What is System-Centered Training?

Susan Gantt - Director, SCTRI and Yvonne Agazarian - Founder, SCTRISystems-Centered Training (SCT) is a practical and innovative systemic approach to personal and organizational development, group dynamics and therapy. Pioneered by Yvonne Agazarian, SCT begins with the idea that we are always in a system, be it the system of ourselves as a person, a couple, a family, a team, or a whole organization. SCT posits that these different systems heavily influence how we function within them. Our ongoing challenge is how to contribute to building the kind of systems in which we want to live and work. This conference will explore what helps and what gets in the way as we take up this very human challenge.

SCT introduces tools for therapists, coaches, educators, leaders, and whole organizations that focus on development, change and innovation in relation to the wider context, which includes explicitly weakening obstacles to resolving conflicts in the service of the system goals.

The following are some of the central concepts and applications in SCT:

  • SCT introduces the functional subgrouping method for working with differences and building a system that uses differences as resources for reaching our goals. Watch video of functional subgrouping.
  • SCT uses the force field, based on Kurt Lewin, for tracking how effectively a system is working towards its goal and for identifying the blocks to development or change.
  • SCT introduces a model for shifting perspectives from personalizing to seeing the larger context.
  • SCT introduces a map of the phases of a system's development that guides consultants and managers in pacing work and influencing change by weakening the phase-specific restraining forces.
  • SCT also works with the SAVI (System for Analyzing Verbal Interaction) model for coding communications in terms of their probability of transferring information.
  • Clinical Applications: see the Clinical Applications page of the SCTRI website for more information.
  • Organizational Applications: see the Organizational Applications page of the SCTRI website for more information.
  • Educational Applications: SCT is also being increasingly applied in educational contexts in universities, schools and pastoral education as well as using SCT principles and methods in SCT training and running the Annual Conference.
  • Reading about SCT: the Readings pages on the SCTRI website contain reading suggestions in the different fields in which SCT is applied. Some titles are available for download.