Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

Living Edition
| Editors: Jay Lebow, Anthony Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Satir, Virginia

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_1024-1


Satir, Virginia (1916–1988)


Virginia Satir, known as the “mother of family therapy,” was considered a leading force in the understanding of individual growth and development. With the Satir model, she provided the field with a powerful strength-based framework for examining the self, the situation, and choices. She was the pioneer of the first ever formal family therapy training program in 1962 at the Mental Health Research Institute and the developer of experiential family therapy.


Satir received her Bachelor of Art degree in education in 1936 from Milwaukee State Teachers College (now University of Wisconsin) and began her first job as a public-school teacher in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. One year into her new career as a teacher, Satir was promoted to school principal where she finished her tenure and moved on to become a traveling teacher in a number of different states. Satir ultimately attended the University of Chicago School of Social Services...

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Key Citations

  1. Blitzer, C. (1980). Virginia Satir: Innovator in family therapy. Peninsula, May 1980, 37–39.Google Scholar
  2. Chase-Marshall, J. (1976). Virginia Satir: Everybody’s family therapist. Human Behavior, September 1976, 25–31.Google Scholar
  3. Clark, T. E. (1985). Satir step by step: A guide to creating change in families. Family Process, 24, 598–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Loeschen, S. (1991). The magic of Satir: Practical skills for therapists. Long Beach: Halcyon.Google Scholar
  5. Piercy, F., & Sprenkle, D. (1986). Family therapy sourcebook. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  6. Satir, V., Banmen, J., Gerber, J., & Gomori, M. (1991). The Satir model family therapy and beyond. Palo Alto: Science and Behavior Books.Google Scholar
  7. Stein, G. (1988). Virginia M. Satir, 72: Family therapy pioneer. Los Angeles Times. Available at http://articles.latimes.com/1988-09-12/news/mn-1205_1_family-therapy.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Eli Karam
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA