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Virginia Satir’s Communication Styles. counsellingcentral.com / virginia - satir ... communication -modes .

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virginia satir s communication styles

Virginia Satir’s Communication Styles

counsellingcentral.com/virginia-satir...communication-modes

slide2

Virginia Satir was a world-renowned family therapist for forty-five years until her death in1988. She dedicated her life to helping people grow and heal and is recognized by many as “one of the most influential modern psychologists and a founder of family therapy.”

  • As a therapist she developed process-oriented systems to lead people to tap into their internal resources to create external changes. She believed that people’s internal view of themselves, their sense of self-worth and self-esteem, was the underlying root of their problems. She based her techniques and processes around looking clearly and congruently inward at oneself to view how we originally learned to cope with our world. She believed that the problem was not the problem but how one coped with the problem was the problem. Satir developed and named four stances for viewing how one copes or originally learned to survive.
slide3

ComputerIf you are the computer, you are very correct, very reasonable, with no semblance of any feeling showing.

  • You are calm, cool, and collected. You could be compared to an actual computer or dictionary.
  • A computer uses the longest words possible, even if you aren't sure of the meanings. You will at least SOUND intelligent. After one paragraph, no one will be listening anyway. Keep everything about yourself as motionless as possible, including your mouth.
  • When you are computing, your voice will naturally go dead because you have no feeling from the cranium down. You are kept busy choosing the right words.
  • After all, you should never make a mistake! The sad part of this role is that it seems to represent an ideal goal for many people.
  • "Say the right words, show no feeling; don'treact."
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BlamerThe blamer is a fault-finder, a dictator, a boss. If you are a blamer, you act superior and seem to be saying: "If it weren't for you, everything would be all right.

  • " Good blaming requires you to be as loud as tyrannical as you can. Cut everything and everyone down.
  • Start your sentences with "You never do this or you always do that or why do you always or why do you never . . . ?" and so on.
  • Think of yourself standing with one hand on your hip and the other arm extended with your index finger pointed straight out. Your face is screwed up, your lips curled, your nostrils flared as you yell, call names, and criticize everything under the sun. You don't really feel you are worth anything, either.
  • So if you can get someone to obey you, then you feel you count for something.
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PlacaterThe placater always talks in an ingratiating way, trying to please, apologizing, never disagreeing, no matter what. If you are a placater, you are a "yes man." You talk as though you could do nothing for yourself; you must always get someone to approve of you. You owe everybody gratitude, and you really are responsible for everything that goes wrong.

  • Naturally you will agree with any criticism made about you. You are, of course, grateful for the fact that anyone actually talks to you, no matter what they say or how they say it. Be the most syrupy, martyrish, bootlicking person you can be.
  • Think of yourself as being physically down on one knee, wobbling a bit, putting one hand out in a begging fashion, and be sure to have your head up so your neck will hurt and your eyes will become strained so in no time you begin to get a headache. You will be saying "yes" to everything, no matter what you feel or think..
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DistractorWhatever the distractor does or says is irrelevant to what anyone else is saying or doing.

  • When you play the distracting role, it will help if you think of yourself as a kind of lopsided top, constantly spinning, but never knowing where you are going, and not realizing it until you get there.
  • Make sure that you are never on the point with your words. Ignore everyone's questions; maybe come back with one of your own on a different subject. Take a piece of imaginary lint off someone's garment, untie shoelaces, and so on.
  • At first this role seems like a relief, but after a few minutes of play, the terrible loneliness and purposefulness arise.
  • If you can keep yourself moving fast enough, you won't notice it so much .
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Virginia Satir Personality Categories

  • By Andrew Fogg Feb. 6, 2011
  • Virginia Satir developed what she called survival stances to demonstrate how people cope with problems. The four survival stances are placating, blaming, being super-reasonable, and being irrelevant. She thought that these stances developed through people’s lives from childhood from a state of low self-worth, low self-esteem and imbalance, in which people give their power to someone or something else. People adopt survival stances to protect their self-worth against verbal and nonverbal, perceived and presumed threats.
  • She illustrated each of the stances in terms of their respect or disrespect of “context”, “self” and “others.” She also identified body positions to illustrate each of the stances and associated physiological effects resulting from the stances.
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PlacatingA person who has a placating stance views others and context to hold more value than their own true feelings. They are nice when they do not feel nice, they take the blame when things go wrong, they try to alleviate others problems and pain. Physiological effects that placators typically experience are digestive tract disorders, migraines and constipation. The placator respects the context and the others, while disrespecting themselves.

slide9

BlamingA person who has a blaming stance discounts others and counts only the self and context. They hold the belief that they must not be weak, they harass and accuse others for continually making things go wrong. They say things to themselves like “If it wasn’t for …, I wouldn’t be in this mess” and “I’ll beat the…out of you!” A typical physiological complaint of a blamer is chronic stiffness due to rapid and shallow breathing. The blamer respects the context and and themselves, while disrespecting others.

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Being Super-ReasonableA super-reasonable person discounts himself and others and respects context only. He frequently knows lots of information and works solely from a logical or objective perspective. He says to himself things like “Everything is just a matter of logic, emotions are a waste of time” and “I must be more intelligent and show how intelligent I am.” Physiologically this stance is rather dry! The super reasonable person only respects the context, while disrespecting themselves and others.

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Being IrrelevantA person that is irrelevant discounts self, others and context. An irrelevant person is often seen as amusing or a clown. They can distract attention away from any stressful situation. Their internal dialogue will be about anything other than the matter in hand. They are physically active and inattentive by whistling, singing, blinking or fidgeting. They may appear unbalanced. The irrelevant person has no respect for themselves, others and the context.

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The Congruent Survival Stance

  • The ultimate goal of the Satir growth model is congruence. Satir held that high self-worth, self-esteem and congruence are the main “indicators of more fully functioning human beings.” The congruent person holds equal balance in terms of self, others, and context. “When we decide to respond congruently, it is not because we want to win, to control another person or a situation, to defend ourselves, or to ignore other people. Choosing congruence means choosing to be ourselves, to relate and contact others, and to connect with people directly.”
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Blogger: Adventurer 101

  • Are You a Placater, Blamer, Computer, Distractor or Leveler?
  • Posted on August 11, 2010 by adventurer101
  • In my previous post, I wrote about how to look at ourselves based on Virginia Satir theory of self. For this post, I’d like to continue basing my writing on her theory but this time it’s about pattern of communications.
  • In our every day life, we often encounter stress in our interaction with people – your boss demands you to get your work done NOW, your children nag you to get everything under the sun, your SO disapprove of your spending, etc.  All of these stress often impact our self-worth. We start to question whether we have been a good employee, parent, or partner. Virginia Satir, drawing for her many years of experience in helping people, saw that people have four universal patterns of communication while reacting to perceived threat.
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The four patterns of communication:

  • Placate - appease the other person to avoid

anger

  • Blame - the fault is on the other person
  • Compute - hide behind words and

intellectual concepts

  • Distract - ignore threat, hoping to go away if

done long enough.

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So what is a good stance? Virginia Satir called this stance leveling or flowing.

  • Leveler
  • A leveler responds to situations congruently. In this stance, our body, voice, facial expressions are all of a match. The relationship feels easy, free, and honest.
  • A leveler apologizes when she makes a mistake. If an error has been committed, she will evaluate fairly without blaming.
  • Sometimes she will be talking intellectually as when she is lecturing or explaining something but her feeling is still intact. There is no machine-like feeling when dealing with this person.  
slide16

When there is a problem, she will deal appropriately rather than shoving it under the rug.

  • A leveler conducts life with integrity, commitment, and creativity. She is able to work out problems in a real way.
  • Satir found that when people start to level, they found their hearts, feelings, bodies, and brains.
  • As a result they found their souls and humanity.
  • What a wonderful finding, don’t you think?