Patricia Minuchin, Ph.D.
promoted paradigm shifts by way of a "butterfly effect."She
stimulated profound changes through subtle, gentle and persistent innovations at just the right time and place. Pat's
1985 paper, "Families and individual development: Provocations from the field of family therapy," in Child Development , was timed just when developmental psychology was becoming aware of relational effects beyond dyads.Pat's insemination of this field with systems theory stimulated systemic developmental theories and research, some of which will hopefully reverberate back to family systems. Pat
has been influential in bringing developmental considerations into family systems work.Her book, "Working with Families of the Poor," (second edition 2007, J.Colapinto, S.Minuchin co-authors), has been a classic since first published a decade ago.
The book beautifully sets forth a developmental systemic approach to moving service systems toward a family orientation, training workers to be systemic, while helping foster care systems in NYC to evolve.
Sal is Pat's husband, and they have a son, Dan, a family therapist/supervisor, and a daughter, Jean, an artist/teacher, and mother to Colleen, their cherished 14 year-old granddaughter.Pat is Professor Emerita at Temple University, Research Professor at NYU and Co-Director, with Sal, of Family Studies, Inc.Pat
has left behind university and research to immerse herself in the efforts of people concerned with helping families to function better, and service organizations to become more humane and effective.Although changes at this level are slow and at times irregular, Pat
has created a "butterfly effect" that no doubt will continue to enrich systems evolution.
The "butterfly effect" is an apt metaphor for the nature of change that Pat
has inspired.It also portrays eloquently the gentleness, subtly and grace with which she
engenders change.It is an honor to be her
colleague and friend, and to present her
"Award for Innovative Contribution to Family Therapy."