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Solutions for Complex Conflict - Page 4
Ending Confusion Martyn Carruthers 2002 Soulwork Croatia / Hrvatska

Transcript recorded and transcribed by Ana Pejcinova, PhD


Online Systemic Coaching, Counseling & Therapy

This transcript was recorded during a seminar in Poland by Martyn Carruthers about helping people resolve deep conflict . A portion of this transcript was cut and posted at
How children create complex conflict.

People suffering obsessions or compulsions often find a predictable structure of underlying conflicts ... a sense of cognitive dissonance and unaligned emotions. Here is an example of coaching a person to explore a deep conflict.

Jan is a businessman about 45 years old.
He and Martyn agreed to explore a conflict about Jan's smoking habit.

Page 1  Page 2  Page 3  ...  Page 5

Conflict Resolution Transcript Part 4

Part 5 becomes Conscious

Now we can explore the second level of integration and, who knows, maybe we will find a fifth part that is not yet conscious. A fifth part would become conscious by objecting to parts 3 and 4 cooperating. The first conflict was about smoking versus not smoking, and the second conflict looks like outer joy versus inner joy. Lets go back to Jan [turns to Jan and observes him for a second].

[To Jan] Jan, can you imagine again that you can see the white birch and the clown working together, so that you can have harmony and joy simultaneously in your life. Of course, there is this side of you that says, "Hey, there can be harmony and joy inside too, and not only in the world." Jan, imagine what would happen if you find harmony and joy inside and outside simultaneously. Imagine you can live life with internal harmony and joy and external harmony and joy. What would that be like?

Jan: It looks like my main life goal.

Martyn: [To class] This conflict may lead to "What is the meaning of my life?" I said earlier that a conscious conflict is rarely so important: for example "Do I smoke - or do I not smoke?" is a detail compared to "What is my main life goal?"

[To Jan] What does this side want to tell you about the your main life goal?

Jan: That it is important to live life in balance. Inside and outside balance [part 5].

Martyn: I wonder what the birch and the clown working together would say about the part of you that wants inside and outside balance simultaneously?

Jan: The birch says "There is health inside harmony", and the clown adds, "And joy!"

Martyn: Imagine you can live your life with harmony and joy inside, and with harmony and joy in the outside world. Fantastic! Perhaps you begin to realize what your purpose in life is: to live life, harmoniously and joyfully inside and outside. Nothing else is so important. Wonderful - yes?

Part 6 becomes Conscious

[At first, Jan shows signs of exaltation, then surprise, then doubt, after a few moments his posture drops; and then he shows an expression as if of a sudden realization.]

Martyn: Bonnng! Looks like part 6 is showing its head! [laughter in class] Something important may still be missing. What do you think, Jan? Is something still missing?

[Jan closes his eyes and his face muscles become flaccid]

Chronic Conflict Explained

[Martyn to class] The relationship dynamics underlying chronic conflict usually fit into my family maps that I taught earlier. When we help people manage the first level of conflict, a client often says something like, "Everything that I've ever wanted is possible now!" while signaling "No!" non-verbally. You can manage these and similar objections using the Yes/No and Yes, but skills that we taught earlier in this course.

Jan started with a conscious conflict, then found unconscious conflicts. Often, the conscious parts are like voices: one may urge, "Smoke! Yes! Smoke!" and the other, "Don't smoke! No! Don't smoke!" Imagine how it would be to make decisions from in-between two loud inner voices.

Student: I can think of many people who live their lives like that.

Martyn: I'd guess between 15% of Europeans and maybe 20% of North Americans, based on my clients, workshops and talks, although perhaps my work attracts people in conflict.

Link: Martyn explains Complex Conflict

[Martyn watches Jan as he talks. After a few minutes, Jan makes some small movements and opens his eyes; Martyn immediately turns to Jan.]

Martyn: Anyway, that's too much theory; right Jan? Can I check if any of this makes sense?

[To Jan] Hej Jan, dzien dobry - jak sie masz? [Hi Jan, good day - how are you?] Remember the clown on your right. The clown (part 1) said that smoking will give you more fun and joy in life. And on your left was the beautiful white birch (part 2) which may represent your peaceful health. And if the clown and the white birch are together in front of you, you experience cooperation with the outside world (part 3). That looks great: you can express joyous motivation and peaceful beauty during life. And on your right was a Chinese scroll (part 4) that seemed to say, "No! It is more important that you experience cooperation inside."

Perhaps you can say, "Thank you" to the Chinese scroll. And feel the conflict between the Chinese scroll and the cooperation between the clown and the white birch. And imagine, Jan, the possibility to have cooperation inside and cooperation outside at the same moment. Imagine that you can live your life with full cooperation inside, and with peace and fun in the outside world. What would it be like, if you can enjoy both of those simultaneously?

Jan: I feel a strong inner need to find such life.

Martyn: Imagine that you can see future Jan who can enjoy full internal peace, while cooperating with the outside world. What might you call a state when you have full cooperation inside and full cooperation outside?

Jan: I don't know why, but I see the symbol of a cross in front of me.

Martyn: Great, look at that symbol of the cross in front of you, perhaps it represents Christianity - perhaps a symbol of two parts working together - perhaps peaceful fun in life and inner cooperation - perhaps something more spiritual - perhaps some or all of these. What name would you give to this cross [part 5] that may somehow represent the integration of the second level of conflict.

Jan: Harmony!

Martyn: Consider living life with harmony, with full inside harmony and full outside harmony. Maybe that would be perfect! Maybe nothing else is wanted or needed. Maybe that would be the end of the path, there would be nothing else to do.

Jan: [hesitates] I ... need to contact others as well ... I need to see my harmony in a context.

Martyn: Good. And enjoy feeling your need to contact others. A part of you wants to live in full harmony, and perhaps another part of you says, "Something important is still missing!" What is this part like - that wants you to contact others?

Jan: Like a sunflower. [Part 6]

Martyn: Look at the sunflower that represents contact with others, and also at the cross, which represents harmony inside and outside. And when you consider contact with people, who is the most important person to be in contact with?

Jan: With my mother.

Martyn: And look at that sunflower with the idea of full contact with your mother, and with other people. With the cross you may find harmony, inside and outside. Consider the possibility of living your life with full harmony inside and outside, and with full contact with people, especially with your mother. How would it be for you to experience both of these together in the same moment?

Jan: Great.

Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  ...  Part 5

To readers: thank you for reading this far. Your attention is a real compliment.
Please email us some of your experiences and contact us to resolve conflicts.

Online Systemic Coaching, Counseling & Therapy

Plagiarism is theft Martyn Carruthers 2002-2017 All rights reserved. Transcribed by Dr Ana Pejcinova


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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 1996-2017 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 europecoach@gmail.com