Our individual coaching manages negative emotions that block individual
success. Our systemic coaching solves relationship problems. We increase the adaptability
and survival potential of relationships by embedding individual
coaching within systemic coaching.
Systemic psychology rarely has clear boundaries. Everything seems dependent
on everything else. Every detail reflects other details in a complex hall of
mirrors. Often in human systems, effects precede causes,
and causes may be as deeply embedded as Russian dolls.
Deciding what really happened or what is true
often involves siding with one member of a human system against another. We
often accept multiple possibilities without believing that any are true.
(Consider couple, family and team coaching, where you often hear at least
two very different descriptions of what happened.)
Reversed Cause & Effect in Human Relationships
"I left him before he could leave me."
"We hurt each other because we love each other."
"She left me for another man ... who she had never met."
"I didn't tell you that I wasn't coming for my session in case
you felt bad."
Systemic Solutions & Murray Bowen
We train people to recognize human systemic dynamics and
to coach people to change aspects of a relationship system that seem unhealthy.
If one member of a relationship system can recognize and avoid dysfunctional
patterns, other members of that system can also move towards health. We honor
the work of Murray Bowen, an American family therapist, and our methodology
Murray Bowen developed a natural systems theory about the interaction
of variables in human families. As systemic variables can produce predictable
individual behavior; physical and emotional symptoms can often be
predicted. Biology and behavior seem to be influenced by the same variables,
which can produce both chronic disease and long-term love.
We often apply Murray Bowen's systemic theories when we work
with couples, families, teams and communities.
Checklist for Change with Systemic Solutions
If we tried to fix relationships or relationship
systems, we would likely:
- waste time trying to analyze system members
- build resistance (to our arrogance and interference)
- be irritated if system members don't appreciate our
- avoid clarity about our own motivations, prejudices
If we explore, observe or witness systems
effectively, we can:
- explore the who, what, when, where, and how
- observe and relate to members in all parts of the
- investigate system traumas, myths, abuses, patterns,
rules & bonds
- note incongruence between identity, values, beliefs,
behavior and environment
- temporarily join the human system, and change
the system by changing our behavior
Remember to also observe your own myths, beliefs, prejudices
and rules! You can decide which of your own behaviors support your work
- which you want to continue and which you want to change.
If we spend time with system members in their
usual environment, we may become stuck in their communication habits and
behavior patterns. When we meet group or team members alone, we are less
likely to get stuck - but we are less likely to observe their habits and
patterns. We sometimes contact members alone and sometimes in groups.
- We can develop personal relationships with system members
- We find that cut-off members in extended systems are important,
and worth getting to know.
- We contact peripheral members first, to gather information and
gain overall perspectives, before we contact authorities,
especially if our study includes long-term cut-off or missing members.
Cut-off members are often people who broke the system's rules.
These people can give you important feedback about the overall system.
(Note: you may upset a group if you contact cut-off members.)
Communication & Emotions
How people communicate will trigger your emotional responses. If your
emotional intensity seems out of proportion to the triggers,
then we can identify the underlying causes and find appropriate
solutions with systemic diagnosis.
- We check if we
are observing dysfunctional habits and patterns
- If we predict
the response we expect, we may diffuse some emotional
- We strive to communicate our thoughts and feelings
in a skilful and helpful ways.
- We strive to initiate both the beginnings and endings of
talks, phone calls and
Systemic Psychology & Soul-Work
When we take a position in a human system ...
- We find a balance between
observing abstract values and specific actions; between observing internal
process and external behavior; and between being serious and humorous.
- To remain emotionally poised:
If we find ourselves in relationship triangles (see
conflicts & triangulation):
- we avoid taking sides
- we avoid listening to criticism about absent people
- we arrange one-to-one meetings as well as group meetings
Withheld secrets and hidden agendas form boundaries
between secret keepers and naive members that can foster
and perpetuate cut-offs.
- We talk to people who have been cut off from the
- We talk to people who are important to
the senior members
- We talk to people with more or less authority than
Remain aware of our feelings ... anxiety,
sorrow and anger can warn that we may be getting
sucked into transferences or other systemic communication loops.
We may use anniversaries, lay-offs and
deaths to contact members.
We are aware of the systemic dynamics that follow the loss
of a member, and how members of a system compensate for missing
Coaching Human Systems
Contact us to manage negative emotions and solve relationship
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Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers
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