Институт Интегративной Семейной Терапии
Институт Интегративной Семейной Терапии
Institute of Integrative Family Therapy
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Биографии корифеев

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Биографии корифеев

  Сатир Вирджиния (Satir Virginia)


Известный американский психотерапевт, основатель метода системных расстановок.

Virginia Satir  

 (26 June 1916 - 10 September 1988) was a noted American author and psychotherapist, known especially for her approach to family therapy and her work with Systemic Constellations. Her most well-known books are Conjoint Family Therapy, 1964, Peoplemaking, 1972, and The New Peoplemaking, 1988.

She is also known for creating the "Virginia Satir - Change Process Model", a psychological model which was developed through clinical studies. Change management and organizational gurus of the 1990s and 2000s embrace this model to define how change impacts organizations.

Early years

Virginia Satir was born 26 June 1916 in Neillsville, Wisconsin, the eldest of five children born to Oscar Alfred Reinnard Pagenkopf and Minnie Happe Pagenkopf. When she was five years old, Satir suffered from appendicitis. Her mother, a devout Christian Scientist, refused to take her to a doctor. By the time Satir's father decided to overrule his wife, the young girl's appendix had ruptured. Doctors were able to save her life, but Satir was forced to stay in the hospital for several months.[1]

A curious child, Satir taught herself to read by age three, and by nine had read all of the books in the library of her small one-room school. When she was five, Satir decided that she would grow up to be "a children's detective on parents."[2] She later explained that "I didn't quite know what I would look for, but I realized a lot went on in families that didn't meet the eye."[2]

In 1929, her mother insisted that the family move from their farm to Milwaukee so that Satir could attend high school. Satir's high school years coincided with the Great Depression, and to help her family she took a part-time job and also attended as many courses as she could so that she could graduate early. In 1932, she received her high school diploma and promptly enrolled in Milwaukee State Teachers College (now University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.) To pay for her education she worked part-time for the Works Projects Administration and for Gimbels Department Store and further supplemented her income by babysitting.[2]

Teaching career

Satir graduated third in her class with a B.A. in Education in 1936.[2] She spent the next two years at a public school in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, first as a teacher and then as school principal. Following that, she became a travelling teacher, working in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Shreveport, Louisiana, and Miami, Florida.[3]


In 1941, Satir married a young soldier, Gordon Rodgers. After a few months together, Rodgers was sent back to serve in World War II. Satir had an ectopic pregnancy that resulted in her undergoing a hysterectomy. While Rodgers was away, Satir worked on her master's degree. In 1948, she received an M.A. in social work from the Northwestern University in Chicago. The following year, she and her husband divorced. In 1951, she married again, to Norman Satir, although that marriage ended in divorce in 1957. During this time, Satir adopted two adult women, Mary and Ruth, with whom she had been working. She considered them her daughters, and dedicated her 1988 book, The New Peoplemaking to them.[4]

Career as a therapist

After graduate school, Satir began working in private practice. She met with her first family in 1951, and by 1955 was working with Illinois Psychiatric Institute, encouraging other therapists to focus on families instead of individual patients. By the end of the decade she had moved to California, where she cofounded the Mental Research Institute (MRI) in Palo Alto, California. MRI received a grant from NIMH in 1962, allowing them to begin the first formal family therapy training program ever offered.[5]




One of Satir's most novel ideas at the time, was the "presenting issue" or surface problem – that the presenting issue itself was seldom the real problem; rather, how people coped with the issue created the problem."[6] Satir also offered insights into the particular problems that low self-esteem could cause in relationships.[6]

Satir published her first book, Conjoint Family Therapy, in 1964. Her reputation grew with each subsequent book, and she travelled the world to speak on her methods. She also became a Diplomat of the Academy of Certified Social Workers and received the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy's Distinguished Service Award.[7]Long interested in the idea of networking, Satir founded two groups to help individuals find mental health workers or other people who were suffering from similar issues to their own. In 1970, she organized Beautiful People, which later became known as the International Human Learning Resources Network. In 1977 she founded the Avanta Network.[7]



Satir was invited to be a member of the Council of Elders in 1986. This group of individuals meets periodically with those who have won the Nobel Peace Prize. Two years later, Satir was appointed to the Steering Committee of the International Family Therapy Association and became a member of the Advisory Board for the National Council for Self-Esteem.[7]

She has also been recognized with several honorary doctorates, including a 1978 doctorate in Social Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a 1986 doctorate from the Professional School of Psychological Studies.

Honors and Awards Received
  • 1976 Awarded Gold Medal of "Outstanding and Consistent Service to Mankind" by the University of Chicago.
  • 1978 Awarded honorary doctorate in Social Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • 1982 Selected by the West German Government as one of the twelve most influential leaders in the world today.
  • 1985 Time magazine quotes a colleague, “She can fill any auditorium in the country”, after her stellar contribution to the Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • 1985 Selected by the prestigious National Academy of Practice as one of two members to advise on health concerns to the Congress of the United States.
  • 1986 Selected as member of the International Council of Elders, a society developed by the recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • 1987 Named Honorary Member of the Czechoslovakian Medical Society.
  • She was honored in the California Social Work Hall of Distinction.
  • In two national surveys of Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists, she was voted the most influential therapist.

Work and influence

Her entire work was done under the umbrella of “Becoming More Fully Human”. From the possibility of a nurturing primary triad of father, mother, and child she conceived a process of Human Validation. She continually planted the seeds of hope toward world peace. As she said (Align, 1988, p. 20): “The family is a microcosm. By knowing how to heal the family, I know how to heal the world”. With this overview she established professional training groups in the Satir Model in the Middle East, the Orient, Western and Eastern Europe, Central and Latin America, and Russia. The Institute for International Connections, Avanta Network, and the International Human Learning Resources Network are concrete examples of teaching people how to connect with one another and then extend the connections. Her world impact could be summed up in her universal mantra: peace within, peace between, peace among.

In the mid-1970s her work was extensively studied by the co-founders of Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), Richard Bandler and John Grinder, who used it as one of the three fundamental models of NLP.[8] Bandler and Grinder also collaborated with Satir to author Changing With Families for Science and Behavior Books, which bore the subtitle 'A Book About Further Education for Being Human'. AVANTA is an international organization that carries on her work and promotes her approach to family therapy.

Steve Andreas, one of Bandler and Grinder's students, wrote Virginia Satir: the patterns of her magic (1991) in which he summarized the major patterns of Satir's work, and then showed how Satir applied them in a richly annotated verbatim transcript of a videotaped session titled, "Forgiving Parents.". In this session, Satir works with a woman who hated her mother, and had difficulty connecting with others as a result. Using a variety of role-plays, including a "family reconstruction," (Systemic Constellations) this woman came to see her mother as her "best friend," as detailed in a 3 1/2 year follow-up interview.



  1. ^ Suarez. Family of Origin
  2. ^ a b c d Suarez. Education
  3. ^ Suarez. Teaching Career
  4. ^ Suarez. Marriage and Children
  5. ^ Suarez. Virginia's Career in Therapy
  6. ^ a b "The Top 10: The Most Influential Therapists of the Past Quarter-Century". Psychotherapy Networker. 2007. http://psychotherapynetworker.org/index.php?category=magazine&sub_cat=articles&type=article&id=The%20Top%2010&page=4. Retrieved on 2007-06-25. 
  7. ^ a b c Suarez. The Pioneer
  8. ^ Robert Dilts and Roxanna Erickson Klein (2006) "Historical: Neuro-linguistic Programming" in The Milton H. Erickson Foundation: Newsletter Summer 2006, 26(2).

Further reading

  • Suarez, Margarita M. (1999). A Brief Biography of Virginia Satir. Avanta. 
  • Nerin, William F.; Family Reconstruction : Long Day's Journey into Light, 1986, ISBN 10: 0393700178 / 0-393-70017-8 , ISBN 13: 9780393700176

See also

External links


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