Foundations of Family Therapy: A Conceptual Framework for Systems Change

By Lynn Hoffman | Go to book overview

Chapter 15
The Systemic Model

The Quiet Revolution in Milan

In 1968, the year Jackson died, the ideas of the Bateson group leaped across an ocean and took root in Italian soil. Mara Selvini Palazzoli, a child analyst, had been working for many years with anorectic children. Discouraged by her results, and impressed by the family therapy literature that was coming out of Palo Alto, she decided to discard all elements of psychoanalytic thought and adopt a purely systems orientation.

In that key year, she organized the Institute for Family Studies in Milan. After an initial process of winnowing, the group narrowed down to four psychiatrists: Luigi Boscolo, Giuliana Prata, Gianfranco Cecchin, and Selvini herself. This group, working together over some ten years, developed a family systems approach that they used not only with families of anorectics, but with families of children who had serious emotional disorders.

Selvini first book, Self-Starvation, published in 1974 in the United States, documents her therapeutic trajectory. It is only the last part

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