SCTRI is a non-profit organization that supports training and research in the systems-centered approach. We are an international association of over 230 members from around the world and most of what we do is done by action groups of volunteer members. Our members include therapists, organizational consultants, pastoral educators, managers, educators, administrators, and curious people.
The Systems-Centered Training & Research Institute (SCTRI) was established in 1995 under the wing of Resources for Human Development, a not-for-profit organization providing support for fledgling public service groups.
As of July 3, 2006, SCTRI is an independent non-profit organization, recognized as a charitable organization under IRS code 501(c)(3).
Knowledge and Research. A primary purpose for this organization is to contribute to knowledge with the theory of living human systems and to do related research in long- and short-term change strategies.
Education and Training. A primary purpose for this organization is to continue development of methods of systems-centered education and practice and to train systems-centered practitioners to serve the community.
Community Development and Contribution. The organization will introduce SCT strategies for change to organizations, groups and individuals in private, public and clinical settings.
The Goal of Trademark Licensing: to maintain the integrity of SCT methods and to ensure their practice within the following values:
1. Respect for the dignity and worth of all human beings.
2. Respect for context: members’ behavior congruent with the norms of the environment and the norms of SCT.
3. Multi-level thinking: self-centering within a systems-centered context.
4. Empowerment of groups: authority residing with the group.
5. Decentralized authority: maximum local autonomy.
6. Commitment to develop a systems-centered environment: differences are discriminated and integrated in the service of the goal.
7. Creativity: to express our creativity, while affirming the creativity of others.
8.Open communication: communicating thoughts, feelings and concerns directly.
9. Diversity: no discriminatory behavior around race, ethnicity, culture, education, economic status, age, disability, religion, gender and sexual orientation.
10. Organizational integrity: strive to live our values, saying what we mean and being open to hearing others’ differences.
11. Accountability: quality service adjusted through an ongoing collaborative process with consumers.
Name and General Provisions
Section 1. Name. The name of this organization shall be Systems-Centered Training and Research Institute, hereinafter referred to as SCTRI.
Section 2. Incorporation. SCTRI, the organization, was incorporated July 3, 2006 under the provisions of the General Laws of the State of Georgia as a not-for-profit organization, exempt from Federal Income Tax under Section 501(c)(3). Net earnings of the organization shall not accrue to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual; no substantial part of the resources or activities of the organization shall be used to attempt to influence legislation not related directly to the practice of systems-centered theory and methods; and the organization shall not participate in, or intervene in (including publishing or distributing statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.
Section 3. Trademark. SCT®, Systems-Centered® and Systems-Centered Therapy® are registered trademarks of Yvonne M. Agazarian and the Systems-Centered Training and Research Institute.
Section 1. Knowledge and Research. A primary purpose for this organization is to contribute to knowledge with the theory of living human systems and to do related research in long- and short-term change strategies.
Section 2. Education and Training. A primary purpose for this organization is to continue development of methods of systems-centered education and practice and to train systems-centered practitioners to serve the community.
Section 3. Community Development and Contribution. The organization will introduce SCT strategies for change to organizations, groups and individuals in private, public and clinical settings.
Organizational Structure and Authority
Section 1. Organizational Management. The Management Group (Article III, Section 2) has responsibility for the overall governance and management of SCTRI according to its mission and values. The group meets twice each year, unless otherwise determined by the Management Group, at a time and place decided by the group one year in advance and recorded by the Secretary, to:
a. Explicitly review the structure and function of SCTRI and the Management Group;
b. Train and mentor each other in management roles to ensure continuity in the structure and function of organizational management;
c. Maintain accountability for implementation of decisions of the Management Group;
d. Review use of trademarks and any issues related to the rights and responsibilities of license holders with trademark holder(s);
e. Select the Director, Secretary and Treasurer, Steering Group and consultants based on functional criteria.
Section 2. Management Group/Board of Directors. The Management Group shall be the Board of Directors of the organization and consist of all those members that have become part of the Management Group, as it is constituted from time to time to have no less than one member and no more than forty-five members. A quorum sufficient for making organizational decisions shall consist of those members present. Members who have successfully completed the intermediate level of training through completion of the Authority Issue Group are eligible to join the Management Group, and become members of the Management Group by attending the regularly scheduled meetings and being recorded by the Secretary. Criteria for self-selection include:
a. Time, energy, resources, and willingness to commit to attending two meetings per year (one for members who live abroad), including the two-day experiential training prior to each meeting;
b. A commitment to contribute to the Management Group goals;
c. Taking up leadership in SCTRI;
d. Agreeing to decision by consensus and withdrawing from Management Group membership if unable to do so.
Section 3. Steering Group. The Steering Group is assigned plenipotentiary authority between Management Group meetings to maintain the vision and policies, and oversee the daily operational function of SCTRI. This group meets weekly, unless otherwise determined by the Steering Group, and can call upon the Management Group as needed to consult or meet by notice of no less than three days. Members are selected from the Management Group on a semi-annual basis, serving from one Management Group meeting to the next, and have responsibility to:
a. Implement policies and programs as directed by the Management Group;
b. Inform the Management Group regarding progress and developments between meetings of the Management Group;
c. Inform the Management Group of emergent organizational issues and any recommendations regarding these issues.
Section 4. Organizational Decisions. Systems-centered methods, particularly functional subgrouping, are employed to resolve conflict and build consensus in making decisions. Consensus means that every member of the group agrees to support decisions of the group and make them work whether or not he or she agrees with them.
Work of the Organization
Action groups form as needed to implement the work of SCTRI. Action groups are filled by volunteers from membership.
Section 1. Eligibility for Membership. Persons who are in sympathy with the objectives and purposes of SCTRI and support its mission and values shall be eligible for general membership in the organization.
Section 2. Term of Membership. Membership shall be year to year, activated and maintained by payment of dues for the current year.
Section 3. Dues. Membership dues shall be set by the Management Group.
Section 4. Financial Consideration. A central value of the organization is that no one be kept from membership due to lack of financial resources. To implement this policy, fees and assessments are designated “more or less,” with an understanding that an individual may pay more if he or she wishes to, or negotiate to pay less if he or she cannot afford the set fee.
Section 1. Director. The Director must be a member of the Management Group who demonstrates mastery of the theory of living human systems and its application to work with individuals, groups and organizations and whose work exemplifies the values and mission of SCTRI. He or she is responsible for ensuring that the work of the organization is in alignment with the theory, values and vision of SCT, for monitoring official communications between SCTRI and outside organizations, and for holding the Management Group accountable for fulfilling its roles and responsibilities.
Section 2. Secretary. The Secretary is responsible for preparing, compiling and authenticating the records SCTRI, including records of the Management and Steering Group meetings.
Section 3. Treasurer. The Treasurer is responsible for making the financial report to the Management Group, selecting the fiscal year, and ensuring that appropriate tax filings and records are completed.
Section 4. Appointments and Terms of Service. The Director, Secretary and Treasurer are selected and serve at the discretion of the Management Group, who shall have full authority to make decisions regarding length of service in accordance with Article III, Section 4 of these bylaws.
Section 1. SCTRI holds an annual meeting, open to all members, and interested others of the public in observer roles.
a. The annual meeting shall be held at the time and place of the annual conference.
b. If there is no annual conference in any given membership year, notice of the time and place of the annual meeting shall be made to all Members at their recorded addresses provided in the organizational directory at least three weeks prior to the scheduled meeting.
Amending the Bylaws
Section 1. The bylaws can be amended by approval of two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Management Group.
Section 2. Dissolving the organization. The organization may be dissolved by decision of the Management Group in accordance with Article III, Section 4, and Article VIII, Section 1. The Management Group has responsibility for the distribution of organizational assets in a manner consistent with the organization’s charitable purpose.
Article VI Officers, is hereby amended to include:
Section 5. System Mentors. The System Mentors are responsible for monitoring and mentoring the function of SCTRI as a whole. They demonstrate mastery of the theory of living human systems and its application to work with individuals, groups and organizations and their work exemplifies the values and mission of SCTRI. They are responsible for ensuring that the function of the organization, its members and practitioners, is in alignment with the theory, values and vision of SCT.
On and effective October 15, 2006, the Management Group recognized the longstanding functional role of System Mentors as Officers of the organization and approved this amendment by two-thirds majority vote of the full Management Group, in accordance with Article VIII, Section 1, of these Bylaws.
Article VIII Amending the Bylaws, is hereby amended as follows:
Section 1. The bylaws can be amended by consensus of the Management Group, as defined in Article III, Section 4.
On and effective April 22, 2007, the Management Group approved this amendment by consensus.
Article III Organizational Structure and Authority, is hereby amended to include:
Section 1. Organizational Management.
e. Select the Director, Associate Director, Secretary and Treasurer, Steering Group and consultants based on functional criteria.
On and effective October 23, 2010, the Board of Directors approved this amendment by consensus.
Section 4. Appointments and Terms of Service. The Director, Associate Director, Secretary and Treasurer are selected and serve at the discretion of the Management Group, who shall have full authority to make decisions regarding length of service in accordance with Article III, Section 4 of these bylaws.
Section 6. Associate Director. The Associate Director is a member of the Steering Group who is responsible for monitoring the function and operation of the organization, supporting communication and cooperation among action groups, and ensuring consistency with the norms and values of the organization.
The Steering Group proposes changing “Management Group” to “Board of Directors” throughout the bylaws. The Board is working at the policy and vision level and the term Management Group no longer fits.
Article I Name and General Provisions, is hereby amended to read:
Section 3. Trademark. SCT® and Systems-Centered® are registered trademarks of Yvonne M. Agazarian and the Systems-Centered Training and Research Institute.
The term Systems-Centered Therapy® was not renewed in June 2007.
On and effective October 23, 2011, the Board of Directors approved this amendment by consensus.
The following revisions reflect additional roles and responsibilities that have emerged with the continued development of the organization.
Section 1. Organizational Management.
e. Select the Chair, Director, Associate Director, Secretary and Treasurer, Steering Group and consultants based on functional criteria.
Section 1. Director. The Director is a member of the Steering Group who is responsible for monitoring the function and operation of the organization, supporting communication and cooperation among action groups, and ensuring consistency with the norms and values of the organization. The Director acts on behalf of the Board of Directors in holding the organization accountable to its mission and for ensuring that the work of the organization is in alignment with the theory, values and vision of SCT, and is accountable to the Chair and to the Board of Directors. Working with the Chair, the Director is also responsible for holding the Board of Directors accountable for fulfilling its roles and responsibilities.
Section 4. Appointments and Terms of Service. The Chair, Director, Associate Director, Secretary and Treasurer, are selected and serve at the discretion of the Board of Directors, who shall have full authority to make decisions regarding length of service in accordance with Article III, Section 4 of these bylaws.
Section 6. Associate Director. The Associate Director is a member of the Steering Group who works with the Director in monitoring the function and operation of the organization, supporting communication and cooperation among action groups, and ensuring consistency with the norms and values of the organization.
Section 7. Chair. The Chair shall be a member of the Board of Directors who demonstrates mastery of the theory of living human systems and its application to work with individuals, groups and organizations and whose work exemplifies the values and mission of SCTRI. The Chair is responsible for how SCT crosses the boundary and is represented in the larger world, holding the authority, responsibility, and accountability for the organization’s ownership of trademarks and copyrights. The Chair provides leadership to the Board of Directors, and with the Director is responsible for holding the Board accountable for fulfilling its roles and responsibilities. The Chair is selected and confirmed or removed by the Board of Directors, is accountable to the Board and acts on its behalf in holding the Director accountable for carrying out the responsibilities of the Director role, as determined by the Board.
On and effective December 12, 2017, the Board of Directors approved this amendment by consensus.
The SCTRI Board of Directors met in October over four days. This happens twice a year, Spring and Autumn. As always, this October we began with two days of process work to reduce restraining forces to taking up our roles as Board members, both during the following day and a half of task work and in our membership in the organization. A brief summary of the work of each section follows below.
A piece of context: this and the previous three Board meetings have been on Zoom, due to the pandemic. We’ve shortened the hours each day considerably to facilitate working on Zoom across continents. Having 14.5 hours compared to 22 hours face-to-face has an impact on the number of important policy and developmental issues we can explore so prioritizing is vital. In our process work we also noted the isomorphy of the crucial need to prioritize in our personal lives as well as in our work roles.
Process work: Reducing restraining forces to taking up our Board role
All Board members share force fields before we meet, identifying what we see as our own driving and restraining forces for taking up our Board roles. The two days of process work begins with reviewing these, identifying the themes that show up as work for the group. Particularly important are the survival role systems we identify, and the shift to seeing these as a function of the system of the Board and voices for SCTRI, rather than taking them just personally. An exercise in itself!
Our force fields this time highlighted themes of loss and alienation – missing being able to be together, and the survival roles that come up in that context as well survival roles related to giving and taking authority. We found the fork to staying in relationship and exploring our experience in subgroups. Intense frustration and the desire to connect emerged the understanding that “we need to get to the heart before we can get to the bone” – to connect with our hearts to one another, to SCT and to SCTRI and the membership before the work has meaning.
In the course of this work, we also explored how our survival roles have often been functional for the system, including “If I can do it, I must” and “I won’t let it (SCTRI) fail” and found the alternative fork to access our authentic energy and joy and bring these into our Board and organizational roles. We undid role locks, in particular one around competition, and took back what we were putting in the pair holding the competition.
We noticed a pull at times to drop our norms, for example, dropping the reflection in subgrouping and focusing on differences before joining on similarities. We saw the difference between changing a norm driven by the group dynamic and mindfully deciding criteria to change a norm.
We discovered valuing deviance – the deviant in all of us and at the heart of the SCT approach to working with change.
Taking up substantive questions: Organizational work
In the task part of our work, we reviewed, with appreciation, the reports to the Board from the organizational action groups, all of whom volunteer their time and energy and enable the organization to function. A reminder – any member of SCTRI can join these action groups, selecting those to which they want to contribute time, energy and resources. The groups and their minutes are listed on the web site.
In deciding how to prioritize, we kept in mind the Board’s role of setting policy rather than implementing it. Putting policy into practice rests with the Steering Group, a subset of Board members that meets weekly.
The financial report shows us on a solid footing, thanks to having a cautious approach, keeping reserves for a year’s functioning and recent bequests. Particularly exciting is a substantial cash gift from the Netherlands SCT organization: Stichting SCT Nederland. This was given with no strings attached – so generous.
Regarding the 2022 Conference, we again agreed to fund Conference Scholarships for those for whom finances are a restraining force to attending.
In relation to systemic racism and anti-racism, the Board had responded to a request from a group of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) members for a group to explore the value of a TLHS and its SCT methods to reduce racism. This group has begun to organize with a team of SCT trainers. (The member-created special interest group SCT and Race works to explore the concept of white supremacy as it manifests at all system levels.) We started an exploration around training in anti-racism for the Board using a TLHS. The Steering Group will pick this up and bring a proposal back to the Board.
We worked with succession planning, particularly for the Director role as Mike Maher’s term is up in October 2022. A subgroup of the Board with potential energy for the role will continue this exploration between now and the next Board meeting. This work is in the broader context of the Board’s recognition of the importance of supporting members to step into leadership roles throughout SCTRI. Both in theory and experience we see how taking up these roles develops both the organization and the members!
What goes into our “work in waiting”
Because of our reduced meeting time we have put place-holds on several important areas of policy. One is money and our mission and values. We do have financial resources now: what do we want to do with our funds to support our mission in a way that fits our values? Another area is how we make decisions in relation to our carbon footprint. For example, our in-person Board meetings have costs: financially, Board members pay their own travel expenses – this can be expensive, particularly for international members, even though there is a bursary fund to contribute to these costs. Environmentally, how do we want to relate to the carbon cost of air travel? Yet another area is working with the information and proposals the Membership Action Group (MAG) brought to our meeting. We did not have time to explore in detail the report they sent us and have asked the Steering Group to meet with MAG to pick up any next steps. Related is exploring how we communicate with the membership (for example, letting members know about work groups).
Meet the Board
We scheduled a time for our annual space for members to meet the Board, ask questions, raise concerns, make proposals. December 9, 1:00 pm Eastern Time.
We hope many of you can make it. (Register through the email invitation or by contacting Kathy Lum).
Board of Directors
Claudia Byram, Fran Carter, Rowena Davis, Dick Ganley, Susan Gantt, Dorothy Gibbons, Ray Haddock, Nina Klebanoff, Juliet Koprowska, Annie MacIver, Mike Maher, Jon McCormick, Irene McHenry, Lotte Paans, Jim Peightel, and Norma Safransky
Copyright 2021 by SCTRI.
All rights reserved. SCT® and Systems-Centered® are registered trademarks of the Systems-Centered Training and Research Institute, Inc., a non-profit organization. SAVI® is a registered trademark of Claudia Byram & Frances Carter.