How to achieve a Real Healthy Family


A lot of us strive for our families to be happy. This is understandable and yet no-one is happy all the time so, as parents know, their job is to create an environment where people can learn how to cope and deal with the inevitable ups and downs of life.





The Power of the Family System


Early family experiences teach people:


How to cope

How to fit in

How to stay safe

How to get your needs met

How to trust

The balance of responsibility


These are primitive learning strategies, stored deep in the brain and it’s probably the hardest thing for parents to teach.


Virginia Satir was a renowned family therapist and at the heart of her work was the drive to empower individuals in a family system. Virginia looked beyond the over simplistic approach of blaming the parents, and instead looked to understand the whole system, the parents upbringing and patterns of behaviour passed through generations.



She creates The Five Freedoms which are a useful guide for creating real healthy family systems.


The Five Freedoms for Health Families by Virginia Satir

1      The freedom to see and hear what is here, instead of what “should” be, was, or will be.

2      The freedom to say what you feel and think, instead of what you “should” feel and think.

3      The freedom to feel what you feel, instead of what you “ought” to feel.

4      The freedom to ask for what you want, instead of always waiting for permission.

5      The freedom to take risks on you own behalf, instead of choosing to be only “secure”.


Virginia adopted some useful assumptions in her family work, that empower families to accept where they are and know when and how to change. Some of the most useful included:

  • Change is possible. Believe it.

  • No task in life is more difficult as the role of parent. Parents do the best they can do given time the resources they “see” available to them at any given time.

  • The major goal in life is to become own choice makers, agents and architects of our life and relationships.

  • Most people choose familiarity over comfort, especially in times of stress.

  • Appreciating and accepting the past increases our ability to manage present.


No-one has the perfect upbringing. Even the most balanced an educated parents couldn’t see inside your head and know how you reacted or what meaning you made of your early experiences. By understanding the dynamics of families you can become more accepting or yourself and others, create and maintain healthy boundaries with others and build a better relationship with your family – whatever that means for you.





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