people with Lost Identity can still function (in a
somewhat robot-like manner), which may be an advantage in situations
requiring total compliance and prompt obedience. (Consider cult brainwashing
and military training ...)
Today I will start my
nervous breakdown! I've worked hard for it; I deserve it;
and I will let nobody deprive me of it!
People who stay in a system despite
having good reasons to leave are often emotionally bonded. Such
bonds sabotage attempts to leave. Identity bonds often manifest as helplessness
and hopelessness - with beliefs such as "I must do as I am told"
cannot leave". This behavior is typical in people who dislike or
despise a system, yet cling to it.
Identity bonds are often deliberately installed by cults
and cult-like organizations. Bonded people can justify behavior that would
generally be called psychotic or insane.
Systemic Solutions for relationship entanglements
are found and tested during relationship diagnosis and systemic matrix
evaluation. Each systemic symptom can be cross-referenced to trauma
diagnosis and goal diagnosis, and a changework plan made for their long-term
We can provide prompt relief and lasting benefit for people
who want healthy relationships. We provide insights into the life
path of individuals
and to the survival of organizations. These insights provide and integrate
a profound sense of justice and dignity, kindness and compassion, humility
Copyright © 2001-2017 by Martyn
Carruthers. All rights reserved.