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Presented to Gdansk Psychology Conference © Martyn Carruthers, 2001
I wish to thank the professors and students of Gdansk University for inviting me to your beautiful city. I hope that you will find this talk interesting, and that you will attend the demonstrations of systemic psychology that I will present later this evening.
Success in any field can be inhibited by behaviors and symptoms generically called mental illness. These symptoms can affect people of all ages, races, cultures and class. They range from acute, short-term distress to chronic, long-term impairment.
Acute, short-term symptoms are often associated with identifiable stressors. The most common symptoms result from physical stress, such as dehydration, infection or exposure to poisons, toxins or stimulants. Acute emotional stress may also result from overwork or a relationship change.
The symptoms of chronic stress may appear to be independent of identifiable stressors. Although attributed to genetic factors or biochemical imbalances, many symptoms of chronic mental illness appear to be associated with a person’s relationships.
Most people can solve their problems, even severe problems, without professional assistance. The steps by which most people naturally and spontaneously solve relationship problems are the basis of our systemic coaching.
We offer an existential approach to life and death, freedom and bondage,
responsibility and consequences. We coach people to find their sense of life
and deal with senselessness by exploring self-awareness
as part of the totality of human existence.
We offer systemic diagnosis for relationship behavior, and effective relationship solutions for many symptoms diagnosed as mental illnesses. We evaluate a person’s history, behavior and subjective experience of time, emotions and relationships.
About Mental Illness
Biological perspectives of mental disease describe mental illness as body processes, whereas psychological perspectives emphasize a person’s history and environment. Some people appear to inherit a vulnerability to mental illness.
People who are unable to care for themselves may require institutional treatment. These people can be referred to appropriate health professionals for evaluation, psychometric testing and treatment.
We acknowledge that both psychobiology and environment play important roles. We perceive people as products of their genes, of their families and of their cultures. Our personal histories shape the manifestation of our genetic and biological factors.
A general question is, “How do you want to make sense of your life?”
Diagnosis of Mental Illness
Behaviors that violate societal rules are often perceived as signs of mental illness. However, behavior considered deviant or sick in one culture may be perceived as normal in another. Some states of consciousness that may be diagnosed as mental illness in the West may be valued as essential human experiences in Eastern cultures.
Clarifying relationships with people who have died is part of our systemic coaching.
In the west, if you talk to “dead people”, you are crazy! In old Hawaii,
if you don’t talk to dead people, you are crazy!
At the end of a busy day – have you ever sat and gazed at a wall mindlessly? I have, and probably you have too. It’s a normal reaction to stress. In addition, most people acknowledge periods when their ability to cope was limited by an emotional stress reaction to overwork or a crisis. Life crises are often associated with mental health symptoms in otherwise healthy people. We coach people to manage the crisis – and then symptoms may magically disappear.
US immigration law expressly excludes from citizenship application all persons with histories of hospitalization for mental problems. What is the difference between normal and hospitalized? The usual answer is that a normal person copes with abnormal conditions in a timely manner. We find that normality only exists in a defined context. What is normal in one context may be abnormal in another.
Many health professionals refer to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV) or the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Both the DSM and ICD define mental illnesses by unique symptoms and characteristics. However, the described symptoms often overlap and differ from person to person, and people may simultaneously display more than one set of symptoms.
We ask people what they want; we help people define their goals and which relationships influence their goals. We coach people to identify their relationship
and emotional challenges in an appropriate sequence.
Then we help people follow these steps.
Mental and physical problems often vanish during our work,
without specific interventions.
Contact us to manage emotions and solve relationship problems.
We help people build success and healthy relationships.