Remembering Sal Minuchin

November 12, 2017

We at NYSEPH are saddened to hear about the death of Dr. Salvatore Minuchin, a pioneer of family therapy, and the father of our own colleague Dan Minuchin.
Sal Minuchin has indelibly influenced our practice and thinking about psychotherapy. He was a generous, progressive and innovative practitioner. Sal was at the forefront of the development of family therapy; he saw the limitations of psychoanalysis and developed a more dynamic treatment. He often worked with families who had financial hardships, taking on (according to The Washington Post) “the hard cases of delinquency and poverty that many in his field considered beyond help.”
At his Philadelphia family therapy clinic with Jay Hayley, Sal trained as therapists poor community residents who had no more than high school degrees in an attempt to more thoroughly engage the people whom the clinic served, rejecting the idea that only highly educated, trained veterans of psychoanalysis could be therapists.
It’s easy to see why Sal Minuchin has been admired for so many years. Like Milton Erickson, Sal was committed to helping his patients and to making his therapy accessible both financially and culturally to the people who needed it. Sal’s legacy is dynamic, thoughtful, and deeply engaged in helping people instead of in perpetuating blanket theoretical models.
When the work is hard, it is easy to forget the important reasons for doing it. Remembering Sal’s passion, commitment and creativity reignites our own. Thank you, Sal, for reminding us to stay passionate.

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