Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

MRI Brief Family Therapy

  • Michael J. RohrbaughEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_163

Name of Model

MRI Brief Family Therapy


Brief problem-focused therapy; Brief strategic therapy; Brief Therapy Center; Mental Research Institute; MRI group; Palo Alto group; Palo Alto model


In 1966, Richard Fisch, John Weakland, and Paul Watzlawick formed the Brief Therapy Center *(BTC) at Palo Alto’s Mental Research Institute* (MRI) to investigate therapeutic approaches to rapid problem resolution. A major influence on their work was the “interactional” or “systemic” view of human problems that grew from Gregory Bateson’s (1952–62) research project, in which Weakland, Jay Haley, and MRI founder Don Jackson were coinvestigators. Through applying ideas from cybernetics and systems theory to human communication, the Bateson group provided what many regard as the intellectual foundation of the family therapy movement (Watzlawick et al. 1967). Another influence on the MRI group* was the uncommon therapy of Arizona psychiatrist Milton Erickson, whom Weakland and Haley...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Corinne Datchi
    • 1
  • Ryan M. Earl
    • 2
  1. 1.Seton Hall UniversitySouth OrangeUSA
  2. 2.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA