The Satir Model is situated within the experiential / humanistic tradition of therapy with a strong existential flavour; and focuses on three major areas for therapeutic intervention: the intrapsychic, the interactive and the family of origin.

The Intrapsychic System
The intrapsychic system has been identified in terms of an Iceberg Metaphor. Basically, it is a way of conceptualising human experience and recognising that most human experience is actually internal. The components of the internal experience are very interactive and systemic. Changes in one area often result in some changes in other areas.

The Interactive System
In relationships, whether it is couples or families, people often report their problems as conflicts. The Satir Model looks at people’s relationships in terms of sameness and differences. Satir used to say that sameness attracts and differences help us to grow. The Satir Model advocates resolving differences from a congruent place of interacting.

The Family-Of-Origin System
The Satir Model puts a great deal of emphasis on family-of-origin work. The major shift over the years has been away from using the family map (genogram) as a way of connecting with one’s parents as adult peers. The current emphasis is on resolving the negative impact of one’s internal experience in the family of origin and reclaiming the resources one has received from one’s family of origin.

During the last few years of Virginia Satir’s life, she added more of a spiritual component to her therapy. The spiritual aspect of people has continued to expand in the Satir Model and is now an important aspect of the therapist’s growth and part of the therapeutic process. The main focus is on change towards greater wholeness, more harmony, greater responsibility and, ultimately, a fuller life.

(Extracted from The Satir Model: Yesterday and Today, essay by John Banmen.)

[1] Satir Transformational Systemic Therapy edited by John Banmen, (2008), Science and Behavior Books, Inc.