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Systemic Solutions: Origins & Inspiration

A Brief History of Soulwork Coach Training by Jan Sikorski

Soul Centered Changework & Soulwork Systemic Solutions integrate success coaching, strategic planning, brief psychotherapy, systemic family therapy and relationship management. Soulwork was founded by Martyn Carruthers over the period 1988 - 2005.

Martyn Carruthers served on nuclear submarines during the Cold War as a medical technician. He worked as a health physics officer at English and Canadian nuclear power stations, and for the Canadian government, liaising with hospitals, heavy industry and universities. Later he became a trainer of expert modeling, NLP and accelerated learning, teaching in Canada and Europe.

Martyn integrated accelerated learning, expert modeling, systems theory and success coaching to accelerate learning and improve performance. Following mentorship by native Hawaiian healers, Martyn integrated old Hawaiian ways into his work, to accelerate the healing of disease. He developed effective skills for diagnosing and resolving relationship entanglements and the diseases caused by toxic relationships in human systems. He produces a stream of transformational models that transcend older theories and ineffective techniques. [ Interview with Martyn Carruthers ]

Soulwork Systemic Solutions provides coaching and skills training that you can use to resolve couple, family, team and organizational relationship challenges. Soulwork Systemic Coaching provides health and relationship management skills for helping professionals and coaching systems. Here is the first presentation of Soulwork - presented to an English University Forum.

Soulwork Systemic Coaching has an overall sequence ...

Clarity Integrity Freedom Motivation Inspiration

Soulwork Systemic Coaching coaches motivated, responsible adults to access and stabilize an experience of profound integrity as a basis for designing their lives. As many people called this experience "Soul" - Martyn called this phase "Soul-Work" and the overall model Soul Centered Changework. His profound and innovative methodologies became Soulwork Systemic Coaching.


Soulwork Coaching represents a desire for cooperation. Soulwork does not represent any new age, old age, religious or political organization! We are non-prophet!

Sources of Soulwork Inspiration

Papa Henry Auwae

Papa Henry Auwae was kahuna la'au lapa'au (expert healer) who lived in Hilo, Hawaii. Martyn studied with him in Hawaii, and quotes him as saying "What is the point of healing a disease if the patient doesn't know why he has that disease?" and "Your body reflects your relationships!" Papa Henry dedicated his life to healing - and we think of him as "Grandfather of Soulwork". Papa Henry's philosophy is reflected throughout Soulwork, particularly in the area of healing relationships (ho'oponopono) (Soulwork 1) and changing relationship bonds (Soulwork 5). For more on Papa Henry - click HERE. Email us to request a copy of an interview with Papa Henry.

Bahá'í Faith

While Soulwork is a non-prophet organization, we recognize the world religions as the oldest relationship coaching organizations. We are particularly inspired by Bahai Faith rules for respecting and appreciating diversity and for personal, organizational and community responsibility. Bahai inspiration is most important in Mentorship and coaching systems: Couple Coaching, Team Coaching, Community Coaching and Global Citizenship. We cherish the Bahá'í goal of global unity.

Dr Gregory Bateson

Dr Gregory Bateson was an anthropologist who studied schizophrenia, and applied systems theory to his work (see Steps to an Ecology of Mind). His description of Logical Types (as taught in NLP as logical levels) define a hierarchy of abstraction that includes descriptions of human consciousness including beliefs, values and identity, with relationships as a higher abstraction than identity. Dr Bateson's concepts are integrated into Soulwork Systemic Solutions and are taught in Soulwork 3.

Dr. Milton Erickson

Dr. Milton Erickson was an American psychiatrist who redefined medical hypnosis (which had been made unpopular by Dr Sigmund Freud). Although crippled by poliomyelitis, Dr Erickson became expert in noticing and responding to non-verbal communication, constructive provocation and creating healing metaphors. (Read Uncommon Therapy by Jay Haley.) These skills are taught throughout Soulwork training, particularly in isomorphic and interactive metaphors (Soulwork 3) and in provocative coaching and therapy (Soulwork 5).

Dr. Viktor Frankl

Dr. Victor Frankl is known for developing Logotherapy - an existential psychotherapy - inspired during his imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. The philosophy he presented in Logotherapy is well reflected in Soulwork, particularly in assisting people to search for meaning and integrity as a basis for change. Dr Frankl's philosophy is reflected in the 16 types of provocative therapy (Soulwork 5) and in the ways to stabilize integrity (Soulwork 3).

Dr. Clare Graves

Dr Clare Graves was a post-doctoral student of Abraham Maslow. Dr Graves described "values" as a basis of human evolution and created a useful model of societal evolution that predicts the behavior of individuals, groups and organizations. (Read: Spiral Dynamics) Dr Graves work is integrated into Soulwork, particularly into goal coaching (Soulwork 2), mentorship (Soulwork 7) and organizational coaching (Soulwork 10). For articles about Graves work in Soulwork, click HERE.

Annegret Hallanzy

Annegret Hallanzy lives in Germany where she created a synthesis of NLP with psychotherapy -Vision Oriented Changework or VoVa. Annegret inspired Soulwork Goal Coaching (Soulwork 2) and Couple Coaching (Soulwork 8) See Relationship Bonds. Annegret wrote about her synthesis in Ekologie NLP Redefiniert (NLP Ecology Redefined) - which we recommend for NLP master practitioners. This book evaluates the ecology and consequences of many NLP techniques and introduces VoVa. Here is an excerpt from NLP Ecology Redefined.

Bert Hellinger

A German therapist, Bert Hellinger redefined brief psychotherapy by examining the responsibilities and spatial positions of relatives in a client's subjective awareness. Hellinger's books reveal the effects of family actions on a family member's perceptions of reality. We appreciate Hellinger's concepts on relationship entanglements (taught in Soulwork 1) and on how to recognize and dissolve personality identification (taught in Soulwork 4) as a basis for subsequent coaching of identity loss, relationship bonds and trauma.

Aunty Mona Kahele

Aunty Mona Kahele is a native Hawaiian kupuna (elder) skilled in ho'oponopono (family therapy) and la'au lapa'au (herbal medicine) which she was taught by her kahuna grandfather. She lives on Hawaii, where, she continues to help people resolve relationship and emotional problems. Martyn received from Aunty Mona over 50 years of her handwritten notes on healing body, mind and spirit. Aunty Mona inspires us to translate the healing ritual of ho'oponopono into an appropriate format for all people (Soulwork 1). Aunty Mona continues to mentor her ohana or community. For more on the cultural beauty of old Hawaii, click HERE.

Uncle John Kaimikaua

John Kaimikaua is a native Hawaiian expert on Hawaiian traditions, and is also a teacher of pule (chants) and hula (dance). John lives on Molokai - traditionally the "Island of Sorcerers" - where he was taught by a mysterious kahuna lady. Martyn studied with Uncle John in Hawaii. John Kaimikaua's teaching prompted research that resulted in the rapid re-evaluation of the consequences of relationships with passive, aggressive and deceased family members (taught in Soulwork 4) and relationship bonds generally (Soulwork 5). For more about Uncle John and his chants, click HERE.

Dr Ronald D Laing

RD Laing was director of British psychiatric clinics and on the board of many psychiatric journals. He perceived mental disease as a social problem, rather than a biochemical imbalance, and argued that mental diseases make sense in their family contexts. (Read: The Divided Self). He wrote about communication patterns in dysfunctional families - describing the effects of family actions on perceptions of reality. Martyn incorporated Dr Laing's philosophy about family politics and disease (Soulwork 1); family meta-rules (Soulwork 5) and Dr Laing's perception that "insanity is a sane reaction to insane situations". (Dr Laing also wrote "Family patterns are not laid out in front of us like the stars in the sky" (Massey Lectures II, 1969) - Soulwork Diagnosis shows how to do this!)

Aunty Margaret Machado

Aunty Margaret Machado is a native Hawaiian healer, famous for her knowledge of lomilomi (massage) and la'au lapa'au (herbal medicine). She lives on Hawaii's Big Island where she was trained by her kahuna (expert) grandfather. Her teaching inspired the "Soul to Soul" relationships found throughout Soulwork. Martyn lived with Aunty Margaret and her family while he studied with her in Hawaii. For more about Aunty Margaret Machado - click HERE.

Dr. Murray Bowen

Dr. Murray Bowen (1913-1990) developed a theory of human functioning based upon studies of the natural sciences and upon his own research. First called family systems theory, Bowen theory is a natural systems theory distinct from general systems theory, psychiatry, medicine, psychology and group theories in sociology and sociobiology. Bowen Theory is about the interaction of systemic variables in human families that predict individual health. See Systemic Change

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

NLP is known for hypnotic communication, influence skills and modeling. Martyn was a NLP trainer (certified by four NLP training institutes) until he investigated the long-term consequences of NLP on relationships. Soulwork derives from NLP some concepts of non-verbal communication (taught in Soulwork 2), and some notions about timelines and re-imprinting (taught in Soulwork 6) and behavioral modeling (taught in Soulwork 7). Martyn occasionally presents NLP trainer and master practitioner certification trainings, focusing on the work of Steve and Connirae Andreas, Robert Dilts and Wyatt Woodsmall. (Comparison of Huna, Soulwork and NLP Meta Model)

Systems Theory, Complexity & Chaos Theory

Systems theory was proposed in the 1940's by Ludwig von Bertalanffy, who noted that systems that interact with their environment can evolve. Systems theory focuses on relationships between parts of complex systems - and how these relationships shape a system's behavior.

Exchanging matter and energy with other systems or with the environment can destabilize a system, as systems transition to more complex configurations. Hence self-organizing systems can increase or decrease their survival potential. Systems theory is integrated throughout systemic coach training. See Systems Theory and Chaos Theory.

Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Phineas Quimby was the most well-known American mental healer of his time, credited for healing 15,000 people. Quimby's manuscripts about his "science of healing" were the basis for the New Thought movement, which was later promoted as Positive Thinking. Quimby's "science of healing" opposed religion, education and medicine, which Quimby perceived as sources of toxic beliefs. In 1863, one of Quimby's patients, Mary Patterson, whom Quimby had healed of spinal cancer, borrowed Quimby's manuscripts. She later remarried twice to become Mary Baker Eddy, known as the founder of Christian Science. Martyn integrated Quimby's work into Soulwork 5 (see Model of a Healer)

Virginia Satir

Virginia Satir's systemic psychotherapy provides practical models of family therapy, and emphasizes the use of humor and paradox. Her assumption of functional, fragmented identity parts encompasses both conscious and unconscious processes. Reflections of her humor and paradox are found throughout Soulwork training, and applications of work on partial identities are taught in Soulwork 3.

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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 1996-2018  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