Evolving to Become More Fully Human- Early Contributors to the Satir Model

  • Steven Bentheim Dept. of Educational Psychology, University of Victoria


Virginia Satir benefitted from many predecessors, such as Emerson, Mary Baker Eddy, Martin Buber and Gregory Bateson, who advanced experiential spirituality with healthy human relating and communicating. Her concern was similar to the American philosopher Emerson that one’s self-worth is not guaranteed from one’s family, church or workplace and thus advocated taking the inner journey to “trust thyself.”

From her mother’s faith in Christian Science, Satir aligns with Mary Baker Eddy’s assertion that genders are of equal value, along with the importance of human affection in the home. From the philosopher Martin Buber, Satir focused on connecting with the divine in one another. Gregory Bateson, one of Virginia’s closest contemporaries, offered a technical understanding of communication processes from exploring South Pacific Islanders and cybernetic research that are just beginning to be understood. These approaches continue to find ways to heal the individual and the family.