Satir Virginia 1916 - 1988 (72)

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”



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.

Virginia Satir (June 26, 1916 - September 10, 1988) was an American psychotherapist and writer, pioneer of family therapy. He was born in Wisconsin, the oldest of five children in the family. When she was five she suffered from appendicitis and her mother who was a fanatical Christian did not want to take her to the doctor. When the father decided to bypass mother and go to hospital, the situation had become extremely critical, she had to stay for many months in the hospital. Virginia studied at the Milwaukee Pedagogical College, worked as a teacher for six years, and from 1937 studied at the Social Services School at Chicago University. In 1941, she met a soldier in a bus stop and she married him within three weeks. Her husband left after the wedding to fight in Europe while she finished her postgraduate studies and began working as a private family therapist. In 1949 they divorced, in 1951 Virginia married the psychiatrist Norman Satir.

Since 1955, having received a PhD, she worked in the Illinois Psychiatric Institute and in 1959 they moved to California where she contributed to the creation of the Institute for Mental Research in which she became the manager. From that position she created the first formal family therapy training program. She developed the model of systemic therapy, based on the fact that the mental health problems one faces often come from the family and definitely extend to the family, so the whole family and not the individual should be approached during the treatment. Satir helped many people to accept their lives and strengthen their self-esteem, carried out hundreds of workshops and educational programs on family therapy methods and wrote many books; more significant is the "Systemic Family Therapy" based on the lessons she delivered to the Institute for Mental Research and the"Peoplemaking " in which she stressed, among other things, the great importance of self-esteem g. Her books made her theories known to the general public and her achievements were recognized by the American Association for Family and Marriage Care and by the Academy of Certified Social Workers. The effect of her theories remains alive in many different branches of modern psychotherapy until today.

Satir, who had two daughters, was diagnosed in the summer of 1988 to be suffering from pancreatic cancer and she died within 2 months after the diagnosis, on September 10.