Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

Living Edition
| Editors: Jay Lebow, Anthony Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Bell, John

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15877-8_770-1


John Edlerkin Bell, Ed.D. (1913–1995)


John Bell is recognized as one of the first clinicians in the United States to work systemically with families as the focus of treatment, rather than the individual. His contributions as a scholar and a practitioner helped to launch family therapy as a formal approach to clinical work.


After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of British Columbia and a certificate in theology from Union Theological College in Vancouver, Bell began his career as a parish minister. He served churches in British Columbia for 3 years before making the decision to pursue further education. Bell moved to New York City and enrolled in the graduate program in education at Columbia University. He earned a Master of Arts degree in 1941 and a doctor of education degree in 1942, focusing on educational psychology. He spent the next 2 years as an assistant professor of psychology at Park College in Kansas City, followed by 12 years on the...

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Key Citations

  1. Bell, J. (1961). Family group therapy : A method for the psychological treatment of older children, adolescents, and their parents, Public health monograph; No. 64. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  2. Bell, J. E. (1963). A theoretical position for family group therapy. Family Process, 2(1), 1–14.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1545-5300.1963.00001.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bell, J. E. (1964). The family group therapist: An agent of change. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 14(1), 72–83.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bell, J. (1975). Family therapy (1st ed.). New York: J. Aronson.Google Scholar
  5. Bell, J. (1983). Family group therapy. In B. Wolman & G. Stricker (Eds.), Handbook of family and marital therapy (pp. 231–245). New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Seattle Pacific UniversitySeattleUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Heather Pederson
    • 1
  • Diana Semmelhack
    • 2
  1. 1.Council for RelationshipsPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Midwestern UniversityDowners GroveUSA