Yvonne M. Agazarian, Ed. D. (born 1931) is the principal architect of systems-centered therapy, based on a theory of Living Human Systems that she also developed. Agazarian teaches, trains, and supervises systems-centered therapists internationally, is the founder of the Systems-Centered Training & Research Institute, and practices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Awards and achievements
In 1997, the American Psychological Association awarded her Group Psychologist of the Year "for her involvement in research, publication, teaching and training. She exemplifies the finest in scholarship in the discipline of psychology. As a group psychologist, she has contributed to expanding our knowledge of the boundaries between clinical and social psychology with the investigation of living human systems and systems-centered group and individual therapy. Her considerable body of work illustrates the highest blend of creativity and learning".
Her book, "Systems-Centered Therapy for Groups", was also published in 1997
Origins of theory
Agazarian had from the sixties been interested in the paradigm clash presented by her training in individual psychotherapy and in group therapy, and in the possibility of overcoming it: from the eighties onwards, she explored the possibility of resolving it through general systems theory.
It was, however, the challenge presented in the following decade by health maintenance organizations and their stress on short-term therapy, that propelled her into devising systems-centered therapy, in order (she states) to discover "how to think about short-term therapy in a way that maintained the integrity and values of our work".
The influences she credits on her work range from W. R. Bion and John Bowlby to Erwin Schrödinger and Ludwig von Bertalanffy, reflecting both her intellectual range and the trajectory of her movement from psychoanalysis through whole-group therapy to systems centered therapy.
- Susan P. Gantt, 'Introduction' in Yvonne Agazarian, Systems-Centered Theory and Practice (2011) p. xv
- Agazarian, Theory and Practice p. xii
- Gantt, p. xvi-vii
- Yvonne Agazarian, A Systems-Centered Approach to Inpatient Group Psychotherapy (2001) p. 9-10
- Agazarian, Inpatient p. 7
- "Systems-Centered Therapy for Groups" (New Ed Edition October 2004; originally published 1997)
- "Autobiography of a Theory: Developing the Theory of Living Human Systems and Its Systems-Centered Practice" (August 2000)
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