Widening Our Lens, Deepening our Practice: An Exploration of Energy within the Teachings of Virginia Satir

  • Mary Elizabeth Leslie Member Satir Institute of the Pacific BC Association of Social Workers
Keywords: energy, life energy, universal life energy, spirituality, congruence, Virginia Satir, iceberg metaphor, presence


This article seeks, through a deeper examination of Virginia Satir’s meditations, tapes, and writing, to bring greater attention to her concept of energy and how she applied this to her own practice. Satir frequently talked about centering and energy and acknowledged her unique way of seeing and being to a few close colleagues. Her meditations and comments about how she uses meditations provide a clearer picture of her way of centering, and con-necting with the universal life energy, which was foundational to her way of being and engaging with clients and students. The article also draws from the teachings of Carl Rogers, Eugene Gendlin and colleagues, and Dora Kunz and Dolores Krieger (founders of Therapeutic Touch) to explore the under-lying assumptions of an energetic framework and more fully illuminate this aspect of Satir's work. Through this review of her ideas and meditations, and excerpts from the author’s own experience with an energetic perspective, the goal will be to deepen awareness of therapists and their comfort with engaging clients through a more energetically focused lens.

Author Biography

Mary Elizabeth Leslie, Member Satir Institute of the Pacific BC Association of Social Workers
In private practice now, Formerly taught Group Work at the Masters Level