Blended Family with a Troubled Boy
by Virginia Satir
Watch one of family therapy’s most esteemed pioneers in action! In this engaging video, Virginia Satir helps a blended family of four untangle longstanding parenting and communication issues.
Family therapy is not for the faint of heart, and if you’re working with a “blended” family, its challenges can be even more mystifying. The unique and complex dynamics of step-parenting, and its impact on family communication, can be difficult to track as we attempt to balance individual change with a systems focus. In this video, renowned therapist Virginia Satir leads a masterful session with a blended family of four. Starting with the relationship between stepdad Jerry and son Tim, Satir demonstrates how family engagement can be shifted through therapeutic warmth and innovative interventions.

Elaine and Jerry have been married five years, and over that period 16-year-old Tim has become sullen and withdrawn, and fallen into chronic truancy. Along with 12-year-old Tammy, the family meets with Satir to work through what they believe are Tim’s problems. You’ll witness Satir’s skill at assessment and at building authentic rapport while getting the details of the family dynamics. Using a creative combination of gentle, hands-on interventions and directive, facilitated discussion, Satir establishes a grounded environment that supports honest cross-communicaton, while also addressing the resistance that can arise during the therapeutic process.

Through Satir’s deft exploration of Jerry and Elaine’s relationship, the family gains a new awareness of the parenting issues influencing Tim’s withdrawal. As she gradually uncovers mom’s need for relief as a key to restoring everyone’s connection, you’ll witness firsthand why Satir is considered one of the pioneers of family therapy.

This video is a must for therapists looking to learn more about blended family systems, assessment, creative interventions, and Satir’s characteristic warm and engaging style. With commentary from one of Satir’s early students plus an introduction from Satir herself, this is a video you’ll want to add to your library.
In Depth
Virginia Satir is considered one of family therapy’s preeminent clinicians, and her work with this family is a great example of her warm style and intuitive, interactive approach. With this video, you’ll see why this luminary is still influencing therapists to this day.

Upon Satir’s meeting with this family of four, 16-year-old Tim has fallen into chronic truancy and a sullen attitude. After building an empathic alliance with the whole family, getting the details of the various family dynamics, Satir explores of Jerry and Elaine’s relationship—as opposed to pathologizing Tim, the family’s “identified patient”—and the family gains a new awareness of the parenting issues influencing Tim’s withdrawal. As she gradually uncovers Elaine’s need for relief as a key to restoring everyone’s connection, you’ll get a visceral feeling for the style of work Satir is known for. Nurturing, directive, experiential, and engaged, Satir exhibits a charismatic style that’s simultaneously unique and accessible.

If you’ve been meaning to watch this leading figure in action, you’ll be excited to discover her work now, as part of our comprehensive 5-video Virginia Satir Series.

By watching this video, you will:
  • Learn the principles of Satir’s approach to therapy with blended families.
  • Understand how a systems therapist can conduct guided sessions with parts of the family unit as well as the whole.
  • Identify creative interventions to support cross-communication and connection.

Length of video: 1:10:32

English subtitles available

Individual ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-454-1

Individual ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-454-3

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-455-X

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-455-0

Virginia Satir is one of the key figures in the development of family therapy. She believed that a healthy family life involved an open and reciprocal sharing of affection, feelings, and love. Satir made enormous contributions to family therapy in her clinical practice and training. She began treating families in 1951 and established a training program for psychiatric residents at the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute in 1955.

Satir served as the director of training at the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto from 1959-66 and at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur beginning in 1966. In addition, Satir gave lectures and led workshops in experiential family therapy across the country. She was well-known for describing family roles, such as "the rescuer" or "the placator," that function to constrain relationships and interactions in families. She is also known for creating the Virginia Satir Change Process Model, a psychological model developed through clinical studies.

Satir's genuine warmth and caring was evident in her natural inclination to incorporate feelings and compassion in the therapeutic relationship. She believed that caring and acceptance were key elements in helping people face their fears and open up their hearts to others. Above all other therapists, Satir's was the most powerful voice to wholeheartedly support the importance of love and nurturance as being the most important healing aspects of therapy. Unfortunately, Satir's beliefs went against the more scientific approach to family therapy accepted at that time, and she shifted her efforts away from the field to travel and lecture. Satir died in 1988 after suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Her most well-known books are Conjoint Family Therapy, 1964, Peoplemaking, 1972, and The New Peoplemaking, 1988.

See all Virginia Satir videos.
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