How ‘I’ met Virginia Satir

Jerry Weinberg and me (1)When I was recently at Problem Solving Leadership (PSL) workshop run by Jerry Weinberg and Esther Derby, I had the opportunity to eat lunch with Jerry and to ask him how he had come to meet Virginia Satir.  He was very happy to be asked this question.  

He started by explaining to me how when he was first studying psychology, he had read Frogs into Princes, one of the first Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) books, in which Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson were both mentioned. Based on the publication date of that book, 1979, and Virginia’s birth year, 1916, he had mistakenly assumed Virginia was already deceased.  Some time later – perhaps a year or two, by around 1985, he discovered she was still alive and was astonished and thrilled. He made sure to immediately find out where to meet her and some time later, he was able to. This is the recollection Jerry shared of their first meeting.

‘I could take you right now to the exact hotel in Mt Crested Butte, Colorado, into the exact room in that hotel, and point to the exact spot within that room, even which floorboard – where she was greeting people, one at a time, in a sort of ‘receiving’ line.  The reason I can remember this is that Virginia made each and every person she encountered feel like they were the exact focus of the universe for the time they had with her.  And those minutes felt like an eternity. You see, once I had experienced that kind of attention, it was indelibly imprinted on me.  After that, I was determined to become her student and spent many months and years training with her.  Eventually I became one of her favorite students.”

I saw the deep emotion in Jerry’s face as he described that first meeting (he was on the verge of what I’ll call happy memory tears, though I don’t know if they were sad reminiscing tears to him).  I found joy in myself because he was passing along not just the story of how he met her, but the meaning, and feelings he had at that moment.  And it helped me to understand Jerry in a different way – through connecting with emotion, which is something I cherish.

Jerry has passed on Satir’s influence to many people around the world – whether they know it or not. He has done this through his many great books about software development and consulting and also via his famed Amplify Your Effectiveness  and  Problem Solving Leadership experiential workshops.  Hearing Jerry tell his story first hand in this way, after having soaked up all the wisdom from his Satir-influenced books, was like finding the source of the Nile!

It was a great lunch and I’ll never ever forget it – city, hotel, as well as the table we sat at.

Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized

4 Comments on “How ‘I’ met Virginia Satir”

  1. Sharon Small Says:

    This is so great Andrea. I am a real fan of his books, even now re-reading The Secrets of Consulting and his book on writing The Fieldstone Method – what a creative, humorous and insightful man. You must be thrilled .. and thank you for sharing. I feel like I have met him vicariously through a friend.

  2. Paul Field Says:

    Thanks for sharing such a lovely story. And what a great example of how much difference it can make simply to give someone your full attention and make them the centre of the universe for a few minutes.


  3. Inspiring. And a nice illustration that we do not need six degrees of seperation to connect to great people: a couple of degrees can get you a long way.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: