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Systemic Coaching: Huna & NLP
Comparison of Soulwork & NLP © Martyn Carruthers

Online Life Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy

We provide online services and training on dissolving emotional problems,
resolving relationship issues and solving other blocks to happiness.

Soulwork Systemic Coaching

We coach people to evaluate and change habits, self-sabotage and life patterns, based on defining life-goals, resolving relationship problems and experiencing ongoing connectedness and integrity.

Some of the roots of Soulwork are in traditional Hawaiian healing, particularly the rituals known as ho'oponopono and ho'omanamana. We explored these rituals using expert modeling strategies, and compare and contrast the results with concepts from classical coaching and systemic family therapy.

NLP is often described as an epistemology for evaluating subjective experience. NLP skills are useful for recognizing and duplicating performance – referred to as modeling. (Most NLP change-work seems to be based on eliciting resources as a basis for reprogramming people’s unconscious strategies.)

Polynesian traditions include ho'oponopono (translation: making life right) a healing tradition used by many native Hawaiian healers. Ho'oponopono is based on evaluating and changing a person’s relationships - in accordance with the spirit (aumakua) of the family.

Soulwork through NLP Eyes

In NLP terms, our systemic coaching methodology operates at a logical level of Identity, with interactive reference to an experience of connectedness that we call integrity or Soul. Access to this experience appears to support lasting change at the level of identity.

We first coach people to manage any current crisis and then to manage guilt and co-dependent relationships. We then coach people to create a series of steps leading to important goals. These steps often transform into meta-positions of increasing abstraction to a fascinating experience of a stable resource state.

This coaching continues until a person can choose to simultaneously experience all partial personalities (often called parts), providing that the person is willing to take responsibility for his or her own life, and that the person has no major identity loss.

Our basic trust building originally utilized concepts from rapport skills. Our goalwork incorporated concepts of well-formed outcomes. The integration phase of our coaching redefined the NLP concept of ecology while echoing the Vision work of NLP trainer Robert Dilts. The relationship phase of our work included elements of the relationship work of Steve and Connirae Andreas. The trauma phase utilized highly modified versions of the emotion-dissociating timeline techniques claimed by many NLP trainers.

Soulwork through Hawaiian Eyes

In terms of Hawaiian Huna , we utilize the hidden structure of creation, called Kumulipo, which is mediated by the aumakua, or ancestral spirits. This work requires the blessing of the person's ohana or community-family and the blessing of the person's kupuna – elders. The interim goal is to help people align with their family lineage. This alignment is not possible if people have lost their 'uhane (spirit) or if someone else's 'uhane has displaced a person’s own spirit.

Hence our first step to health is usually kala (cleansing, forgiveness) leading to a conscious connection with aumakua  – using ho’omanamana (energy work) to access the wisdom of Kumulipo (universal creativity) to do ho’oponopono (change relationships). Next follows a re-evaluation of ele’ele eke (traumatic events – literally black bags) and a re-evaluation of all relationships.

Our Systemic Coaching

We offer a complete format for individual, couple and family coaching for motivated adults. This format encourages people to choose to live in such a way that accesses an experience of integration and connectedness (Soul) while defining and fulfilling life goals.

I (Martyn) first named this methodology Soul Centered Changework, and later Soulwork Systemic Coaching, because a person's deep experience of integration becomes the organizing center from which long-term changes can be made. Soul, here, is not an emotional state, nor a resource – but an experience of relationship qualities. (See Soul Centered Changework for more).

Why do people need coaching?

If a change-work agreement is made, our systemic coaching follows a general strategy:

  1. Resolve any current crisis
  2. Goal coaching (goalwork); integration and guilt
  3. Metaphors and Dreamwork (continue goal-work in trance)
  4. Trauma work - create resourceful internal references
  5. Relationship work - Re-evaluate relationship bonds
  6. Resolve identity loss: Lost Identity, Identifications and/or Identity Conflict
  7. Mentor work - Build internal trust and ongoing inspiration
  8. Couple coaching - Integrate changes into a person's partnership
  9. Family coaching - find family goals and build family co-operation

Goalwork compared to NLP “Well Formed Outcome”

Most NLP training includes ways to recognize well formed outcomes – usually based on Blanchard’s SMART acronym (goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timed.) However, very few people can answer a goal question such as “What do you want?” with a SMART goal.

Many people cannot complete a grammatical sentence beginning with “I want...” Instead, people give philosophical answers, or incomplete sentences, or conflicting goals, multiple goals, or negative goals, or abstract goals. All of these can be resolved ... see Strategic Goalwork.


You can communicate with both the conscious and unconscious mind simultaneously, and with parts of the unconscious (often 7 parts). If you have reason to, you can bypass the conscious mind to instruct various parts of the subconscious. We amplify this with interactive isomorphic metaphors, vocal shifts and non-verbal communication.

Identity Loss

Lost Identity, Identifications and Identity Conflict refer to phenomena not described by NLP (nor by most psychotherapies). Lost Identity refers to a person who has little sense of self. For this person, the word “I” has no real meaning. Identification refers to the replacement of self by another personality, and Identity Conflict refers to at least two dominant personalities that maintain a chronic conflict.

For example, if a mother-to-be has an abortion, another child may sense a guilty hole in the family system and, under stress, compensate for the missing person by trying to become the missing person. We call this dead person identification. (In many cultures this might be called spirit possession).

Changing Relationships

My article Thoughtforms was published in NLP World Volume 2, 1995. A thoughtform referred to the limiting influence of another person, typically described by a client as a visual metaphor. A person may say, "It's like a black chain around my legs" or "It's like a grey rock in my heart".

Working with relationship bonds is both delicate and dynamic. Relationship bonds interfere with thought and action. We help people maintain resourceful states and focus on the bond from integrity, protecting the person from their own limiting beliefs, while we guide people to replace those beliefs.

Abuse, Trauma & Emotions

At this stage, people can now access integrity or Soul (i.e. no identity blocks) without resource anchors (i.e.: no limiting influences from other people). Your clients can choose "Who influences me now?".

Although past abuse and traumatic events may still limit a person's choices, we find that dissociating negative emotions only allows temporary good feelings. Within 3-12 weeks, most dissociated emotions return, often stronger than before, as depressions of life, or as psychosomatic symptoms.

Instead of dissociation, we use systemic coaching to help people to manage the relationship problems that underlie the negative emotions that underlie most other problems and conflicts.

Coaching & Mentorship

We coach people to find appropriate mentors, and guide clients to accept and use mentors. We coach people to become internally and positively self-referenced. You can guide yourself with questions such as:

  1. Am I a role model for what I claim to offer?
  2. Would I want these methods to be used on me?
  3. What do my clients learn from their relationship with me?
  4. What do my clients learn about themselves during my sessions?

Online Life Coaching, NLP 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 2004-2018
All rights reserved.

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For online help, email us at:

Soulwork systemic coaching in America & Hawaii


Soulwork systemic coaching in England, Wales & Scotland

Soulwork systemic coaching in Croatia & Serbia

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