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The life of Salvador Minuchin (1921– ) offers a good example of the influence of family and social context in shaping individual identity—a central tenet of his Structural Family Therapy model.

He was born in Argentina on October 13, 1921, the first of three children, to a strict and fair father, who owned a small business, a protective mother, who ran the household, and a large extended family ensconced within a closely knit community of immigrant Russian Jews, which represented one quarter of the population of a small rural town. Within this multilayered context, the young Minuchin grew up as an Argentinean Jew, not only embracing the Hispanic code of honor but also relying on his family and community for protection from the anti-Semitic undertones of ...

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