Virginia Satir was a popular American author and social worker. She was particularly known for her work towards family reconstruction and for providing family therapy. Affectionately known as the ‘Mother of Family’, Satir was also a psychotherapist. After graduating in social work, she began her private practice sessions and soon she was offered a position in ‘Illinois Psychiatric Institute’. She believed that the problems of an individual laid buried deep within the family and the root causes of these problems also lie within the family. Satir later cofounded a ‘Mental Research Institute’ in California. She became the ‘Training Director’ of this institute. ‘Conjoint Family Therapy’, ‘Peoplemaking’ and ‘The New Peoplemaking’ are some of her famous books that are widely read and treasured. She also gained fame as the creator of ‘Virginia Satir Change Process Model’; which is widely being used by organizational gurus to define impact of change. Following are some words of wisdom by the avant-garde in the field of family therapy and family reconstruction that are sure to change your perspective towards relationships. Let is learn from the quotes and sayings of Virginia Satir that give us a glimpse about her approach towards family and relations.
I want to love you without clutching, appreciate you without judging, join you without invading, invite you without demanding, leave you without guilt, criticize you without blaming, and help you without insulting. If I can have the same from you, then we can truly meet and enrich each other.
Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible - the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.
There are five freedoms:
The freedom to see and hear what is;
The freedom to say what you feel and think;
The freedom to feel what you actually feel;
The freedom to ask for what you want;
The freedom to take risks on your own behalf.
It is now clear to me that the family is a microcosm of the world. To understand the world, we can study the family: issues such as power, intimacy, autonomy, trust, and communication skills are vital parts underlying how we live in the world. To change the world is to change the family.
I regard (parenting) as the hardest, most complicated, anxiety-ridden, sweat-and-blood-producing job in the world. Succeeding requires the ultimate in patience, common sense, commitment, humor, tact, love, wisdom, awareness, and knowledge. At the same time, it holds the possibility for the most rewarding, joyous experience of a lifetime, namely, that of being successful guides to a new and unique human being.
I think if I have one message, one thing before I die that most of the world would know, it would be that the event does not determine how to respond to the event. That is a purely personal matter. The way in which we respond will direct and influence the event more than the event itself.
Over the years I have developed a picture of what a human being living humanely is like. She is a person who understand, values and develops her body, finding it beautiful and useful; a person who is real and is willing to take risks, to be creative, to manifest competence, to change when the situation calls for it, and to find ways to accommodate to what is new and different, keeping that part of the old that is still useful and discarding what is not.
The symbol in Chinese for crisis is made up of two ideographs: one means danger, the other means opportunity. This symbol is a reminder that we can choose to turn a crisis into an opportunity or into a negative experience.
Once a human being has arrived on this earth, communication is the largest single factor determining what kinds of relationships he makes with others and what happens to him in the world about him.
In the nurturing family...parents see themselves as empowering leaders not as authoritative bosses. They see their job primarily as one of teaching their children how to be truly human in all situations. They readily acknowledge to the child their poor judgment as well as their good judgment; their hurt, anger, or disappointment as well as their joy. The behavior of these parents matches what they say.
I have talked about choosing rather than acting from compulsion. When you feel that you have to live according to someone else's direction or live so that you never disappoint or hurt anybody, then your life is a continual assessment of whether or not you please other people.
Put together all the existing families and you have society. It is as simple as that. Whatever kind of training took place in the individual family will be reflected in the kind of society that these families create.
So much is asked of parents, and so little is given.
I feel that adolescence has served its purpose when a person arrives at adulthood with a strong sense of self-esteem, the ability to relate intimately, to communicate congruently, to take responsibility, and to take risks. The end of adolescence is the beginning of adulthood. What hasn't been finished then will have to be finished later.
Rearing a family is probably the most difficult job in the world. It resembles two business firms merging their respective resources to make a single product. All the potential headaches of that operation are present when an adult male and an adult female join to steer a child from infancy to adulthood.
Problems are not the problem: coping is the problem.
It's sad that children cannot know their parents when they were younger; when they were loving, courting, and being nice to one another. By the time children are old enough to observe, the romance has all too often faded or gone underground.
Families and societies are small and large versions of one another. Both are made up of people who have to work together, whose destinies are tied up with one another. Each features the components of a relationship: leaders perform roles relative to the led, the young to the old, and male to female; and each is involved with the process of decision-making, use of authority, and the seeking of common goals.