Strategic Family Therapy: Cloe Madanes

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Cloe Madanes once said psychotherapy is the art of finding the angel of hope in the midst of terror, despair and madness. Cloe Madanes was born in Argentina in 1945. She studied psychology and became licensed twenty years later. After that, Madanes became associated with the Mental Research Institute in California, and her work was strongly influenced by her mentors Gregory Bateson, Salvador Minuchin, and Milton Erickson (Madanes, 2004). In 1976, Madanes and her ex-husband, J. Haley, established the Family Therapy Institute of Washington, DC. Madanes belongs to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. In 1996, she was awarded the Egner Foundation Award for Distinguished Contribution in the fields of philosophy,…show more content…
Problems may arise when messages at the content level conflict with nonverbal messages at another level. An example of this can be “I love you” and “I despise you”. A child that is continually exposed to a mixed style of communication like this may feel helpless and can respond by withdrawing. Haley and Madanes’ approach to strategic family therapy argues that change occurs through the process of the family carrying out assignments issued by the therapist. As described in Madanes’ Strategic Family Therapy (1981), “strategic therapists attempt to design a therapeutic strategy for each specific problem.” Therapists issue directives that are designed to shift the framework of the family to resolve the displaying problem. Treatment of these issues would include intense involvement, carefully planned interventions designed to reach clear goals, frequent use of therapist-generated directives or assignments, and paradoxical procedures. Bateson, Erikson and Minuchin heavily influence the Haley and Madanes Strategic approach. Erikson believed the unconscious was full of wisdom - thus, he didn't need to give people insight, just help them get access to it on their own. Haley and Madanes paid attention to the function a symptom served, as it marked a payoff in the system that resulted due to the structure of the system. Haley was mainly concerned with power struggles, and often prescribed the symptom such that the cost of

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