Virginia Satir: The Five Communication Modes

Virginia Satir believes there are four communication modes used to help avoid rejection. The fifth mode is positive and congruent.

Mode One: The Placater

Placaters are worried about scaring people off or making them angry, but they won’t admit to this. Common language used by a placater includes “I don’t mind, whatever you want to do”, or “you know me, I don’t really mind”. Two placaters talking together won’t make any firm plans or agree on a course of action.

Mode Two: Blamers

Blamers feel that nobody really loves or respects them. They compensate for this by talking as though they are in a position of power to hide their insecurity. Typical blamer speak includes “do you always have to put yourself first?”, or “Nobody ever considers my feelings”. When two blamers get together there is invariably a big argument!

Mode Three: Computers

Computers don’t want other people to understand how they are feeling. Common language used by computers includes “no rational person would be upset by this”, or “the advantages of doing things this way have clearly been over stated”. Not much gets agreed when two computers get together. 

Mode Four: Distracters

Distracters utilise all of the previous three modes of communication to cover up their anxieties and neurosis.

Mode Five: Levellers

Levellers are either extremely easy people to communicate with, or extremely difficult. They say what they mean, and mean what they say. In other words they are very straight talking. Talking to a leveller is refreshing because their body language reflects what they are saying and they are usually honest.

What mode of communication do you and/or your partner use? How do you feel this impacts on your relationship?

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Comments (1)

  1. Neil Tuesday - 17 / 01 / 2012
    This is really great and I would like to learn more about Virginia Satir

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