Martyn Carruthers developed
Soulwork systemic coaching as a
synthesis of success coaching,
strategic planning and relationship counseling.
Soulwork history began in the late 1980's ...
The origins of Soulwork are a little chaotic and it is tempting
to deduce that Martyn Carruthers himself is a little chaotic.
Perhaps that was needed. As Martyn said, "if
I had known what I was doing, it wouldn't have been research, and if I had
known where I was going - I wouldn't have gone there".
Martyn was born and grew up in Wales, UK.
Following high school he trained at Haslar Naval Hospital as a paramedic, and was
educated at the Royal Naval Medical School in Health Physics. He served
on nuclear submarines in the British navy and later provided emergency and
environmental support for nuclear power
stations. He then worked for the Canadian government as a Radiation Protection
Later he focused on people instead of equipment and
became an adult trainer. Amongst his interests was Polynesian anthropology, which
became a useful, albeit unusual, source of material. He lived and studied with
native Hawaiian healers, gaining insights and models different to those used in
Western medicine and psychology.
He studied accelerated learning
and the effects of beliefs, emotions and relationships on the ability to learn.
Martyn worked with Annegret Hallanzy, a family therapist in Germany, for six
months - together
they explored ways to recognize and manage the etiology of self-sabotage and its unpleasant consequences (see
Interview with Martyn.)
Martyn and Annegret found that most motivated, responsible adults can
use stable resourceful experiences as a basis for making life decisions.
As some people called these experiences Soul, Martyn called this
phase Soul-Work and named the methodology Soulwork Systemic Coaching.
Annegret called these states Visions and developed VoVa
(short for Visionorientiert Veränderungarbeit).
Annegret and Martyn taught together in Europe, where they
further developed these models. Martyn later adapted these models
for online counseling, to help people resolve couple, family and team
relationship challenges. Here is his first presentation of his work - at a
University Forum on
Human Consciousness in England
The basic format or sequence seems simple:
Clarity > Integrity >
Freedom > Motivation > Inspiration > Success
Some of the theories that Martyn incorporated into Soulwork were derived from:
- Goal definition (George Miller)
- Evolution of values (Clare Graves)
- Cybernetic theory of mind (Gregory Bateson)
- Social-cognitive theory of learning (Albert Bandura)
- Systemic family constellations (Bert Hellinger et al)
- Traditional Hawaiian healing (native Hawaiian teachers)
- Independent ego-states (parts) (Virginia Satir & Milton
- Sensory representations of subjective experience
Martyn's Soulwork represents a desire for cooperation,
not represent any new age, old age, religious or
Papa Henry Auwae was kahuna nui la'au lapa'au
(most expert healer) on Hawaii. Martyn often quotes him, e.g.
"What's the point of healing
a disease if a person doesn't learn from the disease?"
and "Your health reflects your relationships!"
Papa Henry dedicated
most of his life to healing - Martyn calls him the Godfather
of Soulwork. Papa Henry's philosophy is reflected throughout our coaching,
particularly in ho'oponopono
(healing relationships, see Systems 1), ho'omoe
(dream-work) and ele'ele eke (changing relationship bonds -
See Hawaiian Shamanism.
Dr Gregory Bateson was an anthropologist who studied
schizophrenia. He applied cybernetic and systems theory to his work (see Steps to an
Ecology of Mind). Bateson's description of logical types provided a useful hierarchy of abstraction that
includes beliefs, values and identity.
As relationships have a higher level of abstraction than individual
identity in Bateson's hierarchy, and hence more influence, we coach people
to ground and stabilize their changes in their
relationships. We often follow individual coaching with relationship
counseling, particularly for couples, families and teams. (This
helps prevent partners, families and teams un-installing people's desired changes.)
Dr. Milton Erickson was an American psychiatrist who redefined
medical hypnosis (which had been ridiculed by Dr Sigmund Freud). Although
crippled by poliomyelitis, Milton Erickson became expert in non-verbal
communication, constructive provocation and creating healing
metaphors. (See Uncommon Therapy by Jay Haley.) Martyn uses and
teaches these skills throughout his work, particularly in his interactive
isomorphic metaphors or Dreamwork (Systems 3) and in provocative
coaching and therapy (Systems 5).
Dr. Victor Frankl was a German psychiatrist known for developing Logotherapy
- an existential psychotherapy - inspired during his imprisonment in Nazi
concentration camps during World War II. Much of his philosophy is reflected
in our coaching and training, particularly in assisting people to search
for meaning as a basis for change.
Martyn met him in Hanover - Dr Frankl's philosophy is reflected in Martyn's provocative
coaching (Systems 5) and
in ways to stabilize the experience of integrity (Systems 3).
Dr Clare Graves was a post-doctoral student of Abraham Maslow.
Dr Graves described "values" as a basis of human evolution and
created a useful model of societal evolution that predicts the behavior of
individuals, groups and organizations. Dr Graves work is integrated into
Soulwork, particularly into goal coaching, mentorship
and team coaching. For more on
Graves' work, click HERE.
Annegret Hallanzy (nee Annegret Meyer) lives in Bavaria, where she
created a synthesis of NLP with therapy - Vision Oriented Changework or VoVa.
Annegret's work inspired our goalwork coaching (Systems 2) and couple coaching
(Systems 8 - see also
Relationship Bonds). Annegret wrote about her synthesis in Ekologie NLP Redefiniert
(NLP Ecology Redefined) in which she evaluates the
ecology and consequences of many NLP strategies and techniques. Here is an
English excerpt from her book
Another German therapist, Bert Hellinger examined spatial positions
of relatives in people's subjective awareness. Hellinger's books on family
constellations describe the effects of family actions on a family members.
Martyn accepted Hellinger's concepts about relationship responsibilities
and enmeshments (included in
Systems 1) but not his techniques. Martyn's
relationship models from Hawaii have a different systemic structure.
Aunty Mona Kahele was a native Hawaiian kupuna (elder) skilled
in ho'oponopono (Hawaiian family therapy) and la'au lapa'au
(Hawaiian herbal medicine) which she was taught by her kahuna grandfather.
She lived near Kealakekua, where, she helped many people manage relationship and
emotional problems. Aunty Mona gave Martyn over 50 years of her handwritten
notes on healing body, mind and spirit and inspired him to translate the
healing rituals of ho'omoe and
into more usable formats for the West.
For more on old Hawaiian mystical traditions, click
John Kaimikaua was a native Hawaiian expert on Hawaiian traditions.
Uncle John lived on Molokai - traditionally known as the Island of
Sorcerers - where he was taught by a mysterious kahuna lady. Martyn's
studies with Uncle John prompted his research into the
clarification of enmeshed relationships with dependent, aggressive or deceased
family members (see Systems 6)
and taboo relationship bonds generally
(see Systems 5).
For more about Uncle John, click
Ronald D Laing (MD) described mental diseases as social imbalances,
rather than biochemical imbalances, and argued that mental disease symptoms
make sense in their family contexts. (See his book: The Divided Self). He wrote about
communication in dysfunctional families and described the effects of family
behavior on the member's perceptions of reality.
Martyn incorporated some of Dr Laing's philosophy about family politics and
disease (Systems 1); family meta-rules
and Dr Laing's perception that insanity is a sane reaction to insane
situations. Dr Laing wrote "Family patterns are not
laid out in front of us like the stars in the sky" (Massey Lectures II,
1969) - although Martyn's systemic diagnosis does exactly this!
Aunty Margaret Machado,
a native Hawaiian healer, famous for
her expert knowledge of lomilomi (massage) and la'au lapa'au
(herbal medicine) lived in Kealakekua on Hawaii's Big Island where she was
trained by her kahuna (expert) grandfather. Her teaching inspired
the "Soul to Soul" relationships which are central to our coaching.
Martyn lived for a time with Aunty Margaret and her family while
studying lomilomi with her in Hawaii. (Margaret's daughter Nerita
Machado continues her mother's tradition).
Dr. Murray Bowen
Dr. Murray Bowen developed a theory of human
functioning based upon studies of the natural sciences and his research.
Called a family systems theory, Bowen theory is a natural systems
theory distinct from general systems theory, psychiatry,
medicine, psychology or group theories in sociology and sociobiology.
Bowen Theory helps predict interactions of systemic variables
in human families that affect individual maturity and family health.
See Systemic Change
Professional Conversations: Coaching, Counseling & Therapy
The term coach arose at Oxford University
as slang for tutors who carried students.
Coaching was influenced by and used in sport, personal development, adult
education and leadership skills.
Since the 1990's, a number of
coaching associations seem to be striving for dominance. See
Philosophy of Coaching.
Although the conversations called coaching, consulting,
counseling, psychotherapy and psychiatry overlap considerably, the word
coaching better describes our work than counseling, etc. We are
probably more eclectic than most psychologists or psychiatrists, who may be
limited by the models of consciousness taught at universities
and by the literature.
The following table
compares these helping styles.
||Provide mental homeostasis
||Overcome with authority
||Use to increase authority
||Family of origin
||Reality of life demands
||Cope with life problems
||Avoid & minimize
||Solve business problems
||Training & Business Experience
||Success in personal goals
||Dissociate & ignore
||Systems Training & Expert
NLP is known for hypnotic communication, influence skills and modeling.
Martyn was independently certified as a NLP trainer by four NLP training institutes, and
he taught NLP until he investigated the long-term consequences of NLP.
He adapted from NLP some concepts of non-verbal communication (taught in
Systems 2), notions about timelines and
re-imprinting (taught in Systems 6)
and modeling subjective behavior. He most often honors the contributions
of Steve and Connirae Andreas, Robert Dilts and Dr Wyatt Woodsmall.
of Huna, Soulwork and NLP & Meta Model)
Systems theory was first proposed in the 1940's by Ludwig von Bertalanffy,
who noted that the only systems can evolve are those that interact with their
environments. This focuses on relationships between parts or members of
complex systems and subsystems - and how these relationships shape a
system's behavior and survival.
Human systems appear to develop a conscience which demands balance
and justice. Martyn's systemic work can reveal how disease,
conflicts and mental health problems originate in relationship problems and can
be solved with relationship coaching ... even enmeshments with missing or dead people.
Systems can stabilize or destabilize themselves by exchanges with other
systems or with their environment, as the systems develop or
transition to more complex configurations. Hence self-organizing systems can
increase or decrease their survival potential. Models from
systems theory are integrated throughout our systemic coaching
and training. See Systems Theory
and Chaos Theory.
Phineas Quimby was the most well-known American mental healer
in the late 1800's, and was credited with healing 15000 people. Quimby's manuscripts
about his science of healing were the basis for the New
Thought movement, which was later promoted as Positive Thinking.
Quimby's science of healing opposed religion, education and medicine, which
Quimby perceived as sources of toxic beliefs. Martyn integrated Quimby's work
on beliefs into Systems 5 (see
Model of a Healer).
(In 1863, Quimby's patient, Mary Patterson, whom Quimby
had healed of spinal cancer, borrowed Quimby's manuscripts and
taught his material as her own. She later remarried twice to become
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded her Church of Christian Science
based on Quimby's work).
Virginia Satir provided models of family constellations, in which
she emphasized the use of humor and paradox. Her assumptions about functional,
fragmented identity parts encompassed both conscious and unconscious processes.
You will find reflections of her love of humor and paradox throughout our
coaching and training. Martyn teaches applications of her work with families in
Czech it Out
Czech Republic was once Bohemia and later the west side of
Czechoslovakia. Martyn often taught in Prague where he worked with
(internet "wizard"), Daniel Martin
(medical doctor) and Pavla Francová - a blind artist who thinks in colors. Ana
Pejcinova, a lovely lady from Macedonia, also offered her wit and wisdom. (If
you visit Czech Republic, ensure that you visit Český Krumlov).
Martyn visited Poland to teach NLP with
a family therapist, and later to share his research into
shamanic healing. He cooperated with some wonderful people during this synthesis period
especially Maryla Biernacik
(organizer), Ewa Foley (trainer),
(artist), Edward Rodziewicz (engineer) and
Krzysztof Banasik (businessman).
Croatia is famous for its beautiful islands, national parks and friendly
Martyn's Croatian friends helped him integrate the pieces of Soulwork
during the early years, especially Kosjenka Muk (trainer / therapist), Zrinka Buljan (medical doctor),
Nenad Maljkovic (business coach), Mara Doljak (therapist / trainer),
(trainer / musician), Radojka Ligotić
(child psychologist), and Krešo Homan (psychotherapist)).
Their integrity, insights and encouragement continue to provide
Online Life Coaching,
Relationship Counseling &