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Systems 9: Systemic Solutions for Families
Enjoy Happier Families © Martyn Carruthers

Online Life Coaching for People who want Results

Do you want to change your family patterns and enjoy healthy relationships?

Where are you now?

Do you want to solve family conflicts and quarrels? To do this, you will need mature communication training, good relationship diagnosis skills - and individual, couple and family coaching experience - or a good helping professional.

Individual coaching can prepare you for the more complex couple counseling - and coaching couples is good preparation for the more demanding family therapy.

Systemic Family Therapy - Flowchart . More on Family Coaching

Systemic Psychology & Families

What is a family system? One definition is an entity of semi-independent people who maintain equilibrium by predictable actions. A sick child, for example, may hold a family together; the family may avoid further conflict until the child's health improves.

Family arguments can seriously damage children’s mental health later in life. If arguments are frequent as children are growing, there is a dramatic risk that they will suffer mental health problems in their 30s.
A team of psychiatrists and sociologists followed 346 boys and girls from similar socio-economic backgrounds in New England, starting from age 5. At age 15, about half reported that the number of arguments with their parents and between their parents had increased, and 15 years later these people were more than three times as likely as the others to suffer from major depression, or indulge in drug or alcohol abuse.
They were three times as likely to engage in antisocial behaviour, and more than twice as likely to be unemployed.
(Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry , DOI: 10.1097/chi.0b013e3181948fdd).

We help families solve whatever stops them solving their own problems. We help partners manage partnership issues. If children are deeply troubled, individual coaching for them or for their parents may not manage whole-family dynamics.

Systemic Diagnosis . Emotional Incest . Family Coaching

Cultural Differences?

In many cultures, there is little equal communication between parents and children. Parents tell children, even adult children, what to do, and it's hard for children to assert their independence. Few parents care why their children don't do as they are told.

My father told me to get married. It could be to anyone.
Even if I divorce later. He loses face if he has an unmarried daughter.

Mother - Son Bonds . Father - Daughter Bonds . Sexual Affairs

In the West, we usually meet each parent first - alone - for individual sessions. Sometimes this is enough for a whole family to change. If a parent ceases to act like a victim or a victimizer - everybody else will change their roles.

We then invite partners for couple counseling. Often, our systemic counseling is enough for partners to build a healthier family.

Family Changework: First Sessions

The family may be wary. They may have hidden agendas and they're wondering how much of their truths they're willing to share. Even if they perceive you as an expert - they may fear that you will expose something that they prefer to keep hidden.

And if they don't trust you - they may not show you their stuff. They may hide their, compulsions, relationship habits and transference loops - until they are confident that you can help them through any problem.

A good way to start is to describe your knowledge of their situation ... "First your mother phoned me and said that nobody is happy here. Then ... "

Family Coaching Flowchart . Parent Coaching . Parental Alienation

Wishes & Requirements

Distinguish between wishes and requirements. Wishes are what we hope for - but are not essential. Requirements are essential demands for a relationship to continue.

  1. Requirements are not negotiable.
  2. Requirements can be met or not. There is little room for doubt.
  3. Requirements have power; they are core to who you are and what you do.

Goals & Goalwork . Double Wishes

Questions for Family Discussions

Families are often most alive when they are solving family problems ... or fighting.

Consider the debt of children to their parents. We believe that children cannot repay their parents for their lives. Any debt owed to the parents can be collected by their own children, who hand it on to the next generation.

In a family, when you give more than you get, you are enriched. We encourage family members to discuss their needs ...

  • What are my needs? Are my needs fulfilled?
  • What can I do if my known needs are not fulfilled?
  • How do I communicate my needs? How else can I communicate?
  • What are my responsibilities? How do I know when I have fulfilled them?

If external problems are not exposed - you can volunteer to be a problem. You can provoke the family into discussing how they can best deal with you!

Provocation & Provocative Coaching

Entitlement Issues

A sense of entitlement may lead to children who are not motivated to learn, earn or delay gratification. It is becoming a core problem in Western countries.

Entitlement is a product of societies where wants are confused with needs and where people believe that they somehow deserve what other people have.

Consider the consequences. If you give in to every desire that your children express, you nurture a sense of entitlement which will likely lead to predictable problems when they are older.

You may want to give your children what you lacked as a child, or what the marketing proclaims is good for them. Be mindful of the consequences to your children. What will they expect when they are teenagers and adults? How will they react when the "world" is not as generous as you are?

We help parents say “No”, and to give their children what is good for the family.

Embedded Individual Coaching

During family coaching, some issues will be individual issues and others will be relationship issues. Both types of issues can be solved with the family watching, or privately, depending on the wishes of the family. Resolving the consequences of an ancestral suicide or an abortion, for example, may be whole-family issues, while coaching a couple to improve their relationship is more often private.

We also offer our couple counseling for resolving other relationship issues ... for example sibling-sibling or parent-child problems.

Individual Coaching Flowchart

Much of our family homework concerns family members observing, recognizing and dissolving transference loops and/or finding appropriate role models for certain tasks or for solving specific issues.

Contact us to manage emotions and solve relationship problems.

Online Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy

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

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers, 2005-2018
All rights reserved.

If you like our work, please link to us. If you know someone who might benefit,
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For online help, email us at:

Soulwork systemic coaching in America & Hawaii


Soulwork systemic coaching in England, Wales & Scotland

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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