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This transcript was recorded during a seminar by Martyn
Carruthers in Poland on inner conflict. A portion of this was cut and posted as How children create conflict.
People with obsessions or compulsions often
describe a predictable structure of self-sabotage, conflicts,
cognitive dissonance and unassimilated emotions. Here Martyn
helps a man explore the structure of his conflict.
Transcript of Conflict Resolution
- This is one of Martyn's systemic strategies. Here Martyn helps a man
explore the structure of his ongoing conflict, and ways to resolve it.
- The demonstration subject, call him Jan, is Martyn's
student. He trusts Martyn and is familiar with Martyn's
systemic models - he does not need to fight them.
- The audience consisted of therapists, psychologists, counselors,
life coaches and NLP practitioners.
- Martyn often pauses demonstrations to give his subjects time
to ponder what they have discovered and to offer insights to the class.
- If you try to apply these steps with your own
conflicts, be careful and gentle. Give yourself time to ponder
whatever you find.
- If you follow this strategy with your own conflict
and you experience strong emotions, consider contacting us.
We help people to resolve self-sabotage and inner conflict
to find an inner peace.
- If you follow this strategy with your own conflict; note that Martyn
pays attention to non-verbal communications (unconscious body
language) of which few people are aware. Please
avoid making important decisions unless you feel sure
that your emotions are stable and that your decisions are mature.
- Solutions for complex conflicts include assimilating
the events and emotions in which the conflicts were created, and replacing
Jan is a businessman about 45 years old. He and
Martyn briefly discuss a major conflict (boom-bust cycles of success
and failure in his many businesses).
They decide it would not be appropriate
for a demonstration and they
agree to explore Jan's conflict about smoking cigarettes.
Conflict Resolution Transcript Part 1
Martyn: [To class] I ask that you all remain silent. I will ask
Jan some goal questions and explore what he hopes to achieve. Jan and I
briefly discussed his general situation, and I suspect a complex conflict.
Normally I would start by saying something like; [To Jan] Hello Jan, it is an
interesting day today, the weather is changing, and maybe you can change too.
Thank you for volunteering. What would be wonderful for you to achieve or to
Jan: I have an issue with smoking: [leans forward, uses his right
hand to point right and then left in front of him] one part of me wants to
smoke, and another does not want to, absolutely not [coughs].
Martyn: [To class] Note that Jan did not state a goal. Few people in
conflict can congruently say what they want. What did you notice about
Jan's movements? Jan says that part of him wants to smoke,
and part of him wants to quit smoking. Addictions and habits
typically involve identity loss.
Notice Jan's physiology when he considers this.
[To Jan] Tell us again, Jan! Which is which?
Jan: [repeats body movements]: Smoking [points
to right front]. Not smoking [points to left front].
Martyn: [To class] Imagine that you can hallucinate the space around Jan,
imagine that you can almost see his two motivations, one on each side in
front of him. Let's explore this.
[To Jan] By the way Jan, where would your father appear, when you
want to smoke? [This refers to the earlier topic of
relationship diagnosis and Jan understands that Martyn is asking for
his subjective experience. Jan gazes right and then points
to his right side]
Martyn: And mother?
[Jan gazes left and then points to his left side]
Martyn: [To class] Jan's answers indicate that his conflict about
smoking might be parent related. Do you remember my family map positions?
Jan gestures to the left about "Stop smoking" and to his
right about "Smoking". So perhaps it's a parental conflict
that Jan has carried into his own life. But that's just a guess and as this is
not Soul-guesswork ... let's explore ...
[To Jan] Did your parents smoke?
Jan: Mother never smoked.
Martyn: And father?
Jan: [looks surprised] All his life!
Martyn: Thanks Jan. [To class] Do you see how inner
conflicts can reflect family dynamics? Jan may have a deeper
conflict, something like: "Do I follow my father and annoy my
mother, or do I please my mother and irritate my father?"
Can you perceive a relationship aspect of his smoking conflict?
[To Jan] Do you really want to quit smoking?
Jan: [opens eyes wide, looks around, at the
floor, to the left, to the right, lifts his left hand slightly and
opens his mouth but says nothing and looks at Martyn. Laughter
Martyn: [To class] Remember that moment -
that's what conflict physiology looks like!
Jan: As I said, one part of me wants to,
another part of me doesn't. I want to.
Martyn: To stop, or to smoke?
Jan: [louder voice] To stop!
Martyn: Can you imagine a future Jan in a smoke-free zone?
Jan: [his voice becomes high-pitched - like choking] I can.
Martyn: Really? Where?
Jan: He's in a fog.
Martyn: How far away is future Jan's fog?
Jan: Not far! Two steps.
Martyn: What would be on your first step, do you think?
Jan: [Gazes about one meter in front of him]
Making the decision ...
Martyn: And the first step is here? [Points about one meter in front of
Martyn: And the second step?
Jan: There [points about two 2 meters in front]
Martyn: Excellent. What might be on the second step?
Martyn: Great. And if the first step is here [points one meter in
front of Jan], maybe that's where you make a decision. That seems like
quite a big elephant, so let's check. [Martyn often uses an
elephant metaphor, "How do you swallow an elephant?"] Can
you make this decision easily, or ... ?"
Jan: Not so easy.
Martyn: Maybe there are little steps before you make a decision? What
do you think would be the first step toward making a decision?
Jan: On the first step [left foot jerks] I need more motivation
[gestures with right hand].
Martyn: Thanks Jan [To class] Did you notice Jan's body when he talked about
finding more motivation? First he moved his left foot - that's the side that
doesn't want to smoke. And then he moved his right hand and said, "I need
more motivation" and that's the side that wants to smoke ...
I'm saying what I see Jan do, for you people who are too busy writing
notes to ... please watch Jan carefully.
[To Jan] Where could you find more motivation? Do you need to see
somebody die of lung cancer? Maybe something else?
Jan: [sighs, lowers voice tone] Exercises.
Martyn: What exercises would you like to do instead of smoking?
Jan: [left foot jerks as right side relaxes, then overall
posture drops] Tai Chi.
Martyn: Thanks [To class] Look at Jan's physiology! Do his left
side and the right side give the same message? The right side
seems to show "Let's stay on this chair," while the
left side may show "Come on, let's go!" When does
Jan's motivation drop?
[To Jan] How do you feel when you smoke, Jan?
Jan: Physically not very well, and mentally not good too,
if I'm with someone who doesn't smoke.
Martyn: So when you smoke you do not feel good. How do
you feel when you don't smoke?
Jan: When I smoke, I start to control myself, that for other people
it may not be alright, they give me negative feedback, so I control myself
[Such bipolar sentences are common during conversations with people with complex conflict.]
Martyn: Of course ... what happens when you stop smoking?
Jan: I'm more relaxed.
Continued at Transcript
Conflict Page 2
Online Life Coaching, Counseling & Systemic Therapy
Plagiarism is theft © Martyn Carruthers 2002-2017
All rights reserved. Transcribed by Dr Ana Pejcinova