Satir Change Model

The Satir Change Model is a change model for organisations and individuals that tracks the stages of turbulence and chaos through the change cycle.
Satir Change Model Mutomorro
Download a free Satir Change Model Template

What is the Satir Change Model

The Satir Change Model is a psychological and organisational change management model developed by the esteemed family therapist, Virginia Satir. It is designed to help individuals, families, and organisations navigate through the complex process of change and successfully adapt to new situations. The model is based on Satir’s extensive experience in working with families and organisations, and her keen insights into the dynamics of human relationships and communication.

The Satir Change Model is centred around the idea that change is an inevitable part of life, and that it can be a positive force for growth and development if properly managed. The model identifies five stages of change that individuals and organisations typically go through, which are the Old Status Quo, Resistance, Chaos, Integration, and New Status Quo. By understanding these stages and the emotions and behaviours associated with each, individuals and organisations can better anticipate the challenges of change and minimise its potential negative impacts.

The Satir Change Model is applicable to a wide range of situations, including personal growth and development, family dynamics, and organisational change. It has been used by therapists, coaches, consultants, and managers to help individuals and organizations navigate the complex process of change and achieve their goals.

How is the Satir Change Model used?

The Satir Change Model is used to provide a framework for understanding and managing the process of change, whether it be in an individual’s life, a family, or an organisation. It helps individuals and organisations recognise and anticipate the emotions, thoughts, and behaviours that typically arise at each stage of the change process. By understanding these stages and the underlying dynamics, individuals and organisations can develop strategies to effectively manage the change process and minimise its potential negative impacts.

The Satir Change Model can also be used as a diagnostic tool for identifying the current stage of the change process and determining the most appropriate interventions to facilitate progress. It allows individuals and organisations to gain a clearer perspective on the change process, identify potential obstacles, and develop strategies for overcoming them.

In addition, the Satir Change Model serves as a valuable communication tool for individuals and organisations undergoing change. The model provides a common language and framework for discussing the change process and the emotions, thoughts, and behaviours associated with each stage. This can facilitate more open and constructive dialogue, enabling individuals and organisations to better understand and support each other throughout the change process.

Steps of the Satir Change Model

1. Old Status Quo

Satir Change Model - 1. Old Status Quo

The first stage of the Satir Change Model is the Old Status Quo, which represents the existing state of affairs prior to the introduction of change. In this stage, individuals and organisations are typically comfortable with their routines, relationships, and ways of thinking. They may feel a sense of stability, predictability, and security, and be resistant to the idea of change.

During the Old Status Quo stage, it is important for individuals and organisations to recognise the need for change and to begin considering the potential benefits and challenges associated with it. They may need to assess their current situation, identify areas for improvement, and develop a vision for the future.

2. Resistance

Satir Change Model 2. Resistance Mutomorro

The second stage of the Satir Change Model is Resistance, which occurs when individuals and organisations begin to confront the reality of change and the potential disruption it may cause. This stage is characterised by feelings of fear, anxiety, and confusion, as well as behaviours such as denial, avoidance, and resistance to change.

During the Resistance stage, it is essential for individuals and organisations to acknowledge and validate their feelings and concerns, and to develop strategies for managing them. This may involve seeking support from others, engaging in self-reflection, and developing a more flexible and adaptable mindset.

3. Chaos

Satir Change Model - 3. Chaos Stage

The third stage of the Satir Change Model is Chaos, which represents the period of uncertainty, confusion, and disorientation that typically follows the introduction of change. In this stage, individuals and organisations may feel overwhelmed by the challenges of change and unsure of how to proceed. They may experience a loss of control and a sense of helplessness, and may struggle to make sense of their new situation.

During the Chaos stage, it is crucial for individuals and organisations to remain patient and resilient, recognising that this stage is a natural and necessary part of the change process. They may need to seek guidance and support from others, experiment with new ways of thinking and behaving, and develop a greater tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty.

4. Integration

Satir Change Model - 4. Integration Stage

The fourth stage of the Satir Change Model is Integration, which involves the gradual assimilation and internalisation of new ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. In this stage, individuals and organisations begin to make sense of their new situation, develop new routines and relationships, and adapt to their changed circumstances.

During the Integration stage, it is important for individuals and organisations to continue learning and experimenting, and to be open to feedback and adjustment. They may need to refine their strategies, develop new skills, and cultivate a sense of optimism and confidence in their ability to navigate change successfully.

5. New Status Quo

Satir Change Model - 5. New Status Quo Stage

The final stage of the focus on readjusting to the new status quo. During this period, people begin to settle into new ways of operating and being. It’s characterised by a reduction in chaos and changes in behaviour that demonstrate the change process has reach the end of its cycle.

The New Status Quo is a time to focus on and celebrate success, review lessons learnt and reflect on the growth (organisationally or personally) that has been achieved.

Using the Satir Change Model for Organisational Change

The Satir Change Model can be an invaluable tool for organisations undergoing change, providing a framework for understanding and managing the complex emotions, thoughts, and behaviours that often accompany organisational change. By recognising the stages of the change process and the dynamics associated with each, organisations can develop strategies to effectively manage change and minimise its potential negative impacts.

The Satir Change Model can also help organisations identify potential obstacles and resistance to change, and develop strategies for overcoming them. This may involve engaging in open and honest communication with employees, providing support and resources, and fostering a culture of learning and adaptability.

In addition, the Satir Change Model can serve as a valuable tool for evaluating the progress and effectiveness of organisational change initiatives. By understanding the stages of the change process and the indicators of progress, organisations can more accurately assess their change efforts and make adjustments as needed.

Limitations of the Satir Change Model

While the Satir Change Model provides a valuable framework for understanding and managing change, it is important to recognise its limitations. The model is based on Satir’s experiences with families and individuals, and although it has been applied to organisational change, it may not fully capture the complexity and unique dynamics of organisational settings.

Furthermore, the Satir Change Model is a descriptive model, outlining the stages and dynamics of change but not providing specific guidance on how to navigate the change process. It is up to individuals and organisations to develop their own strategies and interventions, based on their unique circumstances and needs.

Finally, it is important to remember that the Satir Change Model is just one of many change management models and approaches available, and that organisations may need to draw on a variety of tools and resources to effectively manage change.

Summary of the Satir Change Model

The Satir Change Model is a powerful and insightful framework for understanding and managing the complex process of change, whether it be in an individual’s life, a family, or an organisation. By recognising the stages of change and the emotions, thoughts, and behaviours associated with each, individuals and organisations can better anticipate the challenges of change and minimise its potential negative impacts.

The Satir Change Model can serve as a valuable tool for communication, diagnosis, and evaluation in the context of change, and can help individuals and organisations develop effective strategies for navigating the change process. It is particularly useful for organisations undergoing change, providing a framework for understanding and managing the complex dynamics of change in a structured and systematic way.

While the Satir Change Model has its limitations, it remains a valuable tool for individuals and organisations looking to manage change effectively. By developing a clear understanding of the change process and the emotions, thoughts, and behaviours associated with each stage, individuals and organisations can develop strategies to effectively manage change and achieve their goals.

Satir Change Model Template

Click the link to download this Satir Change Model template to explore with your own team or organisation.

Satir Change Model

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 James Freeman-Gray 

I'm James. A change consultant and organisational development specialist. I've been working in people-centred change for over 15 years. I partner with causes, champions, teams & leaders on projects for social, environmental, technological & human good. If you think I can support in making your change a success, drop me a message. 

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