“I want you to get excited about who you are, what you are, what you have, and what can still be for you. I want to inspire you to see that you can go far beyond where you are right now.”
-Virginia Satir, from Peoplemaking
Virginia Satir (1916 – 1988) was a noted American author and psychotherapist known especially for her approach to family therapy. Her most well-known books are Conjoint Family Therapy, 1964, Peoplemaking, 1972 and The New Peoplemaking, 1988. These books and others written about her processes continue to be used by therapists and clinicians working in different situations in many countries.
Virginia Satir’s work is also used by teachers, consultants and coaches, by NLP practitioners, by anyone who works with groups or individuals for whom communication and congruent behaviour are important. Students of Satir’s work have used her processes successfully in a range of different situations from business professionals to street gangs, with anyone from high school students to people in hospices.
Virginia Satir also wrote many less technical books still used by individuals who are not in helping professions, for example Self-esteem, Making Contact, Your Many Faces, and Just a few Sayings that I Made Up.
Satir is also known for creating the “Virginia Satir – Change Process Model”, a model developed through clinical studies. Change management and organizational teachers since the 1990s have embraced this model to define how change impacts organizations.
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, Virginia conceived a process of Human Validation.
Satir continually planted the seeds of hope toward world peace. As she once said, “The family is a microcosm. By knowing how to heal the family, I know how to heal the world.”
With this overview in mind, she established professional training groups in the Satir Model in the Middle East, Orient, Western & Eastern Europe, Central & Latin America, North America and Russia.
The Institute for International Connections, Avanta Network (now called Virginia Satir Global 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.
Her work was extensively studied by Richard Bandler and John Grinder who used it as one of the three fundamental models of NLP. Together Bandler, Grinder and Satir wrote the book ’Changing With Families’ for Science and Behavior Books, which bore the subtitle ’A Book About Further Education for Being Human’. The Virginia Satir Global Network is an international organization that carries on her work and promotes her approach to family therapy.