SATIR'S EXISTENTIAL/HUMANIST APPROACH

Family is the most fundamental place where individuals begin to learn about life. We are born into it and find ourselves within the family system. Our thoughts and behaviors begin to take shape within this system, and our first learnings happen with our family. For this reason, when examining the difficulties people experience, it is of great importance to consider the family system. Therefore, the topic we will delve into in detail in this article is one of the approaches within the family system, Virginia Satir's 'Existential/Humanistic Approach,' also known as the Experiential Approach. This approach, which has been recognized by many similar titles, was named by Virginia Satir as the 'Human Validation Process Model.

Sep 6, 2023 - 14:41
Sep 13, 2023 - 13:29
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SATIR'S EXISTENTIAL/HUMANIST APPROACH
SATIR'S EXISTENTIAL/HUMANIST APPROACH

SATIR'S EXISTENTIAL/HUMANISTIC APPROACH

Family is the most fundamental place where individuals begin to learn about life. We are born into it and find ourselves within the family system. Our thoughts and behaviors begin to take shape within this system, and our initial learnings occur within our family. Therefore, it is of great importance to consider the family system when examining the difficulties people experience. Hence, the topic we will extensively address in this article is one of the approaches within the family system, Virginia Satir's "Existential/Humanistic Approach," also known as the Experiential Approach. This approach, known by many similar titles, was named by Virginia Satir as the "Human Validation Process Model."

KEY CONCEPTS OF SATIR'S EXISTENTIAL APPROACH

At the core of her approach, Satir emphasizes that each person is unique and special, highlighting the concept of self-worth (self-esteem). From someone who embraces this value, it is expected that they are aware that everyone is unique and special. Satir expressed that individuals are unique in the following way: "You are a member of the human race, and you are a miracle. Moreover, you are a 'unique, one-of-a-kind miracle'" (F. Akkoyun; 2019).

The importance of communication is also emphasized in the approach. Functional communication is described as open, consistent, measured, and appropriate. On the other hand, four problematic communication patterns are discussed, which include placaters who strive to please others, blamers who resemble bosses with their harshness and accusations, computer people who analyze everything and prioritize logic, and distractors who focus on things that have no meaning. Satir highlights that people resort to these patterns during moments of stress, emphasizing that there is no inherently "bad" person but rather problematic communication processes.

Another fundamental concept is the "family triangle." This concept is crucial in many family theories and represents the group consisting of three members of the family: mother, father, and child. Satir believes that children learn many things starting from this triangle. According to her, this triangle holds significant power and can provide excellent support if used effectively.

While discussing concepts, she also mentions the personal mandala and family rules. To briefly touch upon these concepts, the personal mandala discusses eight dimensions (body, thoughts, emotions, sensations, relationships, context, nutrition, and spirit) and emphasizes that they work interdependently and should not be considered separately. In terms of family rules, Satir suggests that rules should be flexible, changeable, and age-appropriate.

THERAPEUTIC TECHNIQUES OF THE APPROACH

  • Creating the Family Sculpture: This technique is often used in communication problems within families (but not limited to this situation). Family members are asked to take on positions that reflect their communication within the family. The therapist may ask various questions to help family members understand their thoughts and feelings or select one person to position family members and ask for their comments. For example, a child can be asked to position their family members and explain why they are in those positions.

  • Family Stress Ballet: This technique is a continuation of the previous one. Members are expected to perform actions that reflect their experiences. While guidance can be provided, it can also be limited to observation.

  • Communication Analysis: This technique is used to establish functional communication and understand communication problems. The narrative of the event is requested, and communication is analyzed, with a focus on emotions during the process. This helps create awareness.

  • Therapist's Communication: In this approach, therapists can use reframing, humor, and metaphor techniques. These techniques help clients see things from different perspectives.

  • Touch: As the name suggests, this technique involves physical touch. It is recommended to be careful and appropriate. The touch should convey the message that the client is not alone and is safe. Satir emphasizes the importance of respectful touch in forming a special connection.

  • Family Thermometer: There are five main topics in this technique: appreciation, life's negatives, riddles, new information, hopes, and desires. Family members are asked to create this thermometer together and place it in a visible location. They are encouraged to talk about it, share their thoughts, and interact with each other regarding this thermometer.

  • Client's Parts Party: This technique is aimed at helping the client understand their internal state. The client is asked to observe their feelings and different states from an external perspective. In a group setting, participants take on roles based on the client's descriptions, helping the client accept that each role belongs to them and gain self-understanding.

Overall, the goal of this approach is to increase self-esteem among family members, help them realize their potential, and maintain peace within the family by promoting functional communication.

REFERENCES

Nancy L. Murdock, "Psikolojik Danışma ve Psikoterapi Kuramları Olgu Sunumu Yaklaşımıyla," Translated by Füsun Akkoyun (Ankara: Nevzat Argun, 2019).

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Sevgi Gassaloğlu Merhabalar, ben Sevgi Gassaloğlu. Lisans eğitimimi Aydın Adnan Menderes Üniversitesi'nde almaktayım. Psikolojik Danışmanlık ve Rehberlik Bölümü 4. sınıf öğrencisiyim. 2020-2021 yılında UPÖY topluluğu içerisinde yer aldım ve topluluk tarafından farklı alanlarda çalışma deneyimi olan hocalar ile planlanmış online seminerlere katılım gösterdim. 2023 yılında üniversite hocamın yürütmekte olduğu "Aile Yılmazlığı" adlı TÜBİTAK projesinde 2 ay boyunca veri toplama süreci çalışmalarına gönüllü olarak katıldım. Aynı zamanda lisans süresince iki ayrı özel kurumda toplamda 4 aylık bir deneyimim oldu. Bu blog sayfamızda da alanım ile ilgili olarak psikopatoloji, terapi, teoriler kısmında öğrendiğim bilgileri, araştırmaları sizlerle paylaşmak temel amacımdır. Kendime deneyim kazandırmak, hayatımda yeni öğrenmeler gerçekleştirmek için sizlerleyim. Hepinize keyifli okumalar dilerim :)