Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Artists of Psychotherapy: Virginia Satir, Carl Whittaker and John Bradshaw

By Sara Niles

In every discipline and profession, you find those who work on a ‘below’ average level, an average level and the ‘above average level’; these are the talented ones, the artists within their fields.
Sigmund Freud was one of the earliest among those who fall into this caliber of awareness that enabled him to give the world a view into the psychic mechanisms behind human behavior; but as the world of psychology expanded, several extraordinary people came to the fore.

In order to appreciate what is involved in therapy and psychotherapy, it is important to realize that the mind governs the  thinking, feeling and behavior of a person; and if the mind gives faulty instructions, then there will be flaws in either or all of those areas.  Cognitive psychology usually deals with the thinking, Behavioral Psychology with the behavior and Psychoanalytic usually deals with the emotions as perceived or experienced. The branches of psychology and those who work within them, often stick to one of the specialties; however, truly talented therapists do on limit themselves, but tend to be able to see the person as a component of all three: their thinking, feeling and behaviors, from childhood through adulthood.
I have selected three of my favorite artists of psychotherapy:

 Virginia Satir (1916-1988) Pioneered Family Therapy; identified the fact that the ‘presenting’ problem in family was seldom the problem, since it was simply a symptom of deeper problems. Satir developed a model designed to get to the root of the issues in a family.

Carl Whittaker (1912-1995) Whittaker was a mix between Dr. Phil, with his no-nonsense approach and Virginia Satir’s treatment of the family as a unit with hidden agendas. Whittaker was known to ‘break the rules’ and do such things as shock the patient to force them out of their stuck positions and beliefs.

John Bradshaw (b. 1933): Expert on family dynamics and the ‘inner child’ and international bestselling author of self-help books.
Presentation on YouTube: