Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 71–84 | Cite as

Virginia Satir’s Family Camp Experiment: An Intentional Growth Community Still in Process

Original Paper


In 1976, Virginia Satir began Satir Family Camp (SFC) with therapists and their personal families. Initially, it was a context for the family to experience Satir’s concepts and techniques so that the family system would change along with the therapist. The training of therapists is no longer a significant part of camp; relationships with self, family, friends, and the community is now the main focal point. The process and governance of the camp is presented along with a lengthy anecdote of an experiential family session. These two features—community function and personal/familial growth—inextricably work together to provide a validating environment that supports desired changes.


Virginia Satir Experiential family therapy Intentional growth communities Self of the therapist Integration of Satir therapy Psychomotor Therapy 


  1. Andolfi, M., Angelo, C., & de Nichilo, M. (1989). The myth of Atlas: Families and the therapeutic story. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  2. Brothers, B. (2000). Virginia Satir. In M. M. Suhd, L. Dodson, & M. Gomori (Eds.), Virginia Satir: Her life and circle of influence (pp. 1–101). Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Books.Google Scholar
  3. Duhl, B. S. (1989). Virginia Satir: In memoriam. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 15(2), 109–110.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Framo, J. (1996). A personal retrospective of the family therapy field: Then and now. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 22(3), 289–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Haber, R. (2002). Virginia Satir: An integrated, humanistic approach. Contemporary Family Therapy, 24(1), 22–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Nerin, W., & Satir, V. (1986). Family reconstruction: Long day’s journey into light. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  7. Pesso, A. (1973). Experience into action. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Pesso, A., & Wassenaar, H. (1991). The relationship between P/ST and a neurological model. In A. Pesso & J. Crandell (Eds.), Moving psychotherapy: Theory and application of Pesso System/Psychomotor Therapy (pp. 33–41). Boston: Brookline Publishers.Google Scholar
  9. Satir, V. (1967). Conjoint family therapy. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Books.Google Scholar
  10. Satir, V. (1972). Peoplemaking. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavioral Books.Google Scholar
  11. Satir, V. (1995a). The third birth. Washington: Avanta Network.Google Scholar
  12. Satir, V., & Gerber, J. (Photographer). (1995). Meditations and inspirations, Millbrae, CA: Behavior Books.Google Scholar
  13. Satir, V., Banmen, J., Gerber, J., & Gomori, M. (1991). The Satir model: Family therapy and beyond. San Francisco, CA: Science and Behavior Books.Google Scholar
  14. Satir Family Camp Handbook. (1984, 1986, 2005, 2009). Ventura, CA: Satir Family Camp, Inc.Google Scholar
  15. Sharpnack, R. (2007). Trade up. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Google Scholar
  16. Suarez, M. (1999). A biography of Virginia Satir. Burien, WA: Avanta, The Virginia Satir network.Google Scholar
  17. Vasconcellos, J. (2000). Toward a politics of self-esteem. In M. Suhd, L. Dodson, & M. Gormori (Eds.), Virginia Satir: Her life and circle of influence (pp. 257–301). Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Books.Google Scholar
  18. Whitaker, C., & Bumberry, W. (1988). Dancing with the family: A symbolic-experiential approach. New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  19. Williamson, D. (1991). The intimacy paradox. Personal authority in the family system. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South Carolina Institute for Systemic/Experiential TherapyColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations