Salvador Minuchin: A Shared History


I first met Salvador Minuchin in the early 1970s when I was a student in the master’s program in clinical psychology at San Francisco State University. He was teaching a workshop in Berkeley. Since my financial means were meager and I could only attend workshops by being a student volunteer, I volunteered as Sal’s cameraman.

salvador minuchinThere was a short staff meeting prior to Sal’s workshop and I remember being intimidated. Sal was intense and confrontative and I was afraid that he would turn that penetrating force in my direction. As it turned out, he did so years later, in a most positive way. Sal is one of the architects of family therapy and I invited him to be faculty at the first Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference in 1985. From that point on he became a regular faculty member at the Evolution Conferences.

I got to know Sal personally at the first Evolution Conference. He offered a stunning and insightful address entitled, “My Many Voices.” I had asked the faculty at that conference to present speeches on the essentials of their respective approaches. Instead, Sal examined and appraised the field of family therapy. And rather than extolling his own approach, he talked about his seminal influences — Satir, Whitaker, and Haley — and how they spoke through him. I was so inspired that I re-read his 1985 address several times so that I could completely grasp the content and underlying processes.

I shared the podium with Sal on numerous occasions since 1985. We have taught together in many foreign countries, including Mexico, Brazil, Germany, and Spain. I cherish those times and I am still excited to learn from him.

Sal is more than a colleague; he has become a friend.  Sal is one of those people who defies description, but I can at least say that he is wise, a dramatist, a systems thinker, and a remarkable therapist. He has honored me by making me the curator of the Minuchin Archives – a position that I happy to fill.

Sal will be 95 years old in December when he offers his keynote, “Deconstructing Minuchin” at the Evolution Conference. He has much to teach us. And, we will have another opportunity to honor him for his extraordinary contributions.

My colleagues and I at the Erickson Foundation created the following tribute (which includes clips from previous Evolution Conferences) for the March 2017 Psychotherapy Networker Conference at which Sal was honored. To get a better of idea of who Sal Minuchin is and what his perspectives are, please follow this link: https://youtu.be/MG-UvrVEkzw

You can also find peerless sessions of Sal conducting family therapy on psychotherapyvideo.com.

Please join me at the 2017 Evolution Conference to continue to learn from, and pay tribute to, Sal Minuchin, who has been a pioneer and innovator in the field of family therapy for more than five decades.

Jeffrey K. Zeig, PhD

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