About us

Do you want healthy relationships and pleasant emotions?

Healthy relationships and emotions require intelligent decisions, supportive beliefs, good planning, quality communication skills and that you dissolve any blocks to feeling and sharing happiness.

Whether I wanted to renew my sense of calm or enjoy a burst of energy to get
me through the week, you guys always pulled through. 
North Carolina, USA

Perhaps, like you, some of us also had difficult childhoods and perhaps, like you, some of us also suffered complex relationship difficulties. And perhaps, like you, we learned ways to cope that were not very effective.

As a result, we sought effective ways to change. We studied and asked questions. We tested many methods and then developed our own. Now we help people manage their emotions, change limiting beliefs and resolve relationship problems.

Founder: Martyn Carruthers

I was educated at the Royal Naval Medical School, with additional training at University of Toronto, MIT, Harvard, Erickson College and elsewhere. I worked on nuclear submarines and later as Radiation Protection Officer for the Canadian government.

Martyn Carruthers

Martyn Carruthers

While working in Canada, I began learning accelerated learning techniques, hypnotherapy and expert modeling skills and later applied them to
individual and family counseling.
Later I studied pre-contact Hawaiian healing and integrated
some of its therapeutic applications into my work.
The final major piece was Systems Theory.

After developing this philosophy into a methodology for
about ten years with a huge variety of people, I founded
Soulwork Systemic Solutions
 in 1995.

 

We provide coaching, counseling and training for people who want to resolve emotional and relationship issues or who wish to use systemic psychology in their work. The following video is from a workshop in Zagreb, Croatia – on the topic of Relationships Bonds.

 

Kosjenka Muk

I am a special education teacher, a certified trainer of
Soulwork Systemic Solutions and a published author.
Many of my articles are posted here.

Kosjenka Muk

Kosjenka Muk

I help individuals and couples resolve emotional and
relationship problems and present trainings on
self-esteem, happy partnership, verbal self-defense and other topics.

I wrote and published the books Emotional Maturity and Verbal Self-Defense. I teach Soulwork Systemic Solutions internationally – I have taught in Croatia, England, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Czech Republic,
Mexico, Canada and Hawaii.

www.emotionalmaturity.info
Trnsko 13A, Novi Zagreb, Croatia 10020 Telephone +3 851 652 1213

 

Martyn Carruthers developed Soulwork Systemic Solutions as a
synthesis of success coaching, emotional changework,
strategic planning and relationship counseling.
Soulwork history began in the late 1980’s …

The origins of Soulwork are a little chaotic and it is tempting to deduce that Martyn himself is a little chaotic. Perhaps that was needed. As Martyn said, “If I had known what I was doing, it wouldn’t have been research, and if I had known where I was going – I wouldn’t have gone there“.

Martyn was born and grew up in Wales, UK. Following high school he trained at Haslar Naval Hospital as a paramedic, and was educated at the Royal Naval Medical School in Health Physics. He served on nuclear submarines in the British navy and later provided emergency and environmental support for nuclear power stations. He then worked for the Canadian government as a Radiation Protection Officer.

Later he focused on people instead of equipment and became an adult trainer. Amongst his interests was Polynesian anthropology, a useful, albeit unusual, source of material. He lived and studied with native Hawaiian healers, gaining insights and models different to those taught in Western medicine and psychology.

He studied accelerated learning and the effects of beliefs, emotions and relationships on the ability to learn. He worked with Annegret Hallanzy, a family therapist in Germany, for six months – together they explored ways to recognize and manage the etiology of self-sabotage and its unpleasant consequences (see Interview with Martyn.)

Martyn and Annegret found that most motivated, responsible adults can use stable resourceful experiences as a basis for making life decisions. As some people called these experiences Soul, Martyn called this Soul-Work and named the methodology Soulwork Systemic Coaching. Annegret called these states Visions and developed VoVa (VisionOrientiert VeränderungArbeit).

Annegret and Martyn taught together in Germany and Poland, where they further developed these models. Martyn later adapted these models for online counseling, to help people resolve individual, couple, family and team challenges. Here is his first presentation of his work – at a University Forum on Human Consciousness in England.

The basic format or sequence may seem simple:

Clarity >  Freedom >  Motivation >  Inspiration > Success

Some theories that Martyn incorporated into Soulwork were derived from:

  1. Goal definition (George Miller)
  2. Evolution of values (Clare Graves)
  3. Cybernetic theory of mind (Gregory Bateson)
  4. Social-cognitive theory of learning (Albert Bandura)
  5. Systemic family constellations (Bert Hellinger et al)
  6. Ego-states (parts) (Virginia Satir & Milton Erickson)
  7. Traditional Hawaiian healing (native Hawaiian teachers)
  8. Sensory representations of experience (William James)

Martyn’s Soulwork represents a desire for cooperation and does not
represent any new age, old age, religious or political organization!

History of Soulwork – Sources of Inspiration

Papa Henry Auwae

Papa Henry Auwae was the kahuna nui la’au lapa’au (expert healer) on Hawaii’s Big Island. Martyn often quotes him, e.g. “What’s the point of healing a disease if a person doesn’t learn from the disease?” and “Your health reflects your relationships!

Papa Henry dedicated most of his life to healing – Martyn calls him the Godfather of Soulwork. Papa Henry’s philosophy is reflected throughout our work, particularly in ho’oponopono (healing relationships, ho’omoe (dream-work) and ele’ele eke (changing relationship bonds. See Hawaiian Shamanism.

Dr Gregory Bateson

Dr Gregory Bateson was an anthropologist who studied schizophrenia. He applied cybernetic and systems theory to his work (see Steps to an Ecology of Mind). Bateson’s description of logical types provided a useful hierarchy of abstraction that includes beliefs, values and identity.

As relationships have a higher level of abstraction than individual identity in Bateson’s hierarchy, and hence more influence, we help people ground and stabilize their changes in their relationships. We often follow individual coaching with relationship counseling, particularly for couples, families and teams. (This helps prevent partners, families and teams un-installing people’s desired changes.)

Dr. Milton Erickson

Dr. Milton Erickson was an American psychiatrist who redefined medical hypnosis (which had been ridiculed by Dr Sigmund Freud). Although crippled by poliomyelitis, Milton Erickson became expert in non-verbal communication, constructive provocation and healing metaphors. (See Uncommon Therapy by Jay Haley.) Martyn uses and teaches these skills throughout his work, particularly in his interactive isomorphic metaphors or Dreamwork and in provocative coaching and therapy.

Dr. Viktor Frankl

Dr. Victor Frankl was a German psychiatrist known for developing Logotherapy – an existential psychotherapy – during his imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Much of his philosophy is reflected in our work, particularly in assisting people to search for meaning as a basis for change. Martyn met him in Hanover – Dr Frankl’s philosophy is reflected in Martyn’s provocative coaching and in ways to stabilize the experience of integrity.

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. Dr Graves work is integrated into Soulwork, particularly into goal coaching, mentorship and team coaching. For more on Graves’ work, click HERE.

Annegret Hallanzy

Annegret Hallanzy lives in Bavaria, where she created a synthesis of NLP with psychotherapy – Vision Oriented Changework or VoVa. Annegret’s work inspired our individual and couple coaching. Annegret wrote about her synthesis in Ekologie NLP Redefiniert (NLP Ecology Redefined) in which she evaluates the ecology and consequences of many NLP strategies and techniques. Here is an English excerpt from her book NLP Ecology Redefined.

Bert Hellinger

Another German therapist, Bert Hellinger examined the spatial positions of relatives in people’s subjective awareness. Hellinger’s books on family constellations describe the effects of family actions on a family members. Martyn accepted Hellinger’s concepts about relationship responsibilities and entanglements but not his techniques. Martyn’s relationship models offer a different systemic structure.

Aunty Mona Kahele

Aunty Mona Kahele was a native Hawaiian kupuna (elder) skilled in ho’oponopono(Hawaiian family therapy) and la’au lapa’au (Hawaiian herbal medicine) which she was taught by her kahuna grandfather. She lived near Kealakekua, where, she helped many people manage relationship and emotional problems. Aunty Mona gave Martyn over 50 years of her handwritten notes on healing body, mind and spirit and inspired him to translate the healing rituals of ho’omoe and ho’oponopono into more usable formats for the West. For more on Hawaiian mystical traditions, click HERE.

Uncle John Kaimikaua

John Kaimikaua was a native Hawaiian expert on Hawaiian traditions. He lived on Molokai – traditionally called the Island of Sorcerers – where he was taught by a mysterious kahuna lady. Martyn’s studies with Uncle John prompted his research into the clarification of enmeshed relationships with dependent, aggressive or deceased family members and taboo relationship bonds generally. For more about Uncle John, click HERE.

Dr Ronald D Laing

Ronald D Laing (MD) described mental diseases as social imbalances, rather than biochemical imbalances. He argued that mental disease symptoms make sense in their family contexts. (See his book: The Divided Self). He wrote about communication in dysfunctional families and described the effects of family behavior on the member’s perceptions of reality.

Martyn incorporated some of Dr Laing’s philosophy about family politics and disease; family meta-rules and Dr Laing’s perception that insanity is a sane reaction to insane situations. Dr Laing wrote “Family patterns are not laid out in front of us like the stars in the sky” (Massey Lectures II, 1969) – although Martyn’s systemic diagnosis can do exactly this!

Aunty Margaret Machado

Aunty Margaret Machado, a native Hawaiian healer, famous for her expert knowledge of lomilomi (massage) and la’au lapa’au (herbal medicine) lived in Kealakekua on Hawaii’s Big Island where she was trained by her kahuna (expert) grandfather. Her teaching inspired the “Soul to Soul” relationships which are central to our coaching. Martyn lived for a time with Aunty Margaret and her family while studyinglomilomi with her in Hawaii. (Margaret’s daughter Nerita Machado continues her mother’s tradition).

Dr. Murray Bowen

Dr. Murray Bowen developed a theory of human functioning based upon studies of the natural sciences and upon his research. Called a family systems theory, Bowen theory is a natural systems theory distinct from general systems theory, psychiatry, medicine, psychology or group theories in sociology and sociobiology. Bowen Theory helps predict interactions of systemic variables in human families that affect individual maturity and family health. See Systemic Change

Professional Help

The term coach arose as slang for tutors who carried students.Coaching was influenced by and much used in sport, personal development, adult education and leadership skills. Since the 1990’s, a number of coaching associations seem to be striving for dominance. See Philosophy of Coaching.

Although the conversations called coaching, consulting, counseling, psychotherapy and psychiatry overlap considerably, the word coaching may best describe our work. We are more eclectic than most psychologists or psychiatrists, who may be limited by the models of consciousness taught at universities and by the literature. This table compares helping styles.

 

Time Focus Goals Objections Transferences Resources
Psychiatry Decades Biochemical homeostasis Provide mental homeostasis Overcome with authority Use to increase authority Medications
Therapy Years Family of origin Reorganize personality Research causes Utilize Analysis
Counseling Months Reality of life demands Cope with life problems Avoid & minimize Minimize Life Skills
Consulting Weeks Complex problems Solve business problems Logical arguments Ignore Training & Business Experience
Life Coaching Weeks Life management Success in personal goals Dissociate & ignore Ignore Coach Training
Soulwork Days Integrity Emotional maturity Accept & integrate Dissolve Systems Training & Expert Modeling

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

NLP is known for hypnotic communication, influence and modeling. Martyn was certified a few times as a NLP trainer (until he investigated its long-term consequences). He adapted from NLP concepts of non-verbal communication, notions about timelines, re-imprinting and modeling subjective behavior. He most often honors the contributions of Steve and Connirae Andreas, Robert Dilts and Dr Wyatt Woodsmall. (See Comparison of Huna, Soulwork and NLP & Meta Model)

Systems Theories, Complexity & Chaos Theory

Systems theory was proposed in the 1940’s by Ludwig von Bertalanffy, who noted that the only systems that can evolve are those that interact with their environments. This focuses on relationships between parts of complex systems – and how these relationships shape a system’s behavior and survival.

Human systems appear to require balance and justice. Martyn’s systemic work can reveal how disease, conflicts and mental health problems originate in relationship problems and can be solved with relationship coaching … including entanglements with missing or dead people.

Systems can stabilize or destabilize themselves by exchanges with other systems or with their environment, as the systems develop or transition to more complex configurations. Hence self-organizing systems can increase or decrease their survival potential. Models from systems theory are integrated throughout our systemic coaching and training. See Systems Theory and Chaos Theory.

Phineas Quimby

Phineas Quimby was the most well-known American mental healer in the late 1800’s, and was credited with healing 15000 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. Martyn integrated Quimby’s work on beliefs into Systems 5 (see Model of a Healer).

(In 1863, Quimby’s patient, Mary Patterson, whom Quimby had healed of spinal cancer,borrowed Quimby’s manuscripts and taught his material as her own. She later remarried twice to become Mary Baker Eddy, who founded her Church of Christian Science based in part on Quimby’s work).

Virginia Satir

Virginia Satir provided models of family constellations, in which she emphasized the use of humor and paradox. Her assumptions about functional, fragmented identity parts encompassed both conscious and unconscious processes. You will find reflections of her love of humor and paradox  throughout our coaching and training. Martyn teaches applications of her work with families.

Czech it Out

Czech Republic was once Bohemia and later the west side of Czechoslovakia. Martyn often taught in Prague where he worked with Daniel Franc (internet “wizard”), Daniel Martin (medical doctor) and Pavla Francová – a blind artist who thinks in colors. Ana Pejcinova, a lovely lady from Macedonia, also offered her incisive wit and wisdom. (If you visit Czech Republic, ensure that you visit Český Krumlov).

Polish It

Martyn visited Poland to teach NLP with Annegret Hallanzy, a family therapist, and later to share his research into Hawaiian healing. He cooperated with some wonderful people during this synthesis period especially Maryla Biernacik (organizer), Ewa Foley (trainer), Monika Zubrzycka-Nowak (psychologist), Katarzyna Jaskiewicz (artist), Edward Rodziewicz (engineer) and Krzysztof Banasik (computer expert).

Croatian Friends

Croatia is famous for its beautiful islands, national parks and friendly people. Martyn’s Croatian friends helped him integrate Soulwork during the early years, especially Kosjenka Muk (trainer / therapist), Zrinka Buljan (medical doctor), Mara Doljak (therapist / trainer), Tomislav Budak (trainer / musician), Radojka Ligotić (child psychologist) and Krešo Homan (psychotherapist)). Their insights and encouragement continue to support us.

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