Virginia Satir’s therapy model is based on the premise that change is possible and that we all have the internal resources we need to cope successfully and to grow. Thus, she believes that the person is not the problem, but rather, coping is the problem. Accordingly, therapy focuses on improving how an individual copes rather than solving problems.
Similarly, she states that feelings belong to the individual, and therefore we can learn to change them, manage them, and enjoy them. Furthermore, individuals have decisions in the way that they react, cope, and are. Therefore, Satir states that individuals choose their actions. For example, an individual chooses to be agitated. So, since feelings belong to us and we choose our actions, we can also choose to and learn to react in a positive manner.
Satir also believed that partners tend to repeat the familiar patterns from their childhood, even if these patterns are dysfunctional. It follows then that it is important to know a person’s origin and family, in order to better understand their current behaviours and possible problems. Similarly, Satir posits that the first caregivers an individual has will affect them dramatically.
Also in childhood, individuals learn certain stances. These may have benefited from them during their childhood, but they no longer need them. However, often individuals continue to use these stances and it is in therapy that they can be addressed. These four stances are being super reasonable, irrelevant, placating and blaming.
This is also a great book to better understand Satir’s model of therapy. It can also help individuals to understand themselves and how Satir views change, prior to or in conjunction to therapy.
Satir, V. M., Banment, J., Gerber, J., & Gomori, M. (1991). The Satir model: Family therapy and beyond. Palto Alto, CA: Science & Behavior Books.