A few decades ago, when young therapists like myself watched Salvador Minuchin, Virginia Satir, Carl Whitaker, or other leading lights, it was like watching magicians—you didn’t know whether they were going to pull rabbits, iguanas, or some other strange, unexpected creatures out of the therapy hat. We watched as the clients they worked with changed before our eyes—becoming more alive, more open with one another, and more inventive in resolving their own problems.

Take a few minutes to experience one of these transformations in this classic video of Virginia Satir at work. It includes some introductory remarks by Steve Andreas, author of Virginia Satir: The Patterns of Her Magic, so you’ll know exactly what to watch for in the clip.

As you can see, Satir’s work has a quality of aliveness that is the fruit of her creativity and authenticity, and it has an energy and emotional ease that we’d all like to have more of in our practices.


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