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 a 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, we began with two days of process work to reduce restraining forces to taking up our roles as Board members.
The difference this time was that we met in person, for the first time in three years. We were all struck by what a difference this made, and how it supported us to work at greater depth and get more done, particularly in areas where difference had to be integrated.
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, led by our Task Leader (Susan Gantt) and Process Leader (Mike Maher), 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. We experimented with approaching this review differently this time, and our experience of it was more as a group-as-a-whole process than before. One theme that emerged and influenced the whole meeting was the recognition that facts are neither driving nor restraining forces to taking up our roles; in how we relate to facts lies the potential to go into survival roles or functional roles related to the goals of the context.
In our experiential work we identified and worked to undo survival roles and role locks at the person, subgroup and group-as-a-whole system level. We used our theory to notice how the Board is isomorphic to the larger system contexts, so voices at this level represented voices for the wider system and the world. In particular we focused on taking back projections and containing and undoing conflict and the potential for splits, particularly related to how we prioritize and address issues of climate, anti-racism, class and inclusion. We noticed how these issues represent differences that are often too big to integrate in the wider world system and saw how the world splits as a way of stabilizing itself. We could recognize the powerful pull to go to the same solution in our Board context and see how hard it is – and how much energy it takes – to contain the impulse to split and to subgroup as an alternative. We were amazed at the difference in climate this produced. It became possible for members to feel and contain the experience of the two sides – the two subgroups – inside themselves, and for members representing different priorities to explore together without the ‘charge’ that usually accompanies such exchanges.
The Board also explored negotiating the relationship between Structure, Function and Energy when we are approaching problem-solving, asking ourselves the question: are our current structures still functional or is there energy for 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 particular thank you to the Membership Action Group that is giving us a clear and detailed picture of who we are as a membership organization. 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 website.
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.
We used the concept of ‘taking up our citizenship of the world’ as an umbrella term to organize our energy to consider our responsibilities in relation to issues including diversity, inclusion, community development and climate change.
The Board spent time on what we wanted to prioritize at a vision level in relation to these issues. We saw two energy paths – how to bring in greater diversity and representation of these themes, and how to outreach to organizations and individuals that work with equity, inclusion, anti-racism, and climate change. As we explored, we increasingly saw that following established relationships could be the pathway to open boundaries, so the energy could flow in both directions. The Board authorized Jim Peightel to explore offering scholarships to 3 identified organizations. Jim will report back to the Steering Group to let them know what he needs to further this initiative.
The questions of having future conferences in person or online were explored, taking into consideration the issues already mentioned above. The outcome of this was a decision to meet in person in 2023 (Philadelphia) and 2024 (venue to be decided by the Steering Group).
Building on this, we also discussed having another different kind of SCTRI training event online in the autumn. This would increase accessibility for participants and decrease restraining forces of travel, expense, mixed roles and perhaps people new to SCT. It could also generate income for SCTRI, and this is important as our income has been affected by the impact of the pandemic, and we do not know how income from future in-person conferences will pan out.
The issues of both succession and leadership development; deepening our bench of people with resources and energy for taking up leadership in SCTRI; is important for the ongoing vitality as an organization. We agreed that in addition to joining work groups, an additional pathway to taking up key roles in the organization is through joining the Board so members agreed to reach out to post-Authority Issue Group (AIG) members to see where there is interest in joining.
We considered how and when we as a Board would meet in future. Building on the decision made in the last Board, we will meet once in person and once online in 2023. The in-person meeting will be in June; the online meeting will be in October.
The Board noted that two members – Rowena Davis and Lotte Paans – had not attended either meeting in 2022. In accordance with our bylaws, we recognized that this meant they were no longer current Board members. The way is open for them to rejoin the Board if they wish.
Finally, the Board approved the re-appointment of Claudia Byram, Fran Carter, Dorothy Gibbons and Norma Safransky as members of the Steering Group. (The Director, Mike Maher, is an automatic member of the Steering Group).
Board Members: Claudia Byram, Fran Carter, Dick Ganley, Susan Gantt (Chair), Dorothy Gibbons, Ray Haddock, Nina Klebanoff, Juliet Koprowska, Annie MacIver, Mike Maher (Director), Jon McCormick, Irene McHenry, Jim Peightel, Norma Safransky, Heather Twomey
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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 SAVI Communications LLC.