Clinical Supervision

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Clinical Supervision: A study into the practice of Virginia Satir

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction3

Introduction: the researcher and the Study3

An Invitation5

Locating the researcher7

The dream weaver8

The wounded-child8

The healed-healer9

The insider and follower10

Overview of the study11

Chapter 2: Literature Review12


The Supervision Process17

Supervisor Role17

Supervisee Role19

Growth of the Field21

Current Status27

The Clinical Supervisor32

Education and Training33

Certifications and Licensure34

Ethical Guidelines34

Supervision Process35

Management and/or Administration36




Supervision of Clinical Supervisors41

Future Directions43


Chapter 3: Methodology47

Defining the Research Question51

Formulating a Conceptual Model53

Methods of Data Collection53

Recording Qualitative Data56

Data Analysis57

Reliability and Validity59


Clinical Psychology & Virginia Satir

Chapter 1: Introduction

Introduction: the researcher and the Study

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 (Nichols & Schwartz, 1998. Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods. 4th ed. Allyn & Bacon).

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 (Nichols & Schwartz, 1998. Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods. 4th ed. Allyn & Bacon). 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.

An Invitation

Satir's life work enabled her to become a key figure in the development of family therapy. Her true practice began in 1951, a few years before she established a training program for psychiatric residents at the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute. In chapter one of her book "Conjoint Family Therapy," she answered the question as to "Why Family Therapy...because it deal[s] with family pain (Satir, 1967, p. 1)."

According to Satir (1967), when one person in the family shows some form of symptoms, it will effect as well as affect all the members of that family-they all feel his or her pain and it be comes a type of symptom sharing. Studies have shown that families behave as units. For instance, Jackson (1954) was the one who first introduced the term "family homeostasis"-the family acting overtly or covertly to achieve a balanced relationship, to refer to the behavior (Satir, ...
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