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72 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peoplemaking beats peoplebreaking!
Virginia Satir writes in an easy to relate to style about positive ways to support and encourage growth, development and understanding of the people in your family. Through simple games she helps you get in touch with what the existing relationships are among your family members and how they work, or why they may not be working as well as they might. She reaffirms...
Published on February 15, 2000 by Judy Hamilton

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37 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long-winded but decent advice.
My Comments:
I don't know that giving a summary of the book is feasible, so I'll just point out a few things that I liked and didn't like. First, the book is huge, 385 pages. Admittedly what Satir has to say is important and perhaps even very beneficial to some people, but I highly doubt anyone but the seriously interested in psychological self-help will wade their...
Published on April 2, 2003


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72 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peoplemaking beats peoplebreaking!, February 15, 2000
By 
Judy Hamilton (Fishers, Indiana) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The New Peoplemaking (Paperback)
Virginia Satir writes in an easy to relate to style about positive ways to support and encourage growth, development and understanding of the people in your family. Through simple games she helps you get in touch with what the existing relationships are among your family members and how they work, or why they may not be working as well as they might. She reaffirms that we own all of the parts of ourselves that make us who we are, and makes it easy and OK to take a look at them. Perhaps there are some behaviors that are puzzling, or get negative results that you see in yourself or other family members. After reading this book, you will see loving and comfortable ways to bring those behaviors into the light of day without criticism or embarrassment. Then, following simple but meaningful guidelines, you and your family will gain understanding and insight into behaviors and relationships that your family uses as its operating system. You will be able to work on changes that you decide to make, and continue to feel trust and support of your family. Perhaps they want to change some things too.
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53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Ok at best" forgive me, June 5, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The New Peoplemaking (Paperback)
May the last reviewer forgive me. After reading such review I felt compelled to speak up for this book. First of all, this is not a book about existential theory, so if that is what you are into, look elsewhere.
Existential theory is largerly individual. Satir on the other hand is a Family Systems theorist. I am not gifted enough to explain the difference well in a small space, but systems theories are worlds apart from individual, and perhaps especially, existential thought. What her theory is called is experiential, so maybe that was just a typo.
Anyway, I feel that saying that positioning bodies to match certain attitudes by begging on your knees was the theme of this book is a large exaggeration. That is by far not Satir's theme; it is only one chapter in a 26 or 27 chapter book. And, Satir herself claims trying those postures will probably feel ridiculous. They are simply meant to bring up exagerated feelings so we may begin to recognize when we are assuming certain roles in subtler situations in everyday life.
Her actual theme is communication, healthy and unhealthy, between family members and how it affects what goes on in the family. I would also say that her thoughts on self-esteem underly most of the rest of her thought.
Now the book is indeed long, but I do not believe in making something unduly short so it may make it in the top ten. Perhaps it would have been possible if she had wrote it in highly specialized terminology, but the grace of this book is her ability to make it simple. To do this, one has to explain what one means, and that takes space, but makes the book highly readable and friendly. I indeed agree with the reviewer who claimed if what you are looking for a quick family fix, you will waste your time looking here. Quick fixes were never known to change the world.
And folks, let us remember that this book is 16 years old. Corny, but very adorable. Still, good things last a long time. And if you must laugh at Satir, I doubt she would mind it; she herself claims in this very book we must be able to laugh at ourselves.
Just please, if you must heed some negative criticism about any book, (and this one is by no means perfect and immune to real negative criticism) just make sure it is by reviewers who have read the whole book.
Why someone who doesn't like a particular theory at the outset reads books about it I don't know. Hopefully not to feel entitlement at criticizing opposing viewpoints without even knowing the theory behind it.
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting and Encouraging, December 6, 2002
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This review is from: The New Peoplemaking (Paperback)
As a family man and soon counselor-to-be, I am dismayed at the number of books re: the family that are pathology oriented. If as a student all you ever were some of the mainstream texts/resources, which are so reductionistic, you would come away with a view of the family that would have you questioning whether or not the very institution itself is viable for sustaining the mental health of all of its members.
Not so Virginia Satir's work which is very positive and uplifting. She resists the temptation to simplistically blame everything on "dysfunction" between the partners in the "marital dyad," and instead looks at the family as a collection of imperfect individuals who all have a potential to grow and learn.
I especially like her emphasis on finding the family's strengths and building on those. Anyone can take a look and come up with "what's wrong." But this does nothing to solve problems and foster resiliency, which all families need in this decidedly familly-hostile culture.
Whether you are an experienced family therapist, counselor-to-be,or a mental health generalist, if you work with and have an interest in families, I encourage you to get to know the works of Virginia Satir. This one perfectly encapsulates her paradigm for working with families in need.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helping yourself and your family become better people., September 5, 2001
By 
Rev. Marlene Peterson (New Philadelphia,, Ohio USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The New Peoplemaking (Paperback)
I have used this book for many years as I work with parents. Virginia Satir was one of the first to use the "Family Systems" way of seeing a family. What happens to one person in the family affects all of the others. This book helps you understand that even an infant is a human being and should be treated as such. Her chapter on "Rules" is excellent. It is not laying down the rules from the parents to the children, but allowing everyone to have a say in the rules and she helps the family clarify just what rules everyone is operating under. You might be surprised that many rules are hidden and perceived differently by other members of the family. I love this book. It is good for helping establish good Self Worth, helps clarify communication patterns, helps establish rules everyone can live by and takes a look at the ways the family is attached to society. I am a pastor and have found this to be excellent in counseling situations and I was a single mother rearing four teen agers and could not have survived without Virginia's guidance. I highly recommend this book for counselors, parents and for every individual.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything you knew but couldn't put into words, June 9, 2002
By 
Megan Lang (WEBSTER, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The New Peoplemaking (Paperback)
Satir does a really good job of saying what should be common sense but isn't. She explains everything with such a passion and complete honesty so the book is always interesting. If not for the ideas she talks about, then for the way she says them. She has a very interesting sense of humor and her book is hilarious to read out loud because the sound of it is somewhat ridiculous. Her statements not only make sense, but also make you think. She relates all the problems in the world back to someone's low self-esteem and poor communication skills. At points she drones on and on, somewhat overdoing the point she was making and her exercises are quite strange and seemily awkward. I personally don't think they would work well without outside help because I don't think all family members would be willing to participate without someone making them in most families. In general, her ideas are timeless, although parts refering to technology and politics at the time it was written are outdated. This book explains how humans interact and where problems exist very thoroughly and I highly recommend it to anyone wishing to improve their relationships, as long as they can read beyond her words and corny phrases.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satir's ideas incorporated in work of PAIRS, February 19, 2008
This review is from: The New Peoplemaking (Paperback)
People who find Virgina Satir's work and ideas interesting will probably also enjoy reading "A Passage to Intimacy" by Lori Gordon. Gordon took the ideas of Satir, George Bach, Daniel Casriel and others and incorporated them into her relationship skills classes (PAIRS--Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills)--[...]
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37 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long-winded but decent advice., April 2, 2003
This review is from: The New Peoplemaking (Paperback)
My Comments:
I don't know that giving a summary of the book is feasible, so I'll just point out a few things that I liked and didn't like. First, the book is huge, 385 pages. Admittedly what Satir has to say is important and perhaps even very beneficial to some people, but I highly doubt anyone but the seriously interested in psychological self-help will wade their way through every page of this book - even though the type is big and there are gobs of pictures. Perhaps this will sound demeaning to Americans but we (I'm American too) seem to like answers that come in small packages; this is not a small package answer. I guess what I'm saying is that she could have covered all of the information in about half the space - cutting out a lot of unneeded stuff.
Now something positive: I think the content is pretty good. Satir has simplified her message to where the educated layperson can read it and omitted all of the psycho-babble. The advice she gives really reads like common sense, but that is the subtlety of the message - it sounds just like the way that things should be (for the most part) which, to me at least, means she is probably on the right track.
There are a couple of other things about the book that I didn't particularly like. First, near the end of the book Satir starts giving advice on how to attain world peace and how to solve the world's problems. Well, she's a family therapist and not a political scientist or a sociologist - she is out of her league here. What really drives the point home (pun is intended as you will see) is that she compares everything - national governments, international societies, etc. - to families. I guess when you only have a hammer (family therapy experience), everything begins to look like a nail (solving world hunger, ending the use of war to resolve conflicts, etc.) and can be solved the same way. Satir may know quite a bit about families, but I really didn't buy her advice on solving world problems.
Satir also discusses the notion of spirituality. Now, what makes this so interesting is that she seems to think that spirituality and understanding spirituality are very important for resolving mental health and family relations issues, as a matter of fact, I believe she calls it the most important thing that people can do to get healthy. But she only spends one chapter discussing spirituality. I'm guessing that she realizes that her book will absolutely not appeal to 'a'-spiritual people if she emphasizes spirituality too much so she cut the chapter short and left it at that. Well, maybe that was a good decision.
There are three more things I'll mention briefly and then I'm done. First, the concept of a healthy family is a relative one. She makes attempts to rationalize why her conception of a 'healthy' family is the right one, but they aren't particularly convincing. But, keep in mind, her conception is likely the societal norm; the point I am trying to make is that she doesn't do a good job of arguing her perspective. This leads to her biases. She doesn't reveal them until the end, but we end up finding out that she is a pacifist and feminist in either the last or second to last chapter. In my opinion, things like that should be revealed up front. Again, keep in mind that I don't disagree with those perspectives or opinions, I just think she should have revealed her biases at the beginning of the book instead of at the end.
Lastly, she has a tendency to make broad, sweeping statements about the way things are (how families were in the late 1800s for example) and fails to cite any references to back up her claims. Sure, this is a self-help book for the layperson, but this leaves the scholar wanting for evidence for her claims.
Overall, like I said above, I think the book has good advice. Whether or not it will make a difference for people pr families, I don't know. If you have to read the whole thing to change, then probably not; it's just too long. The exercises she suggest sound interesting, but I don't have any kids and most of them are designed around kids. Those that are for couples, well, I guess I could try them, but I think my relationship with my significant other is pretty good, so I'll pass for now and if there are problems, perhaps I'll pull it back out in the future. If you really think that you would be willing to use the exercises and you are committed to reading a very long book, perhaps this will help. If you are looking for a quick fix (which is not likely to help anyway), then don't waste your time or money because it isn't until you are willing to really work to make things better that something like a self-help book like The New Peoplemaking will make a difference.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, July 11, 2014
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This review is from: The New Peoplemaking (Paperback)
good stuf
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hurray for Satir, June 25, 2014
This review is from: The New Peoplemaking (Paperback)
I think she is an outstanding communicator. Her metaphors and analogies are great, She makes her theories very clear and understandable. Anyone study psychology should have a copy since it a fundamental text.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved, October 9, 2013
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This review is from: The New Peoplemaking (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. It actually helped me understand myself and my family a bit more. Would recommend for anyone.
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The New Peoplemaking
The New Peoplemaking by Virginia Satir (Paperback - January 1, 1988)
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