The name Virginia Satir may not sound familiar to most unless you have some knowledge of the history of hypnosis. A therapist who used a combination of different techniques to help individuals and families solve daily issues. She helped them to find the root of their problems and to increase their self-esteem and self-worth as individuals as well as being part of a family.
During her lifetime, Ms. Satir was very involved with her works and dedicating her life’s work to those who were in need of the knowledge she possessed. Passionate about her beliefs, she worked to develop processes that would allow individuals to access their “internal resources to create external changes”. Through her studies and helping others, she developed what she believed to be the basis of how an individual deals of with what life gives them.
Virginia Satir developed what she called “survival stances” that demonstrated how problems were dealt with. These four are: blaming, placating, being irrelevant and being super-reasonable. These four stances were, she felt, developed throughout one’s life; developed for survival which were used to protect themselves from perceived and presumed, verbal and nonverbal threats.
The four stances were used in therapy sessions as tools to determine her clients’ issues and what the best avenue of productive therapy was needed. In addition, the therapy techniques were altered accordingly to help the client change their survival stances. By providing the client knowledge, awareness, experience and manifestation the therapies were enhanced and provided a positive outcome for the patient’s.
There are five points of philosophy that drove Ms. Satirs’ work; she referred to them as the “Five Freedoms” which are as follows:
• “The freedom to see and hear what is in the present instead of what was, should be or will be
• The freedom to say what one thinks and feels rather than what one should
• The freedom to feel what one feels rather than what one ought
• The freedom to ask for what one wants rather than waiting for permission
• The freedom to take risk’s on one’s own behalf rather than choosing to “rocking the boat”"
Not only was Virginia Satir involved with her own work but she wanted to share with other professionals so that they could learn from her as well as her from them. She wrote many books of which the first was called Conjoint Family Therapy in the year 1964. In addition, she began to travel and share her experiences and knowledge with others throughout the world.
Besides the large numbers of families and other professionals she helped along the way, Virginia Satir was involved with the beginning of several groups of mental health providers or those themselves were suffering; one group began in 1970 called Beautiful People and in 1977 the Avanta Network. Beautiful People is now called the International Human Learning Resources Network. She also co-founded the Mental Research Institute or MRI located in Palo Alto, California.
Over the years Virginia Satir received numerous honors and awards from various groups and schools. Innovative and ahead of her time, she was recognized and honored as “one of the most influential modern psychologists and a founder of family therapy”. Leading the way in discovering the root of the problem and helping the client to cope with the problem through various techniques was the life of Virginia Satir.