The practice and profession of marriage and family therapy have their roots and history in the United States. It is interesting to note, however, that a large number of pioneering theoreticians and clinicians were born in other countries-from Gregory Bateson to Paul Watzlawik, from the original Milan group to Michael White, to name a few. Family therapy has always had an international flavor, much as North Americans want to claim it as their own.
The influence of voices from South American countries on the development and practice of family therapy is especially pronounced. The field is built on the contributions of Salvadore Minuchin's structural approach, Chloe Madanes' expansion of strategic family therapy, Carlos Sluzki's postmodern reflections, Huberto Maturana's theories, and Celia Falicov's multicultural model. Most of these innovators ultimately worked in the United States. However, they traveled back to their home countries to teach family therapy concepts and practices, and since 1970 they have attracted South Americans and professionals worldwide who traveled to the United States to study with them. In South America, family therapy initially took root in Argentina and Chile and then spread to Brazil and other countries (M. Brepohl, personal communication, 2001). Charismatic and dedicated mental health professionals started advocating the “systemic revolution” in their South American context and created family therapy teaching institutes and clinics. At this writing, family therapy training and practice are flourishing in most South American countries.
It has been a privilege for this author to participate in the growth and development of family therapy in Ecuador by serving as collaborator and