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 held its fall meeting October 17-20, 2019 at the Systems-Centered Training & Research Institute's Yvonne Agazarian Training and Resource Center (SCT Training Center) in Philadelphia. The Board meets twice a year for 3.5 days. The first 2 days are spent in experiential process, working to reduce restraining forces to taking up Board roles. The following 1.5 days are spent on task, working on the business of the Board, which is to hold the vision for the organization and oversee its implementation. The Leadership team for the October Board meeting was Susan Gantt (Task), Mike Maher (Process) and Ray Haddock (Theory).
Organizational Process Work
As Board members, we explored our survival roles that emerged in reaction to current changes in the organization as well as the impact of these roles on the larger system. We used our theory to normalize the triggering of our roles as we recognized that the system is in a new stage of development with our increased financial assets, a new training center, and the emerging leadership energy from a new generation of members.
As we worked, we discovered some “smoke signals” that alert the group that some outputs may likely signal a survival role output: a furrowed brow, discharge movement, or discordant voice tone. This led us to underscore the importance of maintaining eye contact and working in subgroups to mine the non-verbal, apprehensive information when our gut tells us something isn’t quite right—even though we don’t yet know what.
We reminded ourselves that on the restraining side, survival roles block energy from being available to the system, while on the driving side they help to contain energy that is generated by so much newness that the system has not yet been able to process and integrate.
Organizational Task Work: Vision
The Board receives reports from SCTRI task groups, the Chair, Director, and Steering Group, and training “satellites” of SCTRI. Information from these is used to determine the agenda. Agenda items are collected and ranked High, Medium or Low; we worked with all the High items.
The State of the System
The organization is financially sound, with the recent infusion of financial resources from the bequests of Yvonne’s estate and John Parkes’ estate. Susan Gantt continues to develop the role of Chair of the Board, while Mike Maher is successfully managing the organization in the Director role. Mike reminded the Board that he is completing the second year of his five-year commitment to his role, and we worked on succession planning, staying at the edge of the unknown. We are also thinking in terms of succession for members of the Board, Steering Group, and work groups, as well as the Conference Co-Directors. We noted with some pleasure that there are a number of emerging leaders within the system who may have interest in taking up organizational leadership roles.
We noted considerable development in the broader system that includes the SCT affiliates. The newly formed SCT UK has successfully assumed full responsibility for the York and London trainings. The Dutch SCT Board reported a successful transition in leadership roles and that they currently have three ongoing training groups, and the Swedish SCT Board reported a similar transition in leadership, with three ongoing training groups. Finally, in terms of crossing the boundary into the broader world, one of the major, exciting events is that Susan Gantt, Fran Carter, Claudia Byram, and Ray Haddock will be leading the large group at AGPA for the next two years. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with, and provide training to, a broad range of professionals, and we encourage as many of our own members who can attend to support this event.
Mission and Vision for the Conference
We explored whether people are drawn to our conference by having a yearly theme, or whether it would attract more interest by announcing it as the annual SCT training event, and decided to gather information regarding this over the next two years. We also continued to deliberate whether to keep the current Philadelphia/Bay Area locations, or to consider new sites, looking at factors such as member interest, rising costs, and whether it is important to have local members in the conference area.
Mission and Vision – SCT Training Center
We committed to the vision that the goal of the center is to support the mission and vision of SCTRI and that generating income is not a primary goal. We view the center as a work in progress and, as such, decisions about how it will be organized, and what functions it will perform, will emerge in a developmental process as we move forward. Some of the ideas for its use are facilitating webinars and other social media projects, serving as a center for writing and research, and as a place to incubate new trainings. The center’s Co-Directors, Fran Carter and Annie MacIver, are tasked with guiding and containing this developmental process, and the Board has granted them plenipotentiary power to make operational and center policy decisions.
Mission and Vision – Financial Resources, Scholarships, and Research
With the solid base provided by our new financial resources, the organization has moved from a survival to a development phase. While this is a welcome change, it brings with it a new level of complexity. One of these complexities involves scholarships, with our value of making training available to individuals who could not otherwise afford it, and of providing resources to the broader communities we are part of. Some of the questions we are asking are whether we want to provide more in-depth training for scholars, or whether we want to support post-training consultation to help the scholars take the training across the boundary back into their work environments. Similar questions apply to our support of research, along with some additional ones, such as, if we have a specific research question we want answered, should we hire someone to research it. We noted that, if we look at financial resources as energy, we are in the process of learning how to develop the systems that will allow us to contain that energy and direct it toward our goals for scholarships, research, and other areas as they emerge.
Mission and Vision – Carbon Footprint
This is one of the newest areas to draw the attention of the Board, although a few members have contained it for us for a number of years. We want to be sensitive to our context, so that we don’t unnecessarily contribute to climate change. Our initial deliberations led to discussions about how to lessen or mitigate our impact on the earth’s climate. As the discussion progressed, we began to ask more questions at a vision level. For example, “What are the restraining forces in the world we want to weaken?” and “How can we contribute to the world using our unique resources, i.e., introducing functional subgrouping to resolve conflict; appreciating context; and reducing splitting to address this challenge?” We are hoping that by tapping into our skills and abilities, we can have an impact on this important issue.
Conference Dates and Locations 2020 and 2021
Board criteria for conference locations: proximity to an international airport, good local amenities, local SCT training groups, and lowest cost for the organization and attendees.
* 2020 Conference: April 18-24, Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area. (Full program and online registration now available at www.systemscentered.com)
* 2021 Conference: March 13-19, Philadelphia.
Rich O’Neill, one of the founding members of the Board, has resigned. We thank Rich for his numerous contributions and many years of service to SCTRI and the SCT community.
We welcome new members to the Board. If you have completed the Authority Issue Group and have the time, energy and resources to take up the role, please contact Jim Peightel at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next Board meeting will be held March 26-29, 2020 in Philadelphia.
The Board of Directors:
Copyright 2019 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.