Communication Styles

“Look Who’s Talking”


Virginia Satir, a renowned family therapist,  talks about 5 different styles of communication that are adopted by family members.


l      The Blamer: This person acts as if he has the power in the relationship, blames others for things that go wrong. This position is designed to show dominance and is actually based on fear.

l      The Distracter: This person does and says things that take the focus off the issue of the moment. This position highlights the power of irrelevance, in that it serves a useful purpose, in spite of its apparent absence of value.

l      The Placator: This person overtly agrees with people whether he does or not, even if he is furiously angry. This “whatever you say” position devalues self in relation to the other.

l      The Reasoner: This person lacks emotion, presenting himself in a very logical way. Being cut off from feelings, which have no bearing on the facts, drives this position.

l      The Congruent: This person expresses feelings in congruence with what is being said. The body language as well as the verbs language  all match the feelings.




Ideally, one should be able to communicate thoughts and feelings directly, reciprocally and fearlessly in an environment that is open to feedback of its members.