Training: Satir systemic brief therapy for therapists—level 1

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Virginia Satir (1916-1988) is internationally recognized for her contribution to the practice of family therapy. Based on the conviction that everyone is capable of continued growth and understanding, her goal was to improve communication within the family unit.

This training program, open to all, will be of special interest to all health care practitioners, including graduate and medical students. Participants will learn how to use Satir Systemic Brief Therapy to effect transformational change in individuals and couples. This workshop is a prerequisite for the advanced series (Level II).

Training program synopsis

Level I (Introductory) focuses on the theoretical foundations of the Satir Model and learning how to bring about transformational change with individuals and couples through experiential exercises.

Level II (Advanced) focuses on skill development and practice in bringing about transformational change with individuals, couples, and families. This series of 3-day workshops will be offered over a number of weekends in 2009 (dates to be determined). The weekends will be deliberately spaced to allow for skill development and peer supervision in triads between sessions. Prerequisite: Level I.

Overview and background

Virginia Satir (1916-1988) is internationally recognized for her contribution to the practice of family therapy. Based on the conviction that everyone is capable of continued growth and understanding, her goal was to improve communication within the family unit.

This training program, open to all, will be of special interest to all health care practitioners, including graduate and medical students. Participants will learn how to use Satir Systemic Brief Therapy to effect transformational change in individuals and couples. This workshop is a prerequisite for the advanced series (Level II).

The program comprises lectures, small-group discussions, demonstrations, experiential learning, and skill practice sessions. It provides hands-on skill development opportunities. Participants will work with their own three-generational family-of-origin maps (genograms). They will find that the Satir model complements other therapeutic approaches.

Satir's Systemic Brief Therapy Model is unique in encompassing both the intrapsychic and interactive components of therapy. Much therapy in the past has focussed only on clients' behaviours, beliefs, or feelings. The Satir Model facilitates change at the level of being, so that the client accepts and deals with pain and problems, and also lives with inner joy and peace of mind. Participants will learn how to tap the deeper yearnings of individuals and help them work towards a sense of wholeness as experienced in greater self-awareness and higher self-esteem. The Satir Model emphasizes competence and congruence on the part of the therapist.

Who should attend

Family physicians, social workers, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, alcohol & drug dependency counselors, nurses, clergy, counselors working in private practice, schools, and agencies.  Graduate students in the above fields are also welcome.

Objectives

  • Become acquainted with the basic therapeutic beliefs of the Satir Model
  • Surface and identify client's communication and coping patterns
  • Prepare client's family maps (genograms) and surface dysfunctional personal and family dynamics
  • Learn how to bring automatic coping patterns into awareness through sculpting
  • Become familiar with the process of therapeutic change using the Satir Model
  • Use the "Iceberg metaphor" to help clients make better choices
  • Track the inner experience of clients in order to help them access and change their behaviours, feelings, perceptions, and expectations
  • Help clients reduce the impact of past events and negative experiences
  • Learn how to connect with and validate clients' positive intentions
  • Become more effective counsellors/therapists in using the Satir Model

Text: The Satir Model: Family Therapy & Beyond by Satir, V., Banmen, J., Gerber, J. and Gomori, M. (1991)
Further Reading: The New Peoplemaking by Virginia Satir (1988)

Program developers

The Satir Systemic Brief Therapy training program was developed by Dr John Banmen, R. Psych., and Kathlyne Maki-Banmen, MA, ROC, Director of Training and President of the Satir Institute of the Pacific, respectively.  Their work and writings have furthered a worldwide understanding of Virginia Satir's work. We acknowledge and appreciate their contribution to the development of this course.