We offer coaching, seminars and training on systemic coaching,
healthy relationships and resolving relationship problems.
Our Systemic Training
People studying our systemic relationship coaching and counseling must exercise
many communication skills. Most motivated adults are
suitable exercise partners who will enjoy the experience. And some
people are unsuitable - practicing coaching with unsuitable
people may create problems.
We help our students identify appropriate and inappropriate exercise
partners, which also provides guidance for later selecting
Each of our courses includes homework and between-session
assignments, together with specific warnings about what
types of people to exercise with and common problems to avoid.
I encourage our students to only exercise with physically
healthy people who appear to have happy relationships. These people
will probably enjoy the exercises, have fun learning communication skills and use the information about their
Make a game of choosing names for the duration of the exercise,
and choose unusual or funny contexts. Keep exercises light-hearted!
For example, an exercise scenario for practicing "dissolving
nonverbal objections" might be “Dirk the Turk is criticizing
Zeke the Greek that the fish he is selling is not so fresh”.
Mark out a physical exercise space as “separate” from everyday
relationships – “Here is our friendship and there is our exercise space!
Here we are friends and there we will be exercise partners. Here we are who
we are, and there we will be (for example) “Adam and Eve”.
As useful and as fun as our exercises are, some people may be too
unstable to be exercise partners. As a general rule - if you're not sure
a person is stable - don't exercise with him or her! (The same conditions
apply to you - which is why we filter people who request our training -
and one reason why our students learn so much material in such short times!)
If you want to coach children - become a GREAT story-teller! You cannot
practice story-telling too much! Let children remind you how to play! Build a
repertoire of fun games! Then children will probably LOVE their time with you.
the other side, children before adolescence can rarely make independent
decisions, and can rarely consider abstract questions such as “What makes
sense in life?” Also, our coaching may bring family situations to
conscious awareness, and children may be unable to cope with this knowledge.
(We also suggest that a parent be with you and the child at all
times. A bit paranoid maybe, but this might avoid some horribly
2. Childlike Adults
Adults who behave like children make poor exercise partners. If
they are responsible and motivated to change - great - explain that
these exercises may provide some small assistance. Some adult children
play victim-games which involve telling depressing stories
and pleading for help.
An “exercise” may become a
series of repeated instructions ("OK - I'll explain it again
..."), or a series of requests for help ("Please help
me because I can't cope ..."). Practice noticing the nonverbal
signals of age-regression! Most people show some childish signals while
under stress, although adult children may live age-regressed,
frustrated and unfulfilled lives.
3. People in Crisis
People in crisis may be preoccupied and unable to function as exercise
partners. Examples of a crisis are a real or threatened loss of income;
threatened marital separation or a serious illness in the family. Even
"I need to go to the toilet but I'm too shy to tell you"
can disrupt a class. Become expert at noticing and responding to nonverbal
signals of stress, age-regression and confusion.
4. People with Medical Conditions
People with a disease that affects their minds may be unable to
function as exercise partners. Examples are fevers, infectious diseases,
disabling diseases, degenerative diseases, senile dementia or the
stress of having been diagnosed with a serious illness. Responsible people
with minor somatic diseases may enjoy exploring the underlying benefits of
5. People who Threaten Violence
People who threaten violence to others, to you or to self are
inappropriate as exercise partners. They may become overly involved
with the role playing and use it as a way to express strong emotions.
Recommend that aggressive, anxious or depressed people seek medical or
6. People with Mental Health Problems
People who seem lost or out of touch, or who suffer
from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease etc, or who are
diagnosed with mental health problems, are inappropriate exercise partners.
They may identify with the role playing and forget that it is a game! Maybe
ask them to "just watch" or to seek medical or psychiatric assessment.
7. People who take Psychoactive Drugs
A person taking psychoactive drugs (prescription or otherwise)
may be unable to function as an exercise partner. This includes
alcohol - one beer can be too much! They may forget their roles,
fool around and generally waste time. (If a person asks you
whether to continue taking prescription drugs - unless your
name begins with Doctor ... refer the person to a physician.)
Most People are Healthy!
Most healthy people enjoy participating in our exercises.
Most healthy people can learn or improve some important skills
while learning about themselves and their relationships.
Most healthy people can offer appropriate and useful feedback.
You will encounter difficult clients, and it is easier to
work with them if you have already encountered similar problems during
exercise weekends and practice sessions. After you have practiced all
the basic systemic skills, play my "Client from Hell"
game! Play it a lot!
Developing skills in systemic coaching requires practice, practice
and more practice! One result is your increased flexibility. Another is
your experience with a wide range of people from a wide range of backgrounds.
You will also benefit from the feedback about your abilities and attitude.
For us, the goals of a coaching practice is to develop excellence
in yourself and to helping other people reach their goals. We coach
coaches to coach ... superbly.
Contact us to resolve negative emotions and
Online Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Therapy
I thought you were just
another therapist - but you were not just. Not even. Not only.
Plagiarism is theft. © Martin Carruthers 1999-2017
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