Strategic Family Therapy: Milton Ericson and Gregory Bateson

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Strategic Therapy was inspired by Gregory Bateson and Milton Erickson In the 1950s, Gregory Bateson’s research on communication at Palo Alto was the accidental discovery of strategic therapy.

Bateson’s work on double-blind communication influenced many therapists to begin to think of communication from a different view (Madanes, 1981) According to Bateson, families become trapped in dysfunctional patterns when they cling to solutions that don’t work (Haley, & Richeport-Haley, 2003). Madanes states that, “The approach suggests that the interchange of messages between people defines relationships, and these relationships are stabilized by homeostatic processes in the form of actions of family members within the family” (Madanes, 1981).
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As stated by Madanes, strategic family therapy is organized in steps or stage to achieve goals. Madanes states that, “One set of goals for strategic family therapy is to help people past a crisis to the next stage of family life. These stages have been described by Haley (1973) as (1) the courtship period, (2) early marriage, (3) childbirth and dealing with the young, (4) middle marriage, (5) weaning parents from children, and (6) retirement age” (Madanes, 1981).
The theory of strategic therapy states that the patient's symptoms are a result of attempts of the family to correct what they consider "problem" behavior. Haley's strategic therapy focuses on short-term, targeted efforts to solve a specific problem (Haley, 2011). His approach to strategic therapy is closely modeled after the therapy developed by Milton H. Erickson MD who is considered one of the world's leading hypnotists and psychiatrists. Erickson felt as though everyone has the power to heal him or herself within their own consciousness (Haley, 2011). Erickson's ideas and methods have greatly influenced therapists and many models (Haley, 2011). Throughout the years Erickson’s ideas have been studied and three models were born; MRI’s brief therapy model, Haley and Madanes’ strategic therapy, and Milan’s systemic therapy.
Three Main Models in this Theory
MRI’s Brief Therapy Model According to Nylon, MRI’s Brief Therapy Model is the original model of
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