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Systemic coaching assesses human relationship dynamics to help people change dysfunctional or unhealthy aspects of human relationship systems. It postulates that if one representative of a human system can recognize and change dysfunctional patterns, other members of that human system can also change. The work of Murray Bowen, an American family therapist, and Martyn Carruthers, a Canadian relationship researcher, reflect this.

Bowen Theory is a natural systems theory that concerns the interaction of variables in families. Carruthers' Soulwork systemic coaching assesses the systemic variables that produce predictable relationship behavior. Systemic coaching can assess relationship variables (such as transference) to predict health and emotional symptoms. The same variables can result in chronic dysfunctional relationships or long-term happiness in families.

Systemic coaching is influenced by analogies from quantum physics. See the work of Heisenberg (you cannot know what a system is doing NOW), Schrödinger (until a system is observed, all possibilities exist), Fermi (the absence of a member defines the missing member) and Einstein (change in a system is relative to an observer of that system).

Systemic entanglements[edit | edit source]

Systemic entanglements in human relationship systems are shown by compulsive behavior motivated by chronic inappropriate emotions, chronic conflict or chronic dissociation. Examples are:

  • A person is entangled with or bonded to another person (chronic guilt)
  • A person is identified with a dead person (chronic sadness)
  • A person is identified with a victim (chronic anger)
  • A person is identified with a hero (chronic anxiety)
  • A person is identified with two people (chronic conflict)
  • A person loses access to own values and identity (chronic dissociation)

Systemic entanglements can harm entire relationship systems as well as individual lives. Systemic coaching provides systemic relationship diagnosis and systemic relationship solutions.

Some sources of systemic coaching[edit | edit source]

Gregory Bateson defined a hierarchy of abstraction including beliefs, values and identity. He perceived relationships as having a higher abstraction than identity, and therefore controlling lower levels in the hierarchy.

Milton Erickson redefined medical hypnosis, and became expert in noticing and responding to non-verbal communication, constructive provocation, and creating healing metaphors. (See Uncommon Therapy by Jay Haley.)

Victor Frankl assisted people in searching for meaning and integrity in relationships, as a basis for change. Dr Frankl's philosophy is reflected in 16 types of provocative coaching and in ways to stabilize integrity.

Clare Graves described "values" as a basis of the evolution of human systems and created a useful model of societal evolution that predicts the behavior of individuals in human systems.

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